Rethinking Israeli Narratives: Beyond ‘What About Hamas’ Rhetoric

Palestine 1

Whenever Israeli officials are criticized for Israel’s war crimes, they evade the question with the infamous statement “what about Hamas?” as if Hamas represents all the other Palestinian entities Israel controls. This is also the same statement used by US officials when their blind support for this apartheid state is questioned.

Ever since Hamas was democratically elected in Gaza in 2006, it has been designated by the US and Israel as a “terrorist group.” And whenever Israel is condemned for killing defenseless civilians and children in its war against Hamas, it first maintains its firm right to defend itself while blaming the casualties on Hamas who, accordingly, use their own kids as a human shield.

With the US propaganda machine beautifying such atrocities, Israel uses this narrative to dehumanize Hamas resistance fighters and deny them any sort of sympathies or popular support. Indeed, who would dare to sympathize with a group of “human animals,” as labeled by Yoav Gallant, who would rather see Israel vanish and “innocent” Jews dead, than their kids alive? Although this is totally rubbish, there are many who genuinely believe it and support Israel for it.

The truth of the matter is that ever since 2007, Israel, with the blessing of the US, has imposed an air, land and sea blockade on the Gaza Strip collectively punishing its entire population, not only Hamas. This only means that even if Hamas resistance groups attempted to evacuate Gaza of their women and kids, they literally have nowhere to go. This is why human rights organizations like Amnesty and Human Rights Watch call Gaza the largest “open- air prison” on earth.

Meanwhile, Palestinian children and civilians are repeatedly used as an Israeli tactic to tighten the noose on those who resist its settler colonial regime. It only promises to stop its genocidal raids and strategies- the like of “mowing the grass”- only after they surrender and accept Israel’s “land for peace” terms.

This is what initially drove the PLO to enter into peace negotiations in the first place. Israel had attempted the same strategy in Gaza multiple times. As a result, in each Israeli raid on Gaza, the most considerable casualties are among kids and defenseless civilians. And when it is criticized, it blames it all on Hamas. Thus, escaping all forms of accountability.

Meantime, the besieged Palestinians in Gaza are left with no other alternative to negate their way around this blockade except for fighting back. This is what many Westerners seem to not quite understand about them. For the casual Gazan citizen, it is either to resist getting killed, or getting killed. It is that simple.

It is high time for Westerners to tolerate this resistance and recognize it as an act of self-defense the exact way they tolerate Israeli atrocious attacks that are conducted in the name of securing Israel’s national security, although the two are incomparable.

It is worth noting that when international pressure and condemnation of Israel got bigger, Israel’s IDF started shooting kids in the legs or with rubber bullets in the face/eyes to leave them permanently disabled or disfigured instead of killing them. This is the most desperate psychological tormenting strategy to get Hamas to yield and leave the strip for the taking for Israel.

Whereas it was a successful tactic with the PA and the PLO, Israel’s land for peace strategy fails each time with Hamas.

Since the PLO’s removal from the terrorist list after the Oslo Accords, whenever Israel is criticized for its expansion and military escalations in the Occupied Territories, East Jerusalem or the West Bank, the famous sentence “What about Hamas” is uttered by its officials. It has become their new escape gate.

Thus, with its strong lobby and western media standing behind it, all Palestinians now are encapsulated in Hamas as it continues to be scapegoated for the entire conflict until they decide to go Israel’s way.

Meanwhile, following the recent Hamas and Israel clash after the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation, Israel has cut water, electricity, food supplies and humanitarian aid from reaching the citizens of Gaza. Not only this, but the “only democracy in the Middle East” uses internationally prohibited weapons, like white phosphorus, with the intention of ethnically cleansing the strip.

Only yesterday, on October 18th, an Israeli air attack hit the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza killing at least 500 people in a matter of minutes, and yet no one dares to direct the same criticism against it the way they do with Hamas. No one dares to doubt that this might be an act of ethnic cleansing instead of self-defense.

Is there a more monstrous act of terrorism and war crime than sieging an area, throwing missiles at it and then cutting electricity from its hospitals and health care facilities then bombing them? This is a genocide’s recipe the world had only witnessed during WWII. And yet, we still dare to shamelessly hide our condemnation behind the “what about Hamas” question.

Lastly, it is worth highlighting that there are three other Palestinian territories that suffer almost the same fate as Gaza. They are by no means subsequent to Hamas. However, they are all subjected to some sort of a settler colonial practice or another. And even for the Palestinians of the inside, they are treated as second degree citizens, and they are always constant victims to dispossession by Zionist settlers. Therefore, the question we should be raising from now on in regards to this conflict is what about the “Israeli occupation”?


Mohamed El Metmari is an independent writer and a researcher. He has contributed opinion articles to platforms like Al Jazeera Arabic, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, SasaPost, the Palestine Chronicle, and Countercurrents… He contributed this essay exclusively to Countercurrents.

E-mail: [email protected]


Support Countercurrents

Countercurrents is answerable only to our readers. Support honest journalism because we have no PLANET B.
Become a Patron at Patreon

Join Our Newsletter


Join our WhatsApp and Telegram Channels

Get CounterCurrents updates on our WhatsApp and Telegram Channels

Related Posts

Join Our Newsletter

Annual Subscription

Join Countercurrents Annual Fund Raising Campaign and help us

Latest News