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'Hamas's Insults': Very Poor NYT Headline, Excellent Story

Regardless that I soon after found the article to be quite excellent, the following New York Times headline had me picking myself up off the floor.

In Gaza, Hamas’s Insults to Jews Complicate Peace

Never mind the barrages of Qassams and Katushyas peppering Israeli towns, or the dead and wounded they leave behind. The name calling is getting in the way of peace. Rhetoric is important, of course. But the headline just struck me as hilarious sans much historical coverage context at the NYT.

At least the Palestinians have not resorted to the new global war cry of cartoon depictions. It could, after all, be worse.

Amusement at the headline aside, the story is actually excellent. Please do read it. It looks at the pervasiveness of Hamas' message and its drumbeat effects on public perception in Gaza, especially among children in their formative years.

Hamas’s grip on Gaza matters, but what may matter more in the long run is its control over propaganda and education there, breeding longer-term problems for Israel, and for peace. No matter what Israeli and Palestinian negotiators agree upon, there is concern here that the attitudes being instilled will make a sustainable peace extremely difficult.

“If you take a sample on Friday, you’re bound to hear incitement against the Jews in the prayers and the imam’s sermon,” said Mkhaimer Abusada, a political scientist at Al Azhar University here. “He uses verses from the Koran to say how the Jews were the enemies of the prophet and didn’t keep their promises to the prophet 1,400 years ago.”

Mr. Abusada is a Muslim and political independent. “You have young people, and everyone has to listen to the imam whether you believe him or not,” he said. “By saying the same thing over and over, you find a lot of people believing it, especially when he cites the Koran or hadith,” the sayings of the prophet.

I'd have simply chosen another headline. Very different.

UPDATE: But then again, there's nothing quite like demanding charity form those you kill. "Gazans Dying Because of Israeli Delays." Even more cheers for the New York Times today when considering that AP report.