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Hamastan (Arabic: حماستان‎) is a pejorative neologism, merging 'Hamas', a Palestinian militant organization and political party, and '-stan', a Persian suffix meaning "home of/place of". [1][2][3]

Linguistic history

The term emerged during the days of Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005, and is suggestive of Hamas' Islamist ideology and political ties with Iran. Since 2007, the term has been used to refer to its 2007 victory in Gaza over Fatah in the inter-Palestinian conflict.[4]

After Hamas' victory in the Palestinian legislative election of 2006 further heightened Western fears of an emerging Islamic fundamentalist state in the Palestinian territories, and various Israeli politicians, including Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu (on January 26, 2006, at a live IBA broadcast) increasingly employed the term disparagingly in the run up to the Israeli elections to berate Ehud Olmert.[5]

With the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip, the creation of an Islamic mini-state in Gaza has been described by many commentators as "Hamastan" or "Hamas-stan".[6]

Originally, the suffix 'Stan' (land) is from the Persian language, not Arabic, and in general, it is not used in the names of Arab countries.

In this context the Fatah-controlled West Bank has sometimes analogously been called "Fatahland,"[7][8][9][10] a revival of a term originally used in the 1970s to refer to Southern Lebanon.

Hamas response

In an interview conducted by Peraino of Newsweek international with Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar. When asked by a Newsweek reporter (5 September, 2005) "Some Israeli officials warn that after the withdrawal, Gaza will become Hamastan." Mahmoud al-Zahar responded: "It should be Hamastan. Why not? We are not corrupt. We are serving the poorer classes. We are defending our land. It should be Hamastan!"[11][12]

See also

References

  1. William Safire, Year of the Stans, New York Times, December 31, 2006
  2. Newsweek International 5 September 2005 The Last Word: Mahmoud Zahar In Praise of "Hamastan"
  3. The socio-political makeup of “Hamastan”
  4. Jpost 26 January 2006 Netanyahu warns of birth of Hamastan Sheera Claire Frenkel
  5. Zionist Organization of America March 29, 2006 Left-right Split 52-51 Kadima Gets Only 23% of Vote
  6. Fundamentalists threaten Israel from all sides, The Daily Telegraph, 15/06/2007
  7. http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasen/pages/ShArtStEngPE.jhtml?itemNo=947273&contrassID=2&subContrassID=5&title='Border%20Control%20/%20From%20bad%20to%20worse%20'&dyn_server=172.20.5.5
  8. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/jun/20/israel.comment
  9. http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1243346496129&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
  10. http://www.cfr.org/publication/13930/swp.html?breadcrumb=%2Fpublication%2Fpublication_list%3Ftype%3Dmust_read%26page%3D42
  11. Newsweek International 5 September 2005 The Last Word: Mahmoud Zahar In Praise of "Hamastan"
  12. The socio-political makeup of “Hamastan” dead link due to site re-construction

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