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July 22, 2016 7:07 am

Hamas — and Erdogan’s Funny Definition of Democracy

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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Gazan youth practice military drills at a Hamas summer camp. Photo: Hamas.

Gazan youth practice military drills at a Hamas summer camp. Photo: Hamas.

Hamas was one of the many entities rushing to congratulate Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his successful quashing of the attempted coup against his government last weekend. Like leaders of other countries worldwide, the heads of the terrorist organization ruling the Gaza Strip hailed Erdogan’s success as a “victory for democracy.”

Unlike those who waited for the military takeover to fail before applauding the autocrat in Ankara, Hamas was genuinely relieved. After all, the Islamist Palestinian group has no greater friend than Erdogan.

Thus, Hamas has been able to proceed with its summer activities in a particularly festive manner. Two of these activities are particularly worthy of note.

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The first is a special exhibit marking the second anniversary of Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s 2014 incursion into Gaza to destroy the terrorist infrastructure — tunnels and missile-launchers — used by Hamas to kidnap and kill innocent Israelis.

Though Israel managed to decimate much of the infrastructure, leaving swaths of Gaza in ruins, Hamas did not feel defeated; nor should it have. No military match for the mighty Israeli army, it nevertheless succeeded in sending the Israeli populace into bomb shelters several times a day, while retaining political power and several tunnels and subsequently buckets of money and materials with which to keep its terror mill running.

To boost morale and demonstrate that it is doing its job properly, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades — amusingly known as Hamas’ “military wing” — has created a death-and-destruction Disneyland for family fun, free of charge. This consists of a display of various authentic weapons deployed in the slaughter of Israelis, and an extra-special tour of a tunnel bordering the Jewish state.

To promote the exhibit, Hamas produced a video showing children touring the well-lit underground passageway, whose purpose is to transport terrorists around Gaza and to ambush Israeli soldiers through shafts emerging on the Israeli side.

However, some 50,000 kids in Gaza will be too busy to frequent the exhibit, as they will be attending jihad camp, the second happy Hamas event taking place before the start of the next school year. At one of the 25 “Vanguards of Liberation” camps, Gazan youth will learn hand-to-hand combat, weaponry and — as a special treat — how to desecrate the Israeli flag.

In a promotional video provided and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, a masked counselor explained, “We are in need of strong and powerful heroes in order to implement the words of Allah: [The companions] ‘are tough against the infidels and merciful among themselves.’ We … motivate the students, to wage jihad, for the sake of Allah, and we instill love for Allah and His Prophet in the souls of our sons.”

An administrator in the video said that the camp — decorated with posters of suicide bombers — focuses on shaping “an able and unique generation of powerful servants of Allah, in an ideological, religious and military sense, a generation that will liberate Jerusalem and the rest of the land, God willing.”

One camper described his goal: “We came here today to undergo training with all our strength and our knowledge, in order to protect our holy places and our land, and in order to take revenge upon the tyrannical Zionist occupation.”

Meanwhile, as Erdogan purges the army, the courts, the media and the universities of anyone and everyone he suspects is not on his side — arresting thousands of people and suspending civil liberties as part of a “three-month state of emergency” — Erdogan can and does identify with Hamas’ objectives and methods, especially those pertaining to Turkey.

When Mushir al-Masri, a member of Hamas’ Legislative Council in Gaza, announced after the coup was nipped in the bud, “We are ready to sacrifice our blood for the Turkish people, and … for Istanbul,” Erdogan was reassured. His aversion is to American values, not those of his co-warriors against the “infidels.” It’s a funny definition of democracy, but one that Erdogan and his champions call their own.

Ruthie Blum is the managing editor of The Algemeiner.

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