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.


  1. SchreiberBike says

    It seems no one can have a complex thought, that no one can think long term, that no one can see the problem from the other side. Sometimes we are bound to respond in an instant, but it’s been over a week and Israel is about to do something which they must know will hurt them in the long term.

    My first thought when I heard about this Hamas attack, after I wondered about Netanyahu’s desire to create a crisis which might keep him out of jail, was that the chickens came home to roost again. There’s a lot of chickens out there.

  2. JM says

    All of the important stuff happened after Arafat died. Until his death the respect he had among the Palestinians kept Fatah in control. It was after his death the Hamas won a majority of seats in the legislature. Abbas still won the election for leader, though Hamas didn’t run anybody for that job. One thing to keep in mind is that Hamas didn’t win on being more militant, it won on being less corrupt then Fatah. Also, international observers held that the election was pretty fair. After that was a couple of years of political maneuvering and back stabbing from all parties, local and international. Eventually ending in a stalemate that resulted in where we are now.
    I don’t really mind Biden’s position. Publicly he is backing Israel. Privately he seems to be putting pressure on Israel not to go overboard on their response. I don’t see this as waffling but being politically practical.

  3. lochaber says

    My best guess is there are a lot of intellectually lazy people that really like binary thinking/dichotomies

    I also suspect there is a bit of racism, or at least Islamophobia going on as well, especially when you compare what was considered justifiable by Ukrainian forces when Russia invaded them, by commenters here (maybe not on this blog, but this network)

  4. sonofrojblake says

    @Schreiberbike, 1:

    Israel is about to do something which they must know will hurt them in the long term.

    Do they, though? As in – will it, though? “Hurt them” how? They’ve had it demonstrated to them time and time again over decades that they can basically do whatever the fuck they want, Daddy will still send them money to buy helicopters, and, er, helicopters and all the rest.

    Just the other day I listened to a reading on Youtube of “A Few Notes On The Culture”, and I’m put in mind of this short passage which was in the context of the impossibility of maintaining a government over a fully spacefaring civilisation:

    in all but the most dedicatedly repressive hegemonies, if in a sizable population there are one hundred rebels, all of whom are then rounded up and killed, the number of rebels present at the end of the day is not zero, and not even one hundred, but two hundred or three hundred or more; an equation based on human nature which seems often to baffle the military and political mind

    This equation does not baffle Israel. They understand the equation perfectly. The lesson they have taken from the above observation is this: if this shit is still going on, our hegemony is not being dedicatedly repressive enough. I suspect that they’re going to fix that soon, and that they will suffer no large-scale consequences for it that they give a shit about. (i.e. “large scale consequences” will be limited to things like censure from people they don’t care about, boycotts by bodies that they don’t care about, sanctions they can and will ignore, and so on).

  5. sonofrojblake says

    re: censure from people they don’t care about – from today’s Guardian:
    “The United Nations human rights office said on Tuesday that Israel’s siege of Gaza and its evacuation order there could amount to the international crime of the forcible transfer of civilians.

    “We are concerned that this order, combined with the imposition of a complete siege of Gaza, may not be considered as lawful temporary evacuation and would therefore amount to a forcible transfer of civilians in breach of international law,” Reuters reports Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN human rights office, said.”

    An Israeli spokesperson was quoted as saying “ahahahahahahahaaaaaahahhaha, what?”, as the story does not go on to say.

  6. wereatheist says

    Hamas was promoted because it was a counter-balance to Fatah, which was a counter-balance to Yasir Arafat’s PLO

    Fucking Fatah was fucking Arafat`s faction of fucking PLO.
    If you like perfidity, try the PFLP:
    They say the accept Joos comin in before ’48. but not after.
    A lot of present day Israeli population comes from people driven out by Arab states.

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