Thursday, August 28, 2014

HAMAS "VICTORY" - - Bassam Tawil

The very informative article below, by Bassam Tawil, a Palestinian scholar, will broaden your perspectives concerning the just concluded 50-day war between Hamas and Israel. Hamas has to claim victory obviously to save face, and re-position itself for the next round of war - who knows when.  As pointed out by Israel's spokesperson, the points in the eventual ceasefire document were exactly those accepted by Israel, and rejected by Hamas, since early July!  Obviously, Hamas had to finally concede to those points when Israel began taking the battle right to Hamas leadership.


An Arab proverb says, "First he hit me, then, before I could accuse him, he complained" -- meaning, "It all started when he hit me back."
These days, every loyal Palestinian finds it very frustrating to listen to Hamas boast about its great victory against the Jews in Albunyan Almarsus, what the Israelis call Operation Protective Edge, while it complains that the Jews committed war crimes in Gaza.
These complaints recall the pathetic way Arabs boast to convince themselves that they won every war the Israelis defeated them in.
There is nothing more bizarre, though, than Hamas's complaints about the "war crimes" it accuses Israel of committing. According to Article 7 of the Hamas charter, the Hamas movement has a religious and national duty to kill all the Jews in Palestine -- and everyplace else:
"The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: 'O Muslim, O servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.'"
The Hamas Charter's Article 7 is taken from a quotation of Muhammad in the Hadith Bukharu Volume 4, Book 52, Number 177:
Narrated Abu Hraira: Allah's Apostle said, "The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say, "O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him."
Throughout Hamas's existence, it has striven to carry out this duty, killing and maiming thousands of Israelis along the way.

Before Israel built its security fence, Hamas suicide bombers would go from the West Bank to Israeli territory and blow up hundreds of Israelis in buses, discotheques, hotels, restaurants, and markets.
Hamas's commitment "to fight the Jews and kill them" has also been seen in Operation Protective Edge: Hamas's rockets exclusively targeted Jewish population centers, large and small.

Its truly massive attack against Israel, however, according to Hamas members captured by the IDF and interrogated, was not planned for July, but for the end of September, when, on the eve of the Jewish New Year, hundreds of terrorists wearing IDF uniforms would pour out of its tunnels to kill or kidnap hundreds of Israelis.

Hamas was forced to act earlier, it seems, after the forces of Egypt's President, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, destroyed Hamas's smuggling tunnels along the Egyptian-Gazan border. Hamas found itself being slowly strangled. Even the most recent payment of $30 million promised by terrorist-funder Qatar never reached the Gaza Strip. Hoping for a way out of its financial straits, Hamas joined the Palestinian Authority [PA] in a national consensus government so that money from Qatar could "legally" be sent to the Gaza Strip from Ramallah. The funds, however, stayed in Ramallah.
Hamas had yet another plan: to win the PA elections, wrest control from Fatah and throw Mahmoud Abbas onto history's garbage heap. The Israeli and PA security forces recently detained 94 Hamas operatives, and seized weapons, ammunition, explosives and large amounts of money. It seems the cardboard false front of the national consensus government was to be used to engineer a Hamas palace takeover in the West Bank, similar to the one in the Gaza Strip in 2007.

Close to the date of the elections, Hamas abducted and murdered three Jewish teenagers, as admitted last week by senior Hamas operative Salah al-Arouri at a Muslim Brotherhood conference in Turkey. Hamas, it appears, had been hoping to use the boys as "Get Out of Jail Free" cards for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons -- all acts that would boost Hamas's popularity in the West Bank and ensure a win in the elections.

The result of the abduction was that the IDF launched Operation Brothers' Keeper, which included destroying Hamas's network in the West Bank, and re-arresting several terrorist operatives who had been released in a prisoner exchange deal for the Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit.

This Operation exerted additional pressure on Hamas, which began bombarding Israel's towns and cities with rockets, and then sent several terrorist squads into Israel through its tunnels, evidently hoping for some kind of showcase attack. Some of the terrorists succeeded in killing IDF soldiers, some of the terrorists were killed, and others succeeded in returning to the Gaza Strip.

Hamas went on to violate over six ceasefire agreements proposed by Israel and one proposed by itself.

Hamas did succeed in scaring Israel to the point where 80,000 reserve soldiers were called up. Hamas even managed to cause foreign airlines to stop flying into Israel's international airport for three days, sending Hamas's leadership into a state of euphoria which led it to ramp up even further its rocket attacks against the Israeli civilian population.

In view of the rocket attacks and the terrorist tunnels, only some of which were known to Israeli intelligence, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu had no choice but to authorize a military action. He hesitated, and tried for four days to delay a military response. He proposed ceasefire after ceasefire, and told the Palestinians again and again, "Quiet will be met with quiet" -- to no avail. Unfortunately for Gaza's civilian population, the leaders of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad mistook Netanyahu's remarks as signs of weakness.

The Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad leadership waged their war from deep underground bunkers, beneath high-rise buildings and below Gaza's showcase Al-Shifa Hospital. The leadership left the civilian population above ground and urged them onto the roofs of buildings or to stay home and receive the strikes that were coming toward their weapons stockpiles and rocket launchers. Waging war from five-star hotels in Qatar or bunkers under Gaza's urban landscape, Hamas's leaders positioned these rocket launchers next to hospitals, schools, mosques, UNRWA facilities, residential complexes and even hotels where foreign media personnel were staying.

It was the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad leaders, not the Israelis, who are the war criminals. It was these Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad leaders who were responsible for the civilian deaths of more than two thousand Gazans, while they safely hid and only claimed that they wanted to be shaheeds [martyrs].

While the Hamas leadership threw the Gazan civilians to their bitter fate, the Israelis used the safe rooms they had built for their civilians and their Iron Dome aerial defense system to keep their own civilians safe. Not relying solely on Iron Dome, the IDF sent infantry units to the front lines inside the Gaza Strip to protect Israel's home front. The Israel Air Force attacked rocket and mortar shell launchers; its ground forces destroyed 32 terrorist tunnels that led from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory.

(Image source: IDF)

Its tunnels into Israel were blown up; the rockets smuggled in from Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Korea were neutralized; thousands of civilians were killed and tens of thousands of Gazan homes were destroyed, and yet the Hamas leadership continues claiming victory.

What is sad is that the Gazans have not managed to free themselves from the yoke of Hamas, and the world seems still not to understand the problems genuinely facing the Palestinians.

Even more important, the world seems not to understand that Hamas, like ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood, does not exist in a vacuum. It is one cog in the radical Islamist wheel which threatens the Arab-Muslim world, and which already has a foothold in the major cities of Europe. Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood are the petri dishes of the political Islamists threatening the world order.

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