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‘We are in a Battle with the Virus’: Hamas, Hezbollah, and covid-19

In: Middle East Law and Governance
Author:
Abdalhadi Alijla Orient Institut Beirut (OIB), Beirut, Lebanon, a.ijla@daad-alumni.de

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Abstract

This article examines the response of two non-state actors, Hezbollah and Hamas, to the coronavirus pandemic in Lebanon and Palestine. It studies the patterns of governance, practicalities, leadership, and legitimacy both parties deployed during the Covid-19 crisis. It argues that non-state actors usually imitate states by trying to acquire legitimacy in such cases. The coronavirus was sectarianised, politicised, and used to gain external and local legitimacy by Hamas and Hezbollah, respectively. The success of non-state actors in managing the coronavirus pandemic was rooted in two factors: the existence of a pre-existing and well-developed welfare system, and the party’s capacity to mobilise its constituencies mainly through charismatic leadership. The paper is based on primary sources, including interviews, news articles, and social media.

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