I logged in to listen to the left-leaning centrist radio station Cadena Ser on my mobile phone today, when I was presented with a strange promotional advert, supporting the idea that Israel’s far-right government and army had the right to destroy Hamas at any cost.
At any cost? Ooh, that sounded like an extraordinarily dangerous thing to say. Hamas attacks are focused on attacking all aspects of Israel, civilian and military. Israel appears determined to do the same to Gaza.
But, even if Israel killed every single person in Gaza, which would, I suppose, be the ultimate cost, Israel would still not destroy Hamas.
Hamas of course, is in some part, an organisation, it is also a physical, geographical and political fact. It is the ruling power and organisation in Gaza. In some respects Israel could greatly diminish these aspects of Hamas.
But Hamas is also a state of mind. Anti-Israel, anti-Jewish, anti-American and perhaps in some respect (I don’t really know for sure) pro-Palestinian and pro-Arab. Pro-Islamic and possibly Islamofascist. Certainly, not democratic or lovers of freedom of speech. Palestinians in Gaza are afraid of speaking out against Hamas.
And it takes an attitude towards Israel, in the way that the advert I saw appeared to take towards the Palestinians of Gaza – strive for dominance and victory – at any cost.
It is also a shared set of experiences, a shared history, and shared stories. Its a history and experience of torture, impoverishment, murder of family members, imprisonment, ethnic cleansing, being bullied out of one’s home, seeing one’s home destroyed, and seeing Jewish Israelis taking their place.
It is also a set of historic experiences stretching back as far as the 1940s when Israel came into being, a time which accompanied with the ethnic cleansing of certain parts of Israel of Palestinians.
Hamas then is also Iran, its Saudi Arabia, its Hezbollah.
As the various protests have shown Hamas is all around the world.
The ideas and disposition of Hamas, then, in some respects, live on in the hearts and minds of many of the states and people around the world, and around Israel, who do not live in Gaza, but know people who do, or who take an interest in the politics.
In some respects the ideas and disposition of Hamas are intricately woven into the identify of what it means to be Israeli, in the same way that the identify of Catholics in Northern Ireland are intricately woven into the existence of Protestants in Northern Ireland.
If this is the case then the ultimate cost for Israel may not be enough for even the far-right fascist democratically elected government of Israel to stomach.
Just an aside, who funds these adverts and why do they feel the need to make the case for destroying Hamas at any cost? Who are they trying to convince?
Peter Beaumont reporting, 9th October 2023
The Israeli government’s decision to put Gaza under “complete siege” is a significant step and could trigger considerable hardship for the civilian population. The siege was announced by defence minister Yoav Gallant on Monday. He added: We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly.
Amjad Iraqi, writing on the 10th October for the LRB
Naomi Klein, writing in the Guardian, 11th October 2023
Today, Naomi Klein, Canadian, Jewish, writing in the Guardian, called Israel’s actions, in response to the actions taken by Hamas in Israel, ‘a murderous levelling of Gaza’.
Klein mentioned what she referred to as militant Zionism. She that its core and governing belief is: ‘that the non-Jewish world hates Jews and always will’ and that ‘Jew-hatred is the central rationale for why Israel must exist as a nuclear-armed fortress’ and that ‘antisemitism is… a primordial force that cannot be weakened or confronted. The world will always turn away from us in our hour of need just as it did during the Holocaust, which is why force alone is presented as the only conceivable response to any and all threats.’
The same day Benyami Netanyahu was quoted as saying ‘Every Hamas member is a dead man’. Benny Gantz, a member of the opposition in Israel, who agreed to form an emergency government with Netanyahu said, the newly-formed government was “united” and ready to “wipe this thing called Hamas off the face of the Earth”. Hmmm. Hamas is the government in Gaza, it is also all the organisations which run the state.
Wrote. “Many on the Israeli right saw Hamas as a better partner than the Palestinian Authority. This was because Israeli hawks wanted to go on controlling the West Bank, and feared a peace deal. Hamas seemed to offer the Israeli right the best of all worlds: relieving Israel of the need to govern the Gaza Strip, without making any peace offers that might dislocate Israeli control of the West Bank.”
On the 12th October The Guardian reported that Hamas run Health Ministry in Gaza said that Israeli attacks had killed some 447 children and 248 women. And 3 journalists and 11 workers with the Palestinian refugee agency have been killed too.
Chris McGreal, writing on 13th October 2023, notes that Israel saw the Islamist groups as key in helping to undermine the support for the PLO and recognised Mujama al-Islamiya as a charity, allowing it to operate freely and build support. Israel also approved the creation of the Islamic University of Gaza, which became a breeding ground of support for Hamas.
Hamas means Islamic Resistance Movement. It was founded in 1987. It identifies three themes for its work: religion, charity and fighting and exterminating Israel.
Hamas won elections in Gaza in 2006. It currently governs Gaza, and is also therefore a political party and government.