Reporter's Notebook: Inside Hamas

In a high-pitched, soft spoken voice that seems out of place for a man considered to be a terrorist leader, Yassin asked us rhetorically, "invading Jenin and killing all these innocent people is OK, yet I can't defend myself? They go and they invade the cities and the villages and kill all these people, that's fine. But us defending ourselves is not OK?" Many Palestinians support this argument and they rally behind it in support of the suicide attacks in Israel.

Yassin is unapologetic about the martyrdom campaign, he calls it a means to an end — in fact the only means left to the Palestinian people to pursue their goal of forcing Israel to end the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank.

Suicide Bombings Widely Supported as Means to an End

Virtually everyone we met in Gaza told us they supported the attacks.

We spoke to a group of 12-year-old girls in the bazaar of the "Beach" refugee camp and asked them what they thought of suicide bombers. They rattled off the names of martyrs like American children do pop stars or sports heroes, and one girl, through a wonderful smile, filled with youthful energy, looked at us and said simply, "it is our only means of resistance."

Sady Nassar agrees. We followed him home one afternoon from an aid distribution center owned by Hamas. He's hobbled by illness and struggled under the weight of the sack of food he bore over his shoulder.

He led us down a narrow, dusty alleyway in the Beach camp, to his small house, where he lives with his wife and six children.

As he put the food away in the kitchen, he told us that he supports Hamas because they are the only ones who have helped him.

"Hamas gives help not just to me, but a lot of people in refugee camps, so they have have good relationships with the people. This is really nice of them to help the people. They help all the poor people," he explains. Nasser says Arafat and the Palestinian Authority have done nothing for him, and he has grown weary of the occupation. If it takes suicide bombers to make the Israelis withdraw, so be it. Nasser even says he would be proud if one of his children grew up to be a suicide bomber.

There's no doubt in Nassar's voice. No hesitation. No pause. This is simply what must be done to overcome injustice.

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