Keep the history of Hamas in mind when you read about how terrible they are and how Israel has no choice but to eradicate it due to its implacable religious opposition to the existence of Israel. And notice that the article is twelve years old, although it reads as if it was published yesterday.
Israel and Hamas may currently be locked in deadly combat, but, according to several current and former U.S. intelligence officials, beginning in the late 1970s, Tel Aviv gave direct and indirect financial aid to Hamas over a period of years.
Israel “aided Hamas directly — the Israelis wanted to use it as a counterbalance to the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization),” said Tony Cordesman, Middle East analyst for the Center for Strategic Studies.
Israel’s support for Hamas “was a direct attempt to divide and dilute support for a strong, secular PLO by using a competing religious alternative,” said a former senior CIA official.
According to documents United Press International obtained from the Israel-based Institute for Counter Terrorism, Hamas evolved from cells of the Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928. Islamic movements in Israel and Palestine were “weak and dormant” until after the 1967 Six Day War in which Israel scored a stunning victory over its Arab enemies.
After 1967, a great part of the success of the Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood was due to their activities among the refugees of the Gaza Strip. The cornerstone of the Islamic movements success was an impressive social, religious, educational and cultural infrastructure, called Da’wah, that worked to ease the hardship of large numbers of Palestinian refugees, confined to camps, and many who were living on the edge.
“Social influence grew into political influence,” first in the Gaza Strip, then on the West Bank, said an administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
According to ICT papers, Hamas was legally registered in Israel in 1978 by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the movement’s spiritual leader, as an Islamic Association by the name Al-Mujamma al Islami, which widened its base of supporters and sympathizers by religious propaganda and social work.
According to U.S. administration officials, funds for the movement came from the oil-producing states and directly and indirectly from Israel. The PLO was secular and leftist and promoted Palestinian nationalism. Hamas wanted to set up a transnational state under the rule of Islam, much like Khomeini’s Iran….
In the end, as Hamas set up a very comprehensive counterintelligence system, many collaborators with Israel were weeded out and shot. Violent acts of terrorism became the central tenet, and Hamas, unlike the PLO, was unwilling to compromise in any way with Israel, refusing to acquiesce in its very existence.
But even then, some in Israel saw some benefits to be had in trying to continue to give Hamas support: “The thinking on the part of some of the right-wing Israeli establishment was that Hamas and the others, if they gained control, would refuse to have any part of the peace process and would torpedo any agreements put in place,” said a U.S. government official who asked not to be named.
“Israel would still be the only democracy in the region for the United States to deal with,” he said.
All of which disgusts some former U.S. intelligence officials.
“The thing wrong with so many Israeli operations is that they try to be too sexy,” said former CIA official Vincent Cannestraro.
According to former State Department counter-terrorism official Larry Johnson, “the Israelis are their own worst enemies when it comes to fighting terrorism. The Israelis are like a guy who sets fire to his hair and then tries to put it out by hitting it with a hammer. They do more to incite and sustain terrorism than curb it,” he said.
And notice how the utterly idiotic meme that some Jews like Howard Stern are trying to push, that to be “anti-Israel is to be anti-America”, is based in part upon this 2002 theme about Israel being “the only democracy” in the Middle East.
The plan of the Israeli Right may well be at work here in the 2014 conflict. Hamas’s implacability may permit them to convince the Israeli moderates that ethnic cleansing of Gaza and the West Bank is ultimately necessary. Which, thousands of years of military history suggests, is absolutely true. But don’t shed too many tears or spare too much sympathy for a strategic plan playing out exactly as it is supposed to. If the strategists of the Israeli Right decided to sacrifice a few hundred Jews in order to justify the PR cover necessary for the expulsions, it’s a bit much to expect Americans to be overly concerned about the fate of those sacrificial lambs.
However, the growing world disapproval of Israel, and the declining level of American approval, indicates that no PR-based strategy is likely to succeed in the short- or long-term. Then again, perhaps the Hamas Plan is primarily intended for domestic consumption.
UPDATE: Speaking of Jewish strategy, I’m not sure this is the optimal way to convince Muslims that Jewish women are not the collection of whores they are often accused of being.