söndag 10 april 2011

HAMAS: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

En färsk publikation från THE SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER skrivan av Dr. Harold Brackman beskriver Hamas historia och målsättning. (på engelska)

HAMAS: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow— NO PARTNER FOR PEACE

Conclusion: Why “Moderating” Hamas Won’t Work
In the wake of 9/11 and the International Quartet’s 2002 issuance of a “road map” for Mideast peace, European governments joined the U.S. in blacklisting Hamas’ political, as well as military wings, for refusing to renounce violence and recognize Israel. Following Hamas’ victory the January 2006 Palestinian elections in Gaza—when Hamas again refused to adopt non-violence and negotiate peace with Israel—western governments imposed new sanctions, cutting off economic aid.66 Yet at the same time, momentum in key western academic and policy-making circles has been growing to “engage” Hamas (as well as its parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood) on the theory that it can be “moderated” through negotiation, especially now that it supposedly faces the necessities of pragmatism and compromise in governing Gaza. Hitler wasn’t “moderated” when respectable interests both inside and outside Germany tried to “engage” him during his 1932- 1933 rise to power. But Hamas, we are told, is nothing like Hitler—he was “a total spoiler” while they are only a “limited spoiler”—and this time the result of “engagement” will be different.67 One line of argument, that Hamas is capable of “moderation”, points to its nine “ceasefire” offers since 1993. The term of art in Islam for a truce is hudna for a mutually binding cessation of hostilities which the Prophet Mohammed endorsed when there was hope an opponent might convert to Islam or when a Muslim army was too weak to expect immediate victory. In fact, until 2003 in the run up to local Palestinian elections when it first used the term hudna, Hamas invariably employed instead the weaker term tahdiyah or period of “calm” in offering a temporary, nonbinding halt to fighting. Then, in the runup to its dramatic 2006 election victory, Hamas began talking about a five or ten year hudna with Israel. The closest this ever came to realization was the much shorter, tentative informal agreement between Hamas and Israel during the second half of 2008—which Hamas abruptly and unilaterally ended in December 2008 with a renewed barrage of 300 missiles targeting Southern Israel and triggering Operation Cast Lead, 19 Israel’s three-week preventative incursion into Gaza. There never was and is not now a “hudna” of demonizing Israelis.68 On the way to winning the 2006 elections, Hamas took credit for Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and for killing “the Oslo process.” In power, Hamas in Gaza violated every promise made by its “Change and Reform” election ticket by creating what the London-based ash-Sharq al Awsat newspaper called “A Lawless Authority.” It started a process of “Talibanization” by brutally suppressing real and perceived enemies of Islam more much systematically than had Arafat’s Fatah ever had, not even sparing the tiny Eastern Orthodox Christian institutions where at least one nun was frightened into converting to Islam. Christian attempts to appease Hamas have never worked. As Benjamin Netanyahu put it, “Today Hamastan has been formed, a proxy of Iran in the image of the Taliban.”69 Hamas continued to use its network of tunnels from Sinai that yielded $140 million in revenue and facilitated Iranian arms imports that have made Gaza an armed camp. When Egypt responded to Israeli and American pressure by doing something about smuggling, Hamas gunmen in January 2008 destroyed two thirds of the wall separating Sinai from Gaza. Only gradually did the Mubarak regime resume movement toward fulfilling its obligations under the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty to control the border in order to cut off arms shipments. As Jonathan Schanzer writes, “It was clear that any blockade designed to weaken Hamas through financial, and ultimately political, measures was in Egypt’s hands.”70 From the time of its 2006 election victory and subsequent short but violent fitna (civil war) crushing Fatah in Gaza, Hamas’ leadership—from Khalid Mishal in Damascus on down—have made it clear their objective of destroying Israel was irreversible and nonnegotiable: “The blood of our martyrs will not be wasted on the negotiating table.” As if to under-score this, they launched one more suicide attack on Dimona in February 2008. Hamas fired its first rocket into Israel in 2001. During 2007 alone, Hamas fired 1,200 rockets from Gaza, 800 of which landed in Southern Israel. According to Steve Erlanger in the New York Times, they also further intensified their anti-Semitism. Despite declining popular support from ordinary Gazans disillusioned with an unending war sapping their quality of life, Hamas bided its time, fantasizing about a future industry of “martyrdom tourism,” while rebuilding militarily as best it could in the wake of Operation Cast Lead. It fired 200 more missiles from Gaza between January and May 2009. Between 2001 and 2010, an estimated 10,000 rockets had targeted Israel.71 Then came 2011’s popular Egyptian uprising replacing the Mubarak regime with who knows what. Hamas and its parent, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, know exactly what they want - ultimately, the abrogation of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. But as a preliminary to that, they want Egypt to remilitarize the Sinai as a challenge to Israel and to reopen the Gaza border to the unimpeded influx of Iranian arms shipments including improved missile technology, to bring all of the Jewish State up to Tel Aviv’s suburbs in the range of accurate, powerful rockets. 20 By “engaging” Hamas as well as Egypt’s Brotherhood, there will indeed be a transformation of the Middle East—but not toward the desired result of “moderation.” Hamas is the crunch point where the competing Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah axis meets the Saudi-Egyptian camp. Engaging Hamas and the Brotherhood will trigger a tectonic shift against the vital interests of both Israel and the U.S. Quoting Osama bin Laden, Lee Smith in his new book argues that the smart money in the Middle East is already betting on the Iranian “strong horse” in the regional power politics derby. This outcome would transform Israel into “the weak horse”, unable to deny Hamas the ultimate prize it seeks: the destruction of the Jewish State.72 About hopes to moderate Hamas, Smith comments: [T]here is little evidence that radicals are made moderate by having to solicit votes and govern. History shows that the reverse is true— radicals radicalize politics.”73 As Giulio Meotti provocatively writes in A New Shoah: The Untold Story of Israel’s Victims of Terrorism (2010): “The silence of Chelmno and the silence after a suicide bombing, the Zyklon B of the Nazis and the explosive belts of Hamas have this much in common: the total destruction of the victim.”74 But there the analogy ends. Israelis aren’t going anywhere and Israel will never disappear. Israeli security expert Avi Dichter puts it this way: “My parents lost their whole family during the Holocaust and they came to Israel. I don’t have any intention of going anywhere, and believe me it’s not going to happen. It is a question of time. What will happen first? Are we going to get tired or are they going to get tired? I can assure you, we are not going to get tired.”75

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