Eye witness video report: Moderate and Extremist Palestinian Supporters Square Off in Minnesota, Hamas collides with Fatah in America
There are two major political entities in Palestinian society Fatah and Hamas. Fatah is considered the more moderate group; its leaders negotiate with Israel in order to bring about durable peace. Today, Fatah controls most of the West Bank and is headquartered in Ramallah.
Hamas, by contrast, is an extremist group, internationally recognized as a terrorist organization. Hamas does not recognize Israel's right to exist; in fact it has stated that Israel's destruction is its core mission. It is Hamas that Israel has been at war with during the Gaza "Operation Cast Lead" on December 2008 January 2009.
Following the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 and the Palestinian elections in 2006, Hamas violently overran Fatah forces in the Gaza Strip. Opponents to Hamas that remained were executed. Hamas then made the Gaza Strip a launching pad for rockets into Israel, targeting Israeli citizens.
You might think that this conflict is limited to the Middle East, but we saw the tension between moderate and extremist Palestinian elements come to a boil on the steps of the state capitol in St. Paul, Minnesota. Watch as a pro-Palestinian rally on January 5, 2009 nearly turns violent.
Some of the important things to notice are:
1.The violent, aggressive tendencies of the Hamas supporters, directed at their more moderate "brothers", in the crowd.
2.Their disrespect to Congressman, Keith Ellison, the first Muslim to be elected to the House of Representatives. When Ellison tries to advocate for a peaceful and moderate approach to the conflict, he is booed away and verbally attacked by the extremist (pro-Hamas) supporters.
3.Notice the chants "I am Hamas, we are all Hamas" when the Hamas supporters hijacked the rally.
4.Pay attention to the altercation that takes place when the moderate leader talk against the violent behavior and suggests that they should "act in a political manner". The Hamas supporters don't let him finish; they shout "we don't want to", grab the microphone away, and nearly attack the moderate leader.