I’m sure that there will be many (some?) who argue with Mehdi Hasan’s analysis, that Hamas is at least partially a creation of the state of Israel.
It’s still worthwhile.
The argument is not simply that Hamas was promoted because it was a counter-balance to Fatah, which was a counter-balance to Yasir Arafat’s PLO – but that’s almost the entire point, right there: in order to pull a “divide and conquer” play, you need something to divide with and Hamas is as good a “great enemy” as anyone else. Then, once you start selling Hamas as the “great enemy” it causes alignment on both sides of the division: some people for, some people against, etc.
When I was a kid, it was all about PLO and how horrible the PLO was. Because they were terrorists, or, because Arafat had not specifically sworn away from terrorism. Now that I think about that as an adult, I wonder why nobody asked Begin if he had ever specifically sworn away from terrorism. My memories of those historical characters are sparse but all I can imagine is that they would say “why would I?” and “insurgency is a legitimate response to an occupation.” Remember – when the Stern Gang and Irgun were assassinating British officers and blowing up hotels, they felt they were legitimately responding to an occupation, too. Oh, dear, am I engaging in moral relativism? I shouldn’t be. The main point is that the term “terrorist” is a pejorative label applied by one person to another person’s “freedom fighter” or “commando.”
As I struggle with memories about Palestine – this is a problem that has been going on in fits and spurts my whole life and has become a blur – I remember when Hamas was elected by the Palestinians to be the Palestinian authority within the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Anyone remember that besides me? There were attempts to establish government-like entities in the occupied zones, specifically because the PLO and Arafat could be demonized as “terrorists.” And I remember when the Palestinians in the occupied zone flexed their fledgling democratic muscles and elected Hamas. Well shit, we can’t have that. I remember a tasteless quip from someone in the failing New York Times about “suicide voters.” Then, I remember a bunch of stuff happening, in which Hamas’ election was ignored and the Palestinian Authority was constructed with Abbas in charge and basically it was pushed into a corner where it could play with a pile of dog shit and not complain any more. That was around the time that Arafat died, possibly poisoned with radiologics, or possibly of a broken heart. But it still amazes me that there was serious media conversation around how Arafat really had to be more of a moderate and forswear terrorism – this while Israeli tanks had his building surrounded and snipers were randomly popping off shots just to keep everyone in a flexible mood. These are all vague memories, decades old, but they helped form a strong sense in me that something was horribly wrong with Israel. I remember forming similar opinions about England, when I saw British troops opening fire on Irish protesters on what came to be called “Bloody Sunday.” I’m pretty sure that atrocities like shooting crowds of civilians were not perpetrated on Arafat because of fear that it would look bad – but, now, those in power have realized that them looking bad doesn’t matter much. Perhaps surrounding Arafat’s “compound” with tanks and bulldozers, and pushing it in on its occupants wasn’t enough to provoke a shocked protest.
[I do have to hand a great big “fuck you” to chief waffle Biden who apparently tried to talk the Israelis into turning the water back on in Gaza, while also shipping them a bunch of artillery ammunition, and saying the whole thing is shameful, but naturally offering Israel his full support. What a fucking useless political “I’ll do anything to get re-elected” political nihilist. He’s doing a great demonstration of just what a piece of shit you can be, while still being better than Donald Trump.]
That’s what bothers me. It doesn’t matter much. There are people who have been able to grow up in this world and not see what’s happening in Palestine as unforgivably, irretrievably wrong. They also managed to grow up in the world and see flying airplanes full of people into the World Trade Center as unforgivably wrong. At the same time. How can this be? I’m not trying to equivocate those events but how can anyone look at any of this and not think that we are governed by the worst examples of human? It’s like we’re all ruled by an occupation government of evil scumbags.