Israeli Leaders and Hamas
Need Each Other
[The URL of this article for sharing it is
December 8, 2012, and subsequently updated
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The New York Times today, in the very first sentence of its article titled, "Leader of Hamas Delivers Defiant Speech at Anniversary Celebration," reports, "GAZA CITY — Khaled Meshal, the political leader of Hamas, gave a defiant speech on Saturday, vowing to build an Islamic Palestinian state on all the land of Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip." Despite quoting Meshal at length in the article, there was no direct quote confirming this first sentence. The Jerusalem Post did provide a direct quote: "Palestine was, still is and will always be Arab and Islamic...Palestine belongs to us and to no one else." This is consistent with the Hamas Covenant 1988, which states in Article Thirty-One: "It is the duty of the followers of other religions to stop disputing the sovereignty of Islam in this region, because the day these followers should take over there will be nothing but carnage, displacement and terror."
Hamas and Israeli leaders share a fundamental agreement, which is that the conflict in Palestine is a religious one, between those who want Jewish sovereignty versus those who want Islamic sovereignty in all of what, after WWI, was called "Mandate Palestine" ( "from the River to the Sea," 78% of which is today called Israel.) The leaders of both Hamas and Israel need the conflict to be framed this way because it diverts everybody's attention away from what most people, regardless of their religion, want more than anything else, but what the Hamas and Israeli leaders do not want:
Most people in Palestine/Israel want peace and security in a society based on equality, concern for one another and mutual aid.* In an egalitarian society where people are equal regardless of their religion, in which there are no rich and no poor, in which all have an equal say in determining the laws because they can attend the meetings that make the laws (as discussed in Thinking about Revolution) then no elites would be able to enjoy special privileges and power and wealth the way the billionaires and politicians and generals who rule Israel do and the way Islamic "supreme rulers" and clerics with other similar titles do in Islamic theocracies.
Were it not for their success in framing the conflict as a religious one, Israel's ruling elite would be quickly swept away by a working class movement of Israelis, such as the one that sparked the huge demonstrations in Israel, back in August 2011, against the impoverishment of ordinary Israelis. But this movement for economic equality, directed against the billionaires and politicians ruling Israel, fell apart as soon as Prime Minister Netanyahu used a pretext in Gaza to direct Israelis' attention to the great bogeyman--Palestinians. Posing as the protector of all Israeli Jews against their "real enemy"--Arabs--allowed Netanyahu to neutralize the working class movement. This is the strategy of social control that Israeli leaders absolutely depend upon, and without which they would be swept from power. In order for this strategy to work, Jews must be made to fear non-Jews. And in order to make this so, the non-Jews must be perceived by Jews as having a terrible goal, one that would mean misery or worse for Jews.
Israeli leaders do two things to create this sufficiently frightening bogeyman. First, they carry out violent ethnic cleansing against Palestinians, driving most of the non-Jewish Palestinians out of what became Israel in 1947-9, driving more out in 1967, and refusing to this day to let these (now millions) of refugees return to their land inside what is called Israel. Thus 70% of the people living today in Gaza are refugees from Israel itself. Israeli leaders either deny that they carry out ethnic cleansing or they justify it as necessary to ensure that there will be a Jewish majority of at least 80% in Israel so that it will be a "Jewish state" without which, Israeli leaders falsely claim, Jews cannot be safe in the world. Using the need to protect this ethnic cleansing project as their excuse, Israeli leaders inflict one brutal atrocity after another on the Palestinians, in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza. The effect is exactly as intended: it makes Palestinians furious, and angry at the Israeli government; and some, seeing that the Israeli government claims to be "of the Jewish people," get angry at Jews, which is exactly what Israel's leaders want to happen.
Israeli leaders, starting with the first prime minister, David Ben- Gurion, have been telling Jews that the "Arabs" want to "drive the Jews into the sea." Anything that helps make this lie credible helps Israel's leaders control and dominate ordinary Jews and remain in power.
Enter Hamas. Hamas never says that it wants all people in Mandate Palestine to live as equals under the law. No. It says it wants Islam to be "sovereign" (or, in its more recent 2017 Covenant, "an umbrella" over people of all religions and ethnic groups). It's true that if one reads further in the Hamas Covenant one will find language saying that Jews and Christians and Muslims will live peaceably together under this sovereignty of Islam. Few Jews, however, read this Covenant. And even if they did they would have good reason to be skeptical because they know full well that Hamas directs violence against ordinary non-combatant Israeli Jews, often lethal violence, which suggests that Hamas considers Jewish people to be the enemy just because they are Jewish and living in Mandate Palestine. Hamas makes sure that Israeli Jews remain terrified of Palestinians. This is why the Israeli government does things to strengthen Hamas's power in Gaza, over and over again. Every time Israel attacks Gaza, Hamas emerges more powerful. All reporters on the scene, regardless of their political orientation, say this is true. Israel's leaders know it is true; that's precisely why they attack Gaza as they do. These attacks on Gaza are, thus, the second thing Israeli leaders do to create a sufficiently frightening bogeyman with which to control Israeli Jews.
Hamas and Israel's leaders need each other; each helps the other keep a grip on its own people, providing the other a perfect enemy with which to frighten its "own people" into obedience.
While playing this role for Israel's leaders, Hamas needs to tell Palestinians that it is fighting for what Palestinians actually want. Thus Hamas's leader, Khaled Meshal, spoke eloquently in Gaza today in opposing the right of Israel, as a Jewish state, to exist. He's right. A Jewish state based, as Israel is, on ethnic cleansing and making non-Jews second-class citizens under the law, has no right to exist, no more than the American slave-based Confederacy or the German Master-Race Aryan state or the apartheid-based South African state had a right to exist. And Meshal spoke eloquently about the right of Palestinians to use violence against Israel. Again, he is perfectly right, except for one thing.
When Hamas uses violence against Israeli soldiers, and when Palestinians in general use violence against the violent civilian Jewish settlers who attack Palestinians, this is indeed morally justifiable as self-defense and also politically useful because it helps the world (and especially Israeli Jews) see that Palestinians are only being violent in self-defense, against those who are violently attacking them to enforce ethnic cleansing.
But when Hamas kills (or merely attempts to kill; it's the intent, not the competency in carrying out the intent that matters!) non-combatant Israeli Jews (with rockets or suicide bombers, it makes no difference) it is not in self-defense, it is not morally justified, it accomplishes nothing positive militarily or otherwise for Palestinians, and (this is KEY!) it does something else too. It actually strengthens Israeli leaders' power and ability to continue the ethnic cleansing; it gives the Israeli government the excuse ("We're only doing what we must in order to protect innocent Jewish civilians from anti-Semitic terrorists") it needs for its merciless attacks on Palestinians.
Hamas plays along because the Israeli attacks on people in Gaza also strengthens Hamas's power over Palestinians for the reasons discussed above. This is why Israel funds Hamas. Forbes Magazine reported:
"Incredibly, Israel also supplies Hamas with cash. It began transferring truckloads of cash to Gaza after Hamas' violent takeover of the territory in June 2007. The first transfer of more than $51 million (delivered in Israeli shekels) was purportedly to strengthen the influence of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the Gaza Strip and pay the salaries of 35,000 Palestinian Authority employees then allegedly loyal to him. Among those employees, however, were Ismail Haniya, the Hamas-appointed prime minister in Gaza, and Mahmoud Zahar, Hamas' foreign minister."
The ordinary people who live in Mandate Palestine are in a carefully laid trap. The only way to escape the trap is to first understand that it exists and then to deliberately escape from it, by rejecting the entire "religious war" framework that the trap depends upon.
When Palestinians engage in actions that are attempts to return to the region of Palestine, now called Israel, that Zionists drove them out of, and when they fight back against the Israeli military who block their path, they strengthen the anti-Zionist movement: they make it clear to the world--and to Israeli Jews--that their aim is not to "drive the Jews into the sea" or "kill all the Jews" but to be allowed to exercise their Right of Return. But Hamas's aim is the contrary one, to weaken the anti-Zionist movement by doing things such as firing rockets at Israeli civilians that tell the world it does indeed view ordinary Israeli Jews as the enemy.
Look at what Hamas does when ordinary Palestinians try to exercise their Right of Return. In 2011 Palestinians in Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank marched to the Israeli border and tried to enter Israel. Israeli military forces fired on them; no surprise. But Hamas also tried to block the Palestinians. As The Guardian reports:
"In Gaza, the Hamas police stopped buses carrying protesters near the main crossing into Israel, but dozens of demonstrators continued on foot, arriving at a point closer to the Israeli border than they had reached in years and drawing Israeli fire."
In 2018 Palestinians in Gaza began the wonderful Great March of Return: wonderful because it told the world that the true aim of Palestinians is to be allowed to enjoy their Right of Return, not to "kill all the Jews." The only violence by Palestinians was in clear self-defense against the Israeli military that was using violence to deny them their Right of Return. The initiative for this mass action of Palestinians, however, did not come from Hamas but from other Palestinians. Hamas could not prevent it from happening because it was such a popular action, but Hamas tried to end it when it could. As Wikipedia states,
"The first demonstrations were organized by independent activists, but the initiative was soon endorsed by Hamas, the de facto rulers of the Gaza Strip, as well as other major factions in Gaza. The activists who planned the Great March of Return intended it to last only from 30 March 2018 (Land Day) to 15 May (Nakba Day) but the demonstrations continued for almost 18 months until Hamas on 27 December 2019 announced that they would be postponed."
Here's Evidence that Israel Funds Hamas
a. Here's evidence that Israel funded Hamas right from its beginning.
b. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Israel continued to fund Hama: http://www.effedieffe.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=63764
c. Money trail to Hamas begins with Israeli banks" : https://www.reuters.com/article/us-palestinians-israel-funds-exclusive/money-trail-to-hamas-begins-with-israeli-banks-idUSL0313911920070927
d. Forbes reports:
"Incredibly, Israel also supplies Hamas with cash. It began transferring truckloads of cash to Gaza after Hamas' violent takeover of the territory in June 2007. The first transfer of more than $51 million (delivered in Israeli shekels) was purportedly to strengthen the influence of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the Gaza Strip and pay the salaries of 35,000 Palestinian Authority employees then allegedly loyal to him. Among those employees, however, were Ismail Haniya, the Hamas-appointed prime minister in Gaza, and Mahmoud Zahar, Hamas' foreign minister.
"Zahar prides himself on many successful terrorist attacks against Israel, and his position regarding Israel is clear. "All of Palestine, every inch of Palestine belongs to the Muslims," he has said. If the goal was to strengthen Abbas' position, the cash should have been delivered to him in the West Bank city of Ramallah. From there, he could have transferred the money to Gaza, as he has done in the past, and claim credit for it." [ https://www.forbes.com/2009/01/16/gaza-hamas-funding-oped-cx_re_0116ehrenfeld.html?sh=707b61407afb ]
Here's Evidence that Israel Certainly Knows that Its Attacks on Gaza STRENGTHEN Hamas
The Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians in Gaza strengthen the Hamas leaders’ grip on power in Gaza.
There is plenty of evidence for this mutually beneficial relationship between the Israeli and Hamas leaders:
UPI Terrorism Correspondent, Richard Sale, wrote an article in 2002 titled, Hamas History Tied to Israel” in which he states:
"Israel and Hamas may currently be locked in deadly combat, but, according to several current and former U.S. intelligence officials, beginning in the late 1970s, Tel Aviv gave direct and indirect financial aid to Hamas over a period of years.
"Israel "aided Hamas directly -- the Israelis wanted to use it as a counterbalance to the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization)," said Tony Cordesman, Middle East analyst for the Center for Strategic Studies.
"Israel's support for Hamas "was a direct attempt to divide and dilute support for a strong, secular PLO by using a competing religious alternative," said a former senior CIA official." [emphasis added]
In 2009, Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia, wrote an article in which he said:
"Resistance movements such as Hizbullah and Hamas, by contrast, can plausibly claim that they forced Israel to withdraw from occupied Arab land while scoring impressive gains at the ballot box; they have also been reasonably free of corruption. As if determined to increase the influence of these radical movements, Israel has undermined Abbas and the PA at every turn…
"But Hamas will not be so easily defeated, even if Israel’s merciless assault and Hamas’s own obduracy have brought untold suffering on the people of Gaza and much of the Strip lies in ruins: like Hizbullah in Lebanon in 2006, all it has to do in order to proclaim victory is remain standing. The movement continued to fire rockets into Israel under devastating bombardment, and it looks likely to emerge politically stronger when the war is over… " [emphasis added]
John J. Mearsheimer, professor of political science at the University of Chicago, wrote an article (originally for The American Conservative) in 2009 in which he stated:
"More importantly, there is little reason to think that the Israelis can beat Hamas into submission and get the Palestinians to live quietly in a handful of Bantustans inside Greater Israel. Israel has been humiliating, torturing, and killing Palestinians in the Occupied Territories since 1967 and has not come close to cowing them. Indeed, Hamas’s reaction to Israel’s brutality seems to lend credence to Nietzsche’s remark that what does not kill you makes you stronger." [emphasis added]
Anthony H. Cordesman, who held the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, and who was also a national security analyst for ABC News, wrote an article in 2009 in which he stated in regard to the fighting in Gaza:
"At least to date, the reporting from within Gaza indicates that each new Israeli air strike or advance on the ground has increased popular support for Hamas and anger against Israel in Gaza. The same is true in the West Bank and the Islamic world. Iran and Hezbollah are capitalizing on the conflict…
What is the strategic purpose behind the present fighting?…Will Israel end in empowering an enemy in political terms that it defeated in tactical terms?...To [be] blunt, the answer so far seems to be yes." [emphasis added]
Khalid Amayreh, in his blog in 2009, wrote about the Israeli attack on Gaza in an article titled, “Hamas gaining sympathy as onslaught continue”:
"With the massive Israeli onslaught against the Gaza Strip continuing unabated, and with Israeli political and military leaders threatening to “decimate” Hamas, Palestinian intellectuals as well as ordinary people expect Hamas’s popularity to rise dramatically when the present Israeli campaign is over…"
"Qassem predicted that the current Israeli campaign would actually lead to the boosting of Hamas’s popularity…
"Another Palestinian intellectual, Abdul Bari Atwan, predicts that public support for Hamas will increase as a result of the present Israeli campaign in the Gaza Strip."
Al Jazeera English made a video report in 2009 titled “War on GAZA: Popular Support” in which they wrote:
"Since beginning its offensive in the Gaza Strip Israel has repeatedly declared it will maintain attacks to smash what it calls the Hamas terrorist machine. However, as Israel's bombardment continues, the appeal of Hamas in the Arab world appears to be growing. Al Jazeeras Hashem Ahelbarra reports on how the war has left Hamas gaining popular support."
Some of these reports are by people who think Israeli leaders don’t realize that their massacres of Palestinians in Gaza strengthens the Hamas leaders’ power there. But there is evidence that the Israeli leaders understand this full well. There is a video of a talk given by Professor Juan Cole, an expert on the Middle East. The host who introduces Cole name-drops that he recently had lunch with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and then (starting at the 26:56 minute point of the video) reports having heard a startling eyewitness account of the following: that during the recent Israeli slaughter of people in Gaza, supposedly to wipe out Hamas, this eyewitness was on the phone directly with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barack and told him he knew where the Hamas leadership was hiding, and Barack replied, "We know where Hamas's leadership is hiding, but we're not going to go further, we are trying to send a message."
The video is titled, “Making a National Priority of Engaging the Muslim World and was published March 24, 2009, “Recorded @ uStream.Tv”
* What ordinary Palestinians and Israelis, as opposed to their respective “leaders,” want can be inferred from an event that I read about back in 2001. On August 30, 2001 in the West Bank Palestinian village of Ni'elin, Amos Tagouri, a 60-year-old Israeli Jewish cab driver, was having breakfast in a little restaurant just opened by his Palestinian friend, Mursi Amira, when a masked gunman walked up to his table and fatally shot him. Tagouri was an Israeli Jew in a village of Palestinians who were largely unemployed because Israel wouldn't let them travel to their former jobs in Israel. But he was highly regarded by the people of Ni'elin.
According to the Boston Globe report of the incident (September 1, 2001), Amira said:
"Amos was one of us. He knew our culture. If he prayed with us he would have been one of us completely. . . . This is a bigger loss for us than for the Jews...he helped people here a lot. He was not rich, but he drove the farmers to sell their cactus fruit and figs in Israel, and if they didn't have enough money to pay until after the market, he accepted that...The whole village is angry. The people of this village spit on this. It is an act of cowardice."
Mustafa Amira, a vegetable stand owner, said, "He helped us. He respected us, we respected him. Hamas, Fatah - I don't know" who killed him. "I know they are a gang." Amira's mother condemned the killers. "They think if they kill him, the Israelis crack down, and the village will be radicalized. I hope it will not happen." "The extremists do not want peace," said Sakhi Hayun, 34, owner of the Sandwich Bar in Modi'in and former employer of Amira and his brother. "That's why they kill Arab and Israeli civilians in the road. Ninety percent of the people, both Israelis and Arabs, do not support this."
The Boston Globe reported this as a freak event, calling the village the "rarest of places in the bitter struggle that has convulsed Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories for 11 months—a place where one side cried over a death on the other." But what happened in Ni'elin is what Arab and Jewish elites are afraid will happen everywhere unless they can prevent it by spreading fear and mistrust with terrorism and government-sponsored discrimination.
This is why, for example, the Israeli government was afraid of the solidarity between Jews and Arabs that was developing in the struggle against the construction of a super highway. On October 15, 2001, Arab residents of Baka al Gharabiya and Jatt demonstrated against the Israeli government's plan to confiscate 2,800 dunams of their land for the Trans-Israel Highway. While Arabs in Israel own only 3% of the privately held land, 85% of the land confiscated for the highway (travel on which is restricted for non-Jews) had been taken from Palestinian Israelis, destroying agricultural land they needed to survive. Jews in Israel rallied to support the Arab protest, arguing that "The highway will effectively deepen cleavages between Jews and Arabs, rich and poor, taking jobs from poor peasants and farmers, to make transportation more convenient for the rich." Jewish residents of nearby Kibbutz Magal and Ma'anit told the Israeli government that, if the road must be built, the land confiscation should not discriminate against non-Jews, and for that reason they proposed an alternative plan that entailed giving over some of their land to their Palestinian neighbors in a logical compromise. But the Israel Lands Authority and Ariel Sharon's government insisted that the plans move forward without changes. The incident is but one example of why Palestinians are fighting the Israeli government.
Incidents like these show that most people in Palestine and the part of it called Israel want peace and security in a society based on equality, concern for one another and mutual aid. Their leaders want society to be unequal, with them at the top ruling over and dominating everybody else.
The truth is that if the Israeli ruling class stopped treating Palestinians like dirt, then most Palestinians would view Hamas's violent terrorism against ordinary noncombatant Jews--and any advocacy whatsoever of violence against people just because they are Jews--as criminally immoral behavior.
Most Muslims in the World, like Most Jews, Oppose Violence Against Noncombatant Civilians.
Read the linked articles below about this.
Extremism Widely Rejected
Muslims around the world strongly reject violence in the name of Islam. Asked specifically about suicide bombing, clear majorities in most countries say such acts are rarely or never justified as a means of defending Islam from its enemies. In most countries where the question was asked, roughly three-quarters or more Muslims reject suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilians. And in most countries, the prevailing view is that such acts are never justified as a means of defending Islam from its enemies. Yet there are some countries in which substantial minorities think violence against civilians is at least sometimes justified. This view is particularly widespread among Muslims in the Palestinian territories (40%), Afghanistan (39%), Egypt (29%) and Bangladesh (26%).
"Almost all radical movements in today’s Islam, anywhere in the world, are tied to Wahhabism, an ultra-conservative, reactionary sect of Islam, which is in control of the political life of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other staunch allies of the West in the Gulf.
"To quote Dr. Abdullah Mohammad Sindi:
“It is very clear from the historical record that without British help neither Wahhabism nor the House of Saud would be in existence today. Wahhabism is a British-inspired fundamentalist movement in Islam. Through its defense of the House of Saud, the US also supports Wahhabism directly and indirectly regardless of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Wahhabism is violent, right wing, ultra-conservative, rigid, extremist, reactionary, sexist, and intolerant…”"
"Killing of innocent people has no place in Islam"
"Should We Blame Islam for Terrorism?" by David Shariatmadari