The New Hamas: Challenges of Resistance

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Members of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, address a press conference in Gaza City on 22 November 2012 at the house of their late leader Ahmed Jaabari. (Photo: AFP - Marco Longari)

By: Ibrahim al-Amin

Published Friday, November 23, 2012

The great praise being voiced for the steadfastness of the people and resistance in Gaza cannot blind us to some facts and questions related to the latest developments. The cease-fire announced yesterday – though necessary to halt the Israeli killing-machine – has only added to these complex questions.

There is a dense layer of smoke in the air concealing signs that are cause for concern for the future of the Palestinian cause. At best, they invite vigilance and raise questions about the resistance’s strategy in the aftermath of this victory.

In yesterday’s edition of Yedioth Ahronoth, senior commentator Nahum Barnea had the following to say about the cease-fire: “The US administration is trying to use the understanding to strengthen the Sunni axis in the Arab world against the Shia axis. The enemy is Shia Iran and Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah and Syria. The Sunni alliance consists of Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the Palestinian Authority, and the Gulf emirates, with Jordan on the margins. Hamas will have to choose between Iran and Egypt. If Iran could offer missiles and money, Egypt will offer immunity from Israeli attack, sovereignty over Gaza, and an open door to the world.”

The Israelis speak excitedly of their confidence that Egypt can be enlisted in such a scheme. They are counting heavily on financial assistance from the Egyptian government being linked to its pursuit of policies that serve the pro-accommodation camp. In the US, there is also concern to win over what it calls the “moderates” in the Sunni majority countries’ Islamist movements.

There is also impatience in the US and Israel to push things further – to get the resistance in Palestine to break off its relationship with Iran and, by extension, Syria and Hezbollah. The aim would be to employ Hamas’ popular legitimacy and record of struggle in the confrontation with the opposing camp, seeing as it is the involvement of the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis in resisting US and Israeli occupation that gives it sway in the wider Arab and Islamic worlds.

Are forecasts like these well-founded?

The harsh truth is that there are growing indications that such prospects need to be taken seriously. We need to take into account that Arab attitudes to the Palestinian cause and resistance are changing. It must be noted by the pro-resistance camp, for example, that not one Arab capital witnessed a serious demonstration in solidarity with the Gaza Strip.

Also, the coverage of the most powerful and wide-reaching Arab media outlets did not match either the scale of the Israeli aggression or their own previous standards of coverage.

There was also the accompanying spiteful row between supporters of the two camps, with the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis seeking a public expression of gratitude from the Palestinian resistance, and Hamas leaders deliberately avoiding such mention.

This all points to an impasse. Anyone who believed the battle with Israel would unite everyone is mistaken – just like those who thought Israel’s wars might take the shine off the clashes in Syria.

No easy conclusions can be reached here, as the calculations entailed are complex.

The resistance current wants Hamas’ agreement to a long truce to mean that Hamas is announcing a halt to resistance operations for an unspecified period of time, but only in order to be spared the evils of foes and supposed friends alike. It would meanwhile work to strengthen the resistance’s infrastructure in readiness for future confrontation in the course of securing total liberation from occupation. For this strategy to succeed it would require genuine accord with all, or at least the main Palestinian resistance factions.

There are also other options. These, regrettably, have been placed on the table for all concerned, and they include:

First, that Hamas’ agreement to a cease-fire is in line with a broader region-wide policy. This would mean that Hamas has agreed not only to belong to the worldwide Muslim Brotherhood (MB) organization, albeit under its own name, but also to commit to its theories and tactics.

The MB’s current priority is to solidify its hold on power, deferring all other issues. The resistance’s discourse since the victory has centered on its continued commitment to the cause of resistance in all respects, but this priority is not shared by Egypt, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, who seek to consolidate their power.

A second option is that the members of the Turkey-Egypt-Gulf axis quickly inundate Hamas and the people of Gaza with love and affection in the form of reconstruction aid. The support would be linked, however, to guarantees that everything wouldn’t just be destroyed again. Hamas would not be expected to secure a guarantee from Israel in this regard. Rather, it would be required to make a commitment with which we in Lebanon are all too familiar: to avoid taking any steps that Israel might use as a pretext to attack again.

Third, if Hamas were to go along with this, it would face an internal problem. Efforts would have to be made to clip the wings of the movement’s “jihadi current,” which wants no priority to override that of resistance. Hamas would also find itself confronting Islamic Jihad and the other less effective resistance factions, including Fatah’s al-Aqsa Brigade, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and others.

In the event of such a confrontation, Hamas would have to resort to harsh measures to assert its control and fulfill its obligations to the MB. This, regrettably, would put us on the verge of a new Palestinian civil war.

Fourth, Hamas joining this axis would entail a toughening of its line on the Syrian crisis. Rather than suffice with criticizing the policies of the regime and calling for dialogue, we could expect to hear loud denunciations of the Syrian regime. We might also hear Hamas leaders mouth off against Iran and Hezbollah as some of its senior officials have done.

The danger here – which must be averted – is that this is precisely the service the US wants from this axis. It will put pressure on Egypt, Turkey, and the Gulf states to press Hamas to assume the task of delegitimizing any non-Palestinian involvement in the resistance. This would be aimed at forcing the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis to retreat, casting it as a narrow confessional alliance, the “Shia front.”

The problem is not only that there are people supporting these options. But that the problem will grow if mainstream opinion in Palestine and Egypt is not given the support it needs to affirm that an independent national identity necessitates not joining a US-sponsored axis.

And incidentally, thank you Sami Shehab.

Ibrahim al-Amin is editor-in-chief of Al-Akhbar.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.


Its so sad to see these Coward arabs have sold the Palestinians to Israel when they started the war in 1948. Now all they try is to stop all kinds of self defence by the Palestinains by the order of their masters to whom they have surrendered since world war one. They were used by Britain, France and now by Islarel through US. They are a bunch of Hyporcrytes and should not be considered as muslims by any account as Allah mentioned in Quraan several times. I hope one day there will be new generation of Arabs when the despot kings of them start to fall and Allah give them some sense of humanity and justice. But for that all of them have to strive and struggle.

I find ARABS to be VERY STUPID! in believing Shia/Sunnis AXIS !
Are Somalis not Sunnis why are THEY BE MASSACARED BY Kenya/Uganda troops backed USA/Israeli?
Are Muslims in Mali and Niger NOT Sunnis yet France and USA with Israel are killing them
Come and see in Africa the way CHRISTAIN crusade has been UNLEASED ON MUSLIMS!

Clearly, this was a bizarre article, even for a lay man like me.

If 7 decades of brutal Zionist occupation is not evidence enough that a Palestinian Resistance is an axiomatic ideological policy for the Gazan and Palestinians People as a whole, then what is?

Is a pro secular West Fatah in the West Bank a viable template? Will the victims of 7 decades of oppression forget their woes overnight just because a glitzy Gulf Arab state wants to Tango with Hamas?
What did Mahmoud Abbas achieve for West Bank Palestinians that turns Gazans (Resistance included) green with envy?

Now all of a sudden, Hamas has achieved unprecedented military success against their brutal occupiers and every Gulf Arab is schmoozing Hamas for bragging rights to obfuscate the necessity of Resistance for ordinary Palestinians. Besides international legitimacy, influence and wealth, the author even mooted a thinly veiled 2 state solution as a moral imperative to lure Hamas away from the Resistance. But what would the 2 state solution entail?

For a two state solution, the author does not factor three major risk scenarios:

Risk 1 - How will Hamas deal with pernicious Israeli axioms namely, Israel is a Jewish state (no right for Arab Palestinian return to overturn the balance) and Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel. Israel does not negotiate on their axioms.

Nasrallah has been screaming hoarse about the danger of Judaizing Al Quds and that we should as Arabs and Muslims be absolutely against any such notion.

Risk 2 - What is the recourse for the Palestinians if the Zionist state does not honour its promises in a 2 state solution scenario? Any one in doubt about the Zionists ethical necessity in violating covenants should Google Kol Nidre

Risk 3 - 7 decades of occupation produced no real value from the Arab League towards the occupied Palestinians. What if some members of Hamas desire to press on with Resistance. No state or organization is absolutely monolithic. How sure is the author that there will be an absolute absence of Resistance from Hamas to this Qatari Proposition?

And if there is the inevitable divide in Hamas over such overtures from glitzy Qatar, how should the Palestinian people decide over the impasse?

The Qatari proposition is clearly fraught with peril and defeat for the Arab and Muslim people enmasse. It should not be given a second thought.

As Imam Ali correctly prophecies 14 centuries. the Islamic world will not overcome their common enemy until "the Arabs come to their senses".

More of the same old Divide and Conquer strategy:

I have always taken it for granted that the entire spectrum of Sunni 'Islamist' political movements, not just the MB mainstream but also the salafi-jihadi fringes, were controlled by the secret services of the Gulf states, which are of course western proxies. The MB itself was exposed decades ago by Said Aburish, in his book on Nasser.

Thats rich, a white phoney giving lessons on "mumana'a" and brazenly lying at the same time. There are Western and Khaleeji stooges among the Sunni Islamists, but to say all of them are like this is ridiculous and the thousands of them in Saudi dungeons must be "traitors" according to your flimsy logic.

"There was also the accompanying spiteful row between supporters of the two camps, with the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis seeking a public expression of gratitude from the Palestinian resistance, and Hamas leaders deliberately avoiding such mention. "

As if you and As'ad Abu Khalil haven't been engaging in the same thing just like Shareef Shehadeh lied about the Syrian regime not wanting Hamas to openly support its crackdown.

"Efforts would have to be made to clip the wings of the movement’s “jihadi current,” which wants no priority to override that of resistance. Hamas would also find itself confronting Islamic Jihad and the other less effective resistance factions, including Fatah’s al-Aqsa Brigade, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and others"

And who said they support Bashar? Nay, they were be accused of being more treacherous than Karzai, Chalabi, Maliki and Talebani, who are part of the "Resistance" camp.
As'ad said that the anti-Bashar Arabs are hypocritical because they don't attack Amal for its stance from the Assadi regime, which is a lie, and ignores that Hezbollah is the major power broker in Lebanon, so why isn't the "Resistance" attacking Islamic JIhad for not supporting Bashar just like they attack Hamas? They can't use the Khaleeji card here, so why the hypocrisy?

I agree with much of that except Im not sure the Saudis are all together involved in this and I dont think "the US will put pressure", I think the plan is already under way and started with luring Hamas outof Syria.

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