By Gregory – The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not, as we all know, one that started just a month ago. Unfortunately it is a very difficult and complex situation that will require a lot of goodwill and clever diplomacy, not only from the Israelis and Palestinians but from the wider region. Many issues are playing in what today seems a conflict without light at the end of the tunnel. One side might argue that the main obstacle is the occupation of the West Bank and the building of settlements by fanatical religious Jews on occupied territory since the end of the Six-day war in 1967. The other side will argue that the numerous suicide attacks on Israeli civilians and the continuous rain of Palestinian rockets into Southern Israel from the Gaza strip are actions that no country in the world should have to accept. To get a better understanding of how the region ended up in this vicious cycle of violence I would like to recommend one of my previous articles: The truth behind the wall: A two state solution 65 years overdue.
The latest round of violence in Israel and the Gaza strip is regrettable. In particular the high number of civilian casualties is deplorable.
All innocent civilians, whether men, women or children should be saved in times of war. Governments and organisations who control territories should do everything to protect civilians at all costs and at all times, regardless of which side of the conflict they are on. The article published by the Huffington Post ‘7 Things to Consider Before Choosing Sides in the Middle East Conflict’ written by the Pakistani-Canadian writer and physician Ali A. Rizvi teaches us that protection of civilians is not something Hamas consider sacred. Worse still, Hamas seem prepared to call upon civilians to stay in their homes whilst Israeli bombs drop. Such a claim is made by Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri who openly admitted on Gazan national television that the human shield strategy has proven “very effective.”
As I have closely followed social media in the weeks since war broke out I have become increasingly convinced that most people in the West aren’t aware of what kind of organisation Hamas truly is. Furthermore, most people don’t understand what kind of society Hamas has been trying to build in recent years in the Gaza strip, the territory it controls. A society they would almost certainly seek to impose across a Palestinian state reaching from the Lebanese border in the north to the Red Sea in the south and from the shores of the Dead Sea to those of the Mediterranean.
What follows is an extract from the Hamas Charter written in 1988 presented by the Yale Law School. These articles form the cornerstone of Hamas as an Islamic resistance movement, or as I see it a deeply religious, fundamentalist Islamic movement. Recent voices within the organisation however try to adopt a slightly more secular stance.
Article 1: The Islamic Resistance Movement: The Movement’s program 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.
Article 3: The basic structure of the Islamic Resistance Movement consists of Moslems who have given their allegiance to Allah whom they truly worship, – “I have created humans only for the purpose of worshipping” – who know their duty towards themselves, their families and country. In all that, they fear Allah and raise the banner of Jihad in the face of the oppressors, so that they would rid the land and the people of their un-cleanliness, vileness and evils.
Article 4: The Islamic Resistance Movement welcomes every Moslem who embraces its faith, ideology, follows its program, keeps its secrets, and wants to belong to its ranks and carry out the duty. Allah will certainly reward such one.
Article 7: …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, would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.”
Article 8: Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its constitution: Jihad is its path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes.
Article 9: The Islamic Resistance Movement found itself at a time when Islam has disappeared from life. Thus rules shook, concepts were upset, values changed and evil people took control, oppression and darkness prevailed, cowards became like tigers: homelands were usurped, people were scattered and were caused to wander all over the world, the state of justice disappeared and the state of falsehood replaced it. Nothing remained in its right place. Thus, when Islam is absent from the arena, everything changes. From this state of affairs the incentives are drawn.
Article 11: The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up.
Article 12: Nationalism, from the point of view of the Islamic Resistance Movement, is part of the religious creed. Nothing in nationalism is more significant or deeper than in the case when an enemy should tread Moslem land. Resisting and quelling the enemy become the individual duty of every Moslem, male or female. A woman can go out to fight the enemy without her husband’s permission, and so does the slave: without his master’s permission.
Article 13: Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. Abusing any part of Palestine is abuse directed against part of religion. Nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its religion. Its members have been fed on that. For the sake of hoisting the banner of Allah over their homeland they fight. “Allah will be prominent, but most people do not know.”
There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.
Article 15: The day that enemies usurp part of Moslem land, Jihad becomes the individual duty of every Moslem. In face of the Jews’ usurpation of Palestine, it is compulsory that the banner of Jihad be raised. To do this requires the diffusion of Islamic consciousness among the masses, both on the regional, Arab and Islamic levels. It is necessary to instill the spirit of Jihad in the heart of the nation so that they would confront the enemies and join the ranks of the fighters.
It is necessary to instill in the minds of the Moslem generations that the Palestinian problem is a religious problem, and should be dealt with on this basis. Palestine contains Islamic holy sites. In it there is al- Aqsa Mosque which is bound to the great Mosque in Mecca in an inseparable bond as long as heaven and earth speak of Isra (Mohammed’s midnight journey to the seven heavens) and Mi’raj (Mohammed’s ascension to the seven heavens from Jerusalem).
Article 16: It is necessary to follow Islamic orientation in educating the Islamic generations in our region by teaching the religious duties, comprehensive study of the Koran, the study of the Prophet’s Sunna (his sayings and doings), and learning about Islamic history and heritage from their authentic sources. This should be done by specialised and learned people, using a curriculum that would healthily form the thoughts and faith of the Moslem student. Side by side with this, a comprehensive study of the enemy, his human and financial capabilities, learning about his points of weakness and strength, and getting to know the forces supporting and helping him, should also be included.
Article 18: Woman in the home of the fighting family, whether she is a mother or a sister, plays the most important role in looking after the family, rearing the children and imbuing them with moral values and thoughts derived from Islam. She has to teach them to perform the religious duties in preparation for the role of fighting awaiting them. That is why it is necessary to pay great attention to schools and the curriculum followed in educating Moslem girls, so that they would grow up to be good mothers, aware of their role in the battle of liberation.
She has to be of sufficient knowledge and understanding where the performance of housekeeping matters are concerned, because economy and avoidance of waste of the family budget, is one of the requirements for the ability to continue moving forward in the difficult conditions surrounding us. She should put before her eyes the fact that the money available to her is just like blood which should never flow except through the veins so that both children and grown-ups could continue to live.
Article 22: 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.
You may speak as much as you want about regional and world wars. They were behind World War I, when they were able to destroy the Islamic Caliphate, making financial gains and controlling resources. They obtained the Balfour Declaration, formed the League of Nations through which they could rule the world. They were behind World War II, through which they made huge financial gains by trading in armaments, and paved the way for the establishment of their state. It was they who instigated the replacement of the League of Nations with the United Nations and the Security Council to enable them to rule the world through them. There is no war going on anywhere, without having their finger in it.
Article 28: The Zionist invasion is a vicious invasion. It does not refrain from resorting to all methods, using all evil and contemptible ways to achieve its end. It relies greatly in its infiltration and espionage operations on the secret organizations it gave rise to, such as the Freemasons, The Rotary and Lions clubs, and other sabotage groups. All these organizations, whether secret or open, work in the interest of Zionism and according to its instructions. They aim at undermining societies, destroying values, corrupting consciences, deteriorating character and annihilating Islam. It is behind the drug trade and alcoholism in all its kinds so as to facilitate its control and expansion. We should not forget to remind every Moslem that when the Jews conquered the Holy City in 1967, they stood on the threshold of the Aqsa Mosque and proclaimed that “Mohammed is dead, and his descendants are all women.” Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Moslem people. “May the cowards never sleep.”
Article 31: Under the wing of Islam, it is possible for the followers of the three religions – Islam, Christianity and Judaism – to coexist in peace and quiet with each other. Peace and quiet would not be possible except under the wing of Islam.
It is my deepest wish that peace will find it’s way in Israel and Palestine. But after reading the Hamas Charter I think that the free, secular and democratic world needs to understand that the quest for peace is near to impossible as long as Hamas is ruling Gaza or any part of the Middle East. Many critics of this article will argue that Hamas won the Palestinian elections in 2006 and should therefore rule, but did Hitler not gain power in democratic elections back in 1933?
Hamas is an obstinate, fundamentalist, extremely religious organisation. In their ideal world politics and daily life become secondary to religion. It sees the world through the eyes of Allah and takes the Koran as its constitution. It defines the role of women in society as one of housekeeping. One of their responsibilities is teaching the next generation of religious duties in preparation for the role of fighting that awaits them. Women are allowed to fight the enemy without their husband’s permission, thus making the assumption they are subservient to them and need their permission for many other aspects of life.
Hamas’s ideology is fueled by hatred and racism. It uses the same populist discourse and conspiracy theory as the Nazis did in the 1930’s. It considers the Islam as being superior to other religions as it claims that peace and quiet would not be possible except under the wing of Islam. Its ideology even provokes the killing of the Jews.
It is clear that Hamas is not interested in peace. It claims that all negotiated peaceful solutions and international conferences are in contradiction to the principles of its Islamic Resistance Movement. It claims that initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. All of this makes me believe that when Hamas is entering such negotiations it is a tactic to gain time in order to re-arm itself. Or as Mahmoud al-Zahar, member of the Hamas leadership, stated that any talk of the 1967 lines is “just a phase” until Hamas has a chance to “regain the land, even if we [Hamas] have to do so inch by inch.” Any self-respecting organisation would take the peace initiatives as an opportunity to at least bring relief for its people. The only way Hamas want to resolve the Palestinian question, that it moreover sees as a purely religious conflict, is through the means of Jihad.
It would be in the interest of the Palestinians to turn their backs on Hamas. Only then would a free, secular, Palestinian state be viable. A Palestinian state that will be able to live on an equal footing with its Israeli neighbour. A state that can offer peace and freedom to all.
When I read social media posts proclaiming the hashtags #FreePalestine and #FreeGaza, I hope next time these posters will think twice and consider using #FreePalestineAndGazafromHamas!
I’m sure this article will stir emotions on both sides, but the central point you make through the use of the Hamas charter shows that the roots of that organisation are to be feared, and at least in part helps to explain Israel’s response to the current situation.