Hamas is not a ‘Revolutionary Group’

The Canyon ChronicleBy The Canyon Chronicle

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Hamas is not a ‘Revolutionary Group’
By Elyse Wien “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.” The above is a quote from the Hamas Covenant: The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement of 1988, also known as the Hamas Charter. While some might refer to Hamas as a “revolutionary group” or “freedom fighters,” their founding charter and their actions make it clear that they are anything but so. Rather than seeking statehood and freedom, the Hamas Charter explicitly calls for a continuation of Palestinian death, stating, “Jihad is its path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes.” They explicitly reject peace and a two-state solution, stating, “so-called peaceful solutions…are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement.”  Finally, after blaming Jews and “their money” for all world turmoil, including the French Revolution, Communism, and even World War II, the charter tells us, “Their plan is embodied in the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion.’” As aligned with their charter, On October 7th, 2023, Hamas unleashed horrors on innocent people throughout Israel. They engaged in massive campaigns of rape and violence against women, taking video evidence and uploading it onto social media, sometimes onto the victims’ own social media pages to force their own families to watch. Survivors of the initial massacre that occurred at a music festival speak of seeing their friends passed from man to man before being killed amidst laughter. Too many verified videos abound of some of the most heinous ways that young women can be treated, both while still alive and in their death. Some of those women have been kept hostage, and human rights scholars believe that, unfortunately, such sexual violence is routinely continuing in their captivity. Additionally, Hamas slaughtered babies in their cribs, killed whole families indiscriminately, have been found with instruction booklets on how to torture, and kidnapped 240 people. Amongst those kidnapped include: Kfir Bibas, a baby only nine months old at the time, along with his four-year-old brother and mother; a woman who was nine months pregnant and is presumed to have given birth in captivity, and countless others. One four-year old girl who was kidnapped and recently released, Abigail More Eden, experienced both her mother being murdered and her father being murdered on top of her before she was kidnapped. A kidnapped 12-year old boy who was recently released, Eitan Yahalomi, was forced to watch video footage of the October 7th violence while in captivity and was threatened with rifles if he cried. Unfortunately, there are many more such stories. Some people have been excusing or outright celebrating October 7th while trying to fit the cruelty of Hamas into a framework of “the oppressor is rising up against the oppressed.” Not only is any context irrelevant to the brutality that was inflicted on innocents, it is also incorrect. The history is far more complex than that which can be accounted for by a simple binary. In 2005, Israel disengaged from Gaza, removing their military presence and settlers with the goal of giving Gaza political autonomy, hoping it would lead to peace and Palestinian statehood. Instead, Hamas was elected to office. Hamas─who has never held elections again─immediately began launching rockets into Israel with the intent of destroying the state, consistent with their charter, which is why Egypt and Israel jointly enacted “the blockade.” When Israel disengaged from Gaza, Iran perceived that as Israeli weakness and immediately began funneling money and arms to Hamas─ramping up the Iranian relationship with Palestinian terrorist organizations that began back in the late 1970s when the Shah was overthrown, and the Ayatollah installed. Today, experts such as the Council on Foreign Relations consider Hamas to be part of Iran’s “Axis of Resistance,” a group of extremist, violent organizations that include Hezbollah in Lebanon and several groups throughout Iraq, Yemen, and elsewhere. Iran hopes to cause political destabilization, distract from their domestic affairs, and become a superpower in the region. Hamas History Hamas had not always been the primary leadership in Palestinian territories, but the past was not much better. The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) had previously held power. The PLO was initially founded by President Nasser of Egypt, who established the PLO in the 1960s in part to use the Palestinian cause to advance Egyptian interests, just as Iran uses Hamas to advance Iranian interests. The PLO and Hamas had power struggles for decades, which included harming innocent Palestinians such as burning down their businesses if they dared to support one group over the other. After Egypt established peace with Israel during the 1978 Camp David Accords, Egypt’s influence began to fade, but the PLO leader, Yasser Arafat, began running the organization for his own benefit. One of the most catastrophic events in the history of the Palestinian people happened due to Arafat. In 2000, Prime Minister Ehud Barak of Israel offered Arafat a Palestinian state consisting of Gaza, East Jerusalem, and 90 percent of the West Bank. At this point, however, Arafat and Hamas leadership had been getting closer, and Arafat took the Hamas line on the matter: he rejected the two-state solution, insisting instead on a Palestinian “right of return” to Israel, which on top of being a massive security risk to Israel, would essentially end the Israeli nation. Arafat knew that his counteroffer was not in earnest. According to Mosab Hassan Yousef, whose father was one of the founders of Hamas and who himself attended top meetings between Hamas leadership and Arafat along with his father, Arafat rejected this offer because he enjoyed the prestige and wealth that came with being seen as the “Che Guevara” of his people. As Yousef says, Arafat knew that money rolled in when Palestinian blood was shed.   Hamas is also a regime of terror over their own people. In Yousef’s autobiography, Son of Hamas, he explains that witnessing the brutality that Hamas would use against their own people caused him to begin supporting Israel instead, working as an informant for Israeli intelligence agencies. Yousef’s autobiography recounts countless, graphic tales of the types of torture Hamas would inflict on fellow Palestinians. On November 20th, 2023, Yousef testified before the United Nations about the need for Israel to eradicate Hamas, not just for Israel’s sake, but for the sake of the Palestinian people. Under Hamas’ rule, according to reports from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, going back to as early as 2009, Hamas tortures and executes their own people if those people are suspected of being political dissidents, heretics, or sometimes, simply for fun. Furthermore, Hamas’ use of human shields is incontestable. Videos abound of Hamas members ordering Gazans to stay put in buildings that Israel had warned the residents to evacuate due to the weapons stockpiles held therein. The network of underground tunnels and use of United Nations-funded institutions and humanitarian sites such as al-Shifa hospital, the Hamas de facto headquarters, has been well known for decades, with news organizations and human rights organizations covering this since Hamas first gained power. Luckily, digital projects such as Whispered in Gaza allow for Gazans to speak anonymously about what life is truly like under Hamas. What should Israel do?  If a known terrorist organization unleashed a campaign against the United States consisting of indiscriminate slaughter, mass rape, and child kidnappings, I cannot imagine that anybody in the United States would make excuses for them or ask the U.S. to stand down in their quest to have their citizens returned and ensure that such a regime cannot stay in power. Unfortunately, many of the protests around the world are focusing their outrage in the wrong direction: they are protesting Israel instead of Hamas and Iran. To save Palestinians, one needs to demand that Hamas release all hostages and surrender. But trying to collapse the complexity of the Palestinian plight into an “oppressor/oppressed” binary with Israel is to repeat the historic formula of antisemitism: “Jews are foreigners who do not belong. They are bloodthirsty for non-Jewish blood (blood libel) and are agents of foreign governments while, paradoxically, controlling foreign governments. They are all-powerful and monied, and it is best to kill them or move them to a new location.” That is to say, if one’s solution to the crisis in the Middle East is to disregard the safety of Israel, or to advocate for the end of the Israeli state, then that “solution” sounds awfully like “the final solution.” Not only is that solution untenable, but it continues the politics of hating Israel more than wanting to help Palestinians, which between Egypt, Arafat, and now, Iran and Hamas is how Palestinians are in the plight that they are in today. Elyse Wien was pursuing a Ph.D. in which the history of the modern Middle East was one of her main research areas. She worked as a teaching assistant for an undergraduate course on the topic. After receiving her M.A., she left to pursue law, but continues to research and write on Middle Eastern affairs.
The Canyon Chronicle

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