Israel and Hamas are two radical sides that must be put to rest.
When the Islamic group known as Da’esh or ISIS took over Mosul in Iraq, many Iraqi experts said the movement was formed by different factions of Iraq’s Sunnis fighting against the Shiite government in Baghdad. It was said that no one should be worried because members of the tribal revolutionary movement, former Baath party members and others took part in the fight. So, there was no need to worry about the involvement of a radical group in the fight against the radical Shiite government to ‘free Iraq’. However, the next day the Islamic state was declared and the radical movement of Dae’sh launched a war against both the Sunnis who are not siding with it and the Shiite government. The result: thousands of Iraqis killed, wounded and displaced. Meantime, the fighting rages on.
Now, we also have another war, in Gaza, between two radical sides, one led by Hamas and the other by the Israeli government. The two have been fighting each other while Gazans are being killed, wounded and displaced. It is clear now that this war was launched against Palestinians who reject both Hamas and Israel. The two sides seem to share a willingness to adopt military tactics that will put Palestinian civilians at direct risk of death. Both Israel and Hamas are killing the Palestinians who rejected Hamas’ authority in Gaza and went out to the streets to protest against the radical group.
Hamas is effectively bankrupt and has lost much of the popularity that swept it to power in 2006. It has lost powerful regional allies and patrons, including Iran, Syria, and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Its reconciliation with rival Fatah failed to bring the financial and political boost expected. Moreover, Hamas which is part of the international Brotherhood movement has not done enough to foster strong ties with the new regime in Cairo or please other members of the movement like Turkey and Qatar.
The Palestinian unity government was formed because Hamas no longer had the funds to pay its own administration of 40,000 employees in Gaza. This was because the new Egyptian regime closed the tunnels connecting Egypt with Gaza and removed Hamas’ two chief sources of income: money smuggled through the tunnels and taxes imposed upon the operators of the tunnels.
Meanwhile, Israel has spared no effort to make the last round of peace talks sponsored by the United States a total failure. The whole world has also been looking with contempt at the escalation of settlement building in the occupied territories. Egyptians on the other side are trying to put their house in order but have not been tested as yet by the Israeli government. Above all, Israel was not exactly happy with the advent of the Palestinian unity government and strongly opposed the American recognition of it and sought to isolate it internationally. As expected, any sign of unity among the Palestinians or the Arabs is seen as a threat to Israel.
Israel’s expansionist agenda is thus at odds with the growing lack of sympathy around the world and the Egyptian and the Palestinians’ needs to rearrange their priorities. So it pulled out its best card … that of the victim. On 12 June, three Israeli teens were kidnapped and Hamas was blamed for their death. Hamas neither denied nor embraced the incident. Still, Israel started bombing Gaza to “avenge the blood of the three teens”, as Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. Hamas, along with other Palestinians and jihad groups, launched a series of rocket attacks against Tel Aviv. The fighting erupted, Palestinians were killed, Egypt was kept busy trying to stop the fighting but its efforts went unheeded by both Hamas and Israel.
Israel knows by heart that each time it destroys Hamas rocket capacities and Hamas rebuilds them, it remains an Israeli responsibility to destroy them again. For fear of shouldering their responsibility and cooperating over the teens incident or to prevent any recurrence of such rocket attacks, Israel has not addressed the unity government and went on with the ground invasion of Gaza.
Here lies the close connection between violence being carried out by Hamas and the fascistic elements within Israel capable of such bestial crimes. The unending and escalating repression of the Palestinian people requires the mobilisation of the most reactionary forces among the Israelis and the Palestinians. Until this type of radicalism is put to rest, the two radical sides will fight and innocent civilians will be killed throughout the Middle East.