Truths Israel Hides About Hamas to Justify Genocide

HAMAS

We certainly do not support Hamas. It is a murderous, fundamentalist, sexist, elitist group that has long abused the civilians of Gaza and brought death and destruction down on their heads. Hamas steals international aid monies and supplies, taxes the general Gaza population, and jails or kills its opponents.1,2 They are allied with the governments of Iran, the UAE and Qatar, who also oppress their own workers, and “resist” occupation by small (until now) attacks on Israel that kill indiscriminately and usually ineffectively. Israeli large retaliations to these prior strikes have killed thousands of Gazan civilians, while Hamas has remained unscathed.

Israel, however, does much damage to all Palestinians even while not retaliating against Hamas. They make second class citizens out of those who live in Israel; arm settlers who carry out massacres and steal water, demolish homes displace, kill, and abuse those in the West Bank; and cause Gazans to live imprisoned without adequate sustenance, in a state of misery and hopelessness. At the moment, Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, having killed over 8000 civilians, destroyed the homes of half of the population, and created deathly shortages of food, water, and fuel.

In order to fool its own population and Jews around the world into tolerating or applauding this mass murder, Israel promotes profound anti-Arab racism. They continually raise the specter of the Holocaust and teach Israelis from early childhood that Arabs are less than human and inherently hate and wish to kill all Jews. Indeed, the latest Hamas raid on Israel on October 7, in which over 1000 Jews were indiscriminately murdered, only helped confirm these stereotypes.

However, what we want to discuss here is that in addition to these tactics, the Israeli government has acted very hypocritically towards Hamas and tells lies that distort Hamas’ avowed ideology. Israel not only helped found Hamas, but has supported them with large amounts of money, and Israel falsely claims that Hamas’ stated policy remains committed to the destruction of Israel and all Jews.

Israel Helped Create and Then Supported Hamas

The primary aim of the Israeli government, ever since they conquered the lands of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, has been to keep the Palestinians weak, divided and unable to advance toward statehood. During the rebellions of 1987 against the occupation, the First Intifada, Hamas was upgraded, with Israel’s help, from a small radical Islamic group with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood to a larger and more well-funded movement. The aim was to promote a fundamentalist nationalist group as a counterweight to the Palestinian Authority (PA), which controlled the West Bank. Brigadier General Yitzhak Segev, who was the Israeli military governor in Gaza in the early 1980s, told a New York Times reporter that he had helped finance the Palestinian Islamist movement. Avner Cohen, a former Israeli religious affairs official who worked in Gaza for more than two decades, told the Wall Street Journal in 2009 that “Hamas…is Israel’s creation.” 3,4

Netanyahu has always believed in keeping Hamas strong to oppose the PA, and since 2018 he sent generous funding to Hamas via Qatar. To quote the Times of Israel, “With Israel’s approval, Qatar since 2018 has periodically provided millions of dollars in cash to Gaza’s Hamas rulers to pay for fuel for the Strip’s power plant, allow the group to pay its civil servants, and provide aid to tens of thousands of impoverished families.”4a,5 Netanyahu also granted thousands of work permits, in cooperation with Hamas, for laborers to work in Israel and earn good salaries.6  Somehow, Netanyahu’s governments naively assumed their funds would not go to military purposes.

The Current Position of Hamas is Misrepresented

The original Hamas Charter of 1988 did call for the restoration of all of the historic land of Palestine to the control of the Islamic Resistance Movement, for which Hamas is an acronym. However, the more recent Charter of 2017 made some important changes. In article 20, it states “Hamas considers the establishment of a fully sovereign and independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital along the lines of the 4th of June 1967, with the return of the refugees and the displaced to their homes from which they were expelled, to be a formula of national consensus.”  In article 16, it also clarifies that the battle is against Zionism, not against Jews. “Hamas affirms that its conflict is with the Zionist project not with the Jews because of their religion. Hamas does not wage a struggle against the Jews because they are Jewish but wages a struggle against the Zionists who occupy Palestine.” The entire content of the original and revised Charters can be found on this Wilson Center site.7

The United States was not unaware of these changes. The Wilson Center report quotes a US diplomat, Aaron David Miller, describing the changes to The Islamists.8. Thus we can be sure that the Israelis were also fully aware of Hamas’ altered position. However, on October 19 Netanyahu stated, in his press conference with President Biden, “Hamas wants to kill as many Israelis as possible.”9 Biden did not contradict him. Of course, the non-discriminating murders Hamas committed on October 7, which included many Israeli peace activists, did not speak well for this proclaimed change of heart on the part of Hamas members.

Hamas is No Solution for Anyone

The recent Hamas attack on Israel was so brutal and inhumane that even few Palestinian sympathizers could support it. In the past, the position of many anti-Zionist groups was that you must not criticize any Palestinians as long as they are an oppressed group. Of course, by this logic, one would oppose the Taliban when they are in power, but not criticize them during their period of defeat, even though their ideology is unchanged. However, now many protestors against genocide disavow Hamas as they support Gazan civilians.

Within Gaza itself, there has long been disenchantment with Hamas. In a survey carried out this year, only 29% of Gazans expressed satisfaction with their government, and 72% said there was a large or medium amount of corruption. If asked who they would vote for, only 24% picked the Hamas leader and 12% the PA. 67% of West Bank respondents said they would like to see the PA leader Abbas resign.10

Nationalism is Not the Answer

Nationalism divides people by their ethnicity, race, religion or what country they live in. But those designations do not describe the actual interests that divide people, the divisions of quality of life, of power over one’s life. Universally, in this wholly capitalist world, the real division is between workers and capitalists. The capitalists know this as they often cooperate with one another in order to better exploit workers. The bosses of Israel and the West Bank work together both in economic enterprises and to suppress dissent in their populations. We have just learned that Israeli bosses and Gazan ones do too. But many groups are calling for “Freedom for Palestine,” with the idea that the nature of society should be decided later.11 Not only is a Palestinian state not a realistic possibility, but such an entity controlled by leaders such as the PA or remnants of Hamas is to no worker’s benefit.

The crucial lesson of history is that workers of Palestine and Israel, indeed workers anywhere, have nothing to gain by hating and fearing one another along nationalist lines, nor in gaining national independence when capitalism remains in power. Their only real safety and salvation will lie on building a unified movement for a worker run state, an international society, one without exploitation or racism or nationalism. To prevent this, the rulers of Israel, Gaza and the West Bank will continue to push lies and nationalism, against which a principled fight must be waged. (Please see https://multiracialunity.org/2018/05/21/one-state-in-palestine-israel-cannot-bring-equality-if-it-is-a-capitalist-state/ for a discussion of Israeli and Palestinian capitalism.) It is not unlike the need for black, white and Latin workers to unite in the US. As the chant goes,

Arab, Jewish, Black and White,

To Fight Capitalism, We Must Unite.

Ellen Isaacs is a physician, anti-racist and anti-capitalist activist and co-editor of multiracialunity.org. She can be reached at [email protected]

1.https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-israel-middle-east-6620afdda34acc62ffa7fd822a749e8b

2.https://apnews.com/article/8fdc192372ed472d8043498f077d1dc0

3 https://theintercept.com/2018/02/19/hamas-israel-palestine-conflict/

4.http://web.archive.org/web/20090926212507/http:/online.wsj.com/article/SB123275572295011847.html

4a. https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/2023-10-20/ty-article-opinion/.premium/a-brief-history-of-the-netanyahu-hamas-alliance/0000018b-47d9-d242-abef-57ff1be90000

5. https://www.timesofisrael.com/qatar-raises-annual-aid-to-gaza-to-360-million/

6. https://www.timesofisrael.com/for-years-netanyahu-propped-up-hamas-now-its-blown-up-in-our-faces/)

7. https://www.wilsoncenter.org/article/doctrine-hamas

8.https://www.wilsoncenter.org/article/hamas-rebranding-new-manifesto

9. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2023/10/18/remarks-by-president-biden-and-prime-minister-benjamin-netanyahu-of-israel-before-expanded-bilateral-meeting-tel-aviv-israel/

10. https://www.foreignaffairs.com/israel/what-palestinians-really-think-hamas

11. https://usacbi.org/2023/10/the-gaza-resolution

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