Israeli Spox's Super Response to Mohyeldin Claim That Hamas 'Very Highly Revered' By Gazans

Do Gaza civilians support Hamas' military operations that use them as human shields and store weapons in their schools and mosques?  Ayman Mohyeldin would have you think so.  On today's Morning Joe, the NBC reporter claimed that among Gazans, Hamas' military wing is "very highly revered."

To which Israeli spokesman Mark Regev had a stunning comeback: "I mean, if you walk down the street in Gaza with an NBC camera and you ask people, well, was Hamas shooting from this building that the Israelis targeted? No, everyone will say, of course, not. Because you have a regime that is ultimately authoritarian and violent to its own people and they have that ability to control the message. It's like walking down the street in Cuba with a camera and saying do you like Fidel Castro? What can people say?"  View the video after the jump.



It's hard to accurately gauge civilian support for Hamas.  The terrorist organization has won elections, after all, and the many images of Gazans cheering the news of rockets falling on civilians in Israel are chilling.  But Regev's point is well taken: how naive, at best, is Mohyeldin to accept at face value what Gazans--under the Hamas gun--tell him as he parades down the street?  What does he think would happen to a Gazan who condemned Hamas and blamed it for the many civilian deaths?  Mohyeldin says "People do not criticize the resistance fighters."  No kidding.  What does he think would happen to a hapless unarmed civilian who did?
 

AYMAN MOHYELDIN: Joe, when we talk about Hamas as a political organization there's the distinction made between them as the ruling political institution here in Gaza and then ultimately as a Palestinian resistance movement and, more specifically, its military wing. I can tell you that Palestinian resistance, the military wing as it's seen here is very highly revered. People do not criticize the resistance fighters as they see them on the ground.

. . .

MARK REGEV: As to the pictures, and you raise an important point, David [Gregory]. I think it has to be said and resaid, because Hamas rules the Gaza strip with an iron fist, it's very difficult to take pictures of anything that doesn't fit the hHamas narrative and so how many times have you seen pictures of rockets going off next to civilian areas? How many times have you seen pictures of weapons being stored in schools or in mosques? How many times have you seen pictures of Hamas using civilians as human shields? In other words, their ability through force, through violence. I mean, if you walk down the street in Gaza with an NBC camera and you ask people, well, was Hamas shooting from this building that the Israelis targeted? No, everyone will say, of course, not. In other words, because you have a regime what is ultimately authoritarian and violent to its own people, they have that ability to control the message. It's like walking down the street in Cuba with a camera and saying do you like Fidel Castro? What can people say?
 

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.