In the last few days I’ve written about the need to respond to events in the Middle East in an informed manner. To speak on Middle East issues must include the responsibility to challenge Israel for unjust, oppressive and illegal behaviour including ongoing occupation of territory, failure to care properly for the human rights of those within occupied territories and the encouragement of illegal settlements.
But we also need to see and observe what else is going on. If we are sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinian people -and we should be, then we also need to be informed about the role of Hamas lest we confuse concern for the rights of Palestinians with support for Hamas’ struggle.
Here is the Hamas Covenant (1988)
I want you to notice two important things about Hamas. First of all, they are an Islamist movement. The Covenant says in Article 1:
The Movement’s programme is Islam. From it, it draws its ideas, ways of thinking and understanding of the universe, life and man. It resorts to it for judgement in all its conduct, and it is inspired by it for guidance of its steps.
Then at Article 4:
The Islamic Resistance Movement welcomes every Moslem who embraces its faith, ideology, follows its programme, keeps its secrets, and wants to belong to its ranks and carry out the duty. Allah will certainly reward such one.
It is important then to be clear, that like ISIS, the aim of Hamas is not the creation of a liberal, secular, democratic Palestinian state as many of their well-wishers seem to assume but rather the spread and dominance of a specific strain of Islam. The Covenant is clear that people who choose to persist in other faiths can only do so providing they are under the umbrella of Islamic rule. Or as it puts it at Article 6:
The Islamic Resistance Movement is a distinguished Palestinian movement, whose allegiance is to Allah, and whose way of life is Islam. It strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine, for under the wing of Islam followers of all religions can coexist in security and safety where their lives, possessions and rights are concerned. In the absence of Islam, strife will be rife, oppression spreads, evil prevails and schisms and wars will break out.
Hamas is therefore not a freedom and liberation movement. It desires to suppress and oppress the Palestinian people.
The second thing I want you to observe is that Hamas is an antisemitic movement. We know from the very first lines of the constitution that its aim is not merely the setting up of a Palestinian homeland as part of a 2 state solution but rather the complete annihilation of Israel and ethnic cleansing. This quote appears very early in the document:
Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it” (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).
However, the document goes on to say that:
This Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS), clarifies its picture, reveals its identity, outlines its stand, explains its aims, speaks about its hopes, and calls for its support, adoption and joining its ranks. Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. It needs all sincere efforts. It is a step that inevitably should be followed by other steps. The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah’s victory is realised.
Notice the phrase in bold for emphasis, the struggle is portrayed not as against the modern state of Israel but against the Jews generally. Hamas’ aim is not merely to drive out Israel but to see Moselms rising up to fight against and to kill Jews. Notice these words:
Moreover, if the links have been distant from each other and if obstacles, placed by those who are the lackeys of Zionism in the way of the fighters obstructed the continuation of the struggle, the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realisation of Allah’s promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:
“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. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).
This is because its ideology arises out of antisemitic conspiracy theories. Observe in the quote blow the close relationship between Hamas’ ideological thinking and the kind of conspiracy theories we here today including Cultural Marxism and fear of big finance/big tech billionaires from Jewish backgrounds seeking to control money and the media.
For a long time, the enemies have been planning, skillfully and with precision, for the achievement of what they have attained. They took into consideration the causes affecting the current of events. They strived to amass great and substantive material wealth which they devoted to the realisation of their dream. With their money, they took control of the world media, news agencies, the press, publishing houses, broadcasting stations, and others. With their money they stirred revolutions in various parts of the world with the purpose of achieving their interests and reaping the fruit therein. They were behind the French Revolution, the Communist revolution and most of the revolutions we heard and hear about, here and there. With their money they formed secret societies, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, the Lions and others in different parts of the world for the purpose of sabotaging societies and achieving Zionist interests. With their money they were able to control imperialistic countries and instigate them to colonize many countries in order to enable them to exploit their resources and spread corruption there.
It is right and possible to speak up for the Palestinian people and to support their well-being and freedom. It is right and possible to challenge brutality by Israeli security services. It is reasonable to observe that even if you genuinely seek to minimise civilian casualties and even if you are frustrated at an any that hides among civilians, that launching missile attacks into those communities will unavoidably lead to civilian casualties including the tragic deaths of many children. It is right to be grieved by the horror, violence and tragic loss of life.
A good example of how to do that well can be seen in my friend Steve Kneale’s tweet here:
However, we also need to be 100% clear, first that simply assuming that putting in a Two-State solution will not in and of itself bring about peace in the Middle East, Hamas has objectives that go beyond that and will not be satisfied by it, as do other terrorist organisations and states in the region. Secondly, that we cannot and must not intervene in the debate in a way that suggests support and succour for what is a violent, oppressive, racist, antisemitic and tyrannical organisation.