Category: A culture of violence


Background and Analysis – Primer


Hamas (acronym for the Islamic Resistance Movement), a Sunni Muslim organization, was formed in 1987 and is the offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.  It is dedicated to the destruction of Israel and the creation of a Muslim caliphate in Palestine. Hamas seeks to regain control of Palestine, which it regards as a waqf or inalienable religious trust, and impose Sharia, Islamic law in Palestine, as steps toward a global, borderless Muslim entity.


Hamas has a religious wing that sets policy and undertakes religious functions such as running mosques, a social wing that provides charitable, welfare, educational and other services, and a military wing that plans and executes terror attacks against Israeli civilian and military targets. All three wings are closely intertwined operationally and are ideologically unified. Hamas is supported by numerous private benefactors and charities in the Muslim and Western worlds. Some charities have been closed by Western law enforcement agencies using terror funding laws. Hamas also receives financial support from Iran.


Hamas’ formal theology is Sunni Muslim. Hamas’ ‘nationalism’ is purely a function of the religious duty to undertake jihad against the enemy occupying Muslim land. Hamas’ theology is also deeply anti-Semitic. Its founding document, the Covenant of 1988, derives some of its specific imagery and language from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, as well as the Quran, regarding the eternal corruption and perversion of the Jews. In general, fighting Jews to redeem Palestine is defined as a religious obligation for all Muslims.


Though Sunni, Hamas receives extensive financial and military support from Shia Iran and acts as another front for Iran to confront the West, in particular the United States. Some Iranian concepts, such as the importance of martyrdom, have penetrated Hamas’ ideology. Unlike Hezbollah, however, Hamas does not recognize the Iranian concept of rule by the clergy.


Hamas cannot accept the existence of Israel under any circumstances.  Hamas believes that Palestine is the sacred property of all Moslems and that Jewish rule on ‘Muslim land’ is an offense against the divine order.  According to Hamas, the domination or rule of Jews over Muslims in any form is an abomination. Thus Hamas is opposed to any peace agreement or negotiations with Israel. It can and has agreed to short-term truces when its tactical position has been weak but rejects any long term truces. The often-cited difference between Hamas’ ‘hardliners’ and ‘moderates’ or ‘pragmatists’ is largely a matter of short term tactics regarding ceasefires with Israel and temporary alliances with Palestinian rivals, and not long term goals.


Hamas is opposed to any Palestinian organization that negotiates with Israel or may be inclined to accept a peace agreement which might include territorial compromises. It is therefore engaged in a struggle for power with the Fatah-controlled nominally more secular Palestinian Authority. In 2006 Hamas won a parliamentary majority in a democratic election in large part to the PA’s enormous corruption and repression. In 2007 it undertook a violent coup in Gaza against the PA, and continues to kill, torture and imprison its rivals. In 2009 it announced the intention to create a replacement for the Palestine Liberation Organization umbrella that would stress Islamic and ‘resistance’ themes.


Hamas’ terror campaigns against Israel during the “First Intifada” included isolated incidents of shootings, kidnapping and murders, in part in competition with the Palestine Liberation Organization. During the 1990s, Hamas pioneered suicide bombings against buses and fixed targets, and in recent years, short and long range rocket attacks against Israel. The goal of these attacks remains to kill and injure Israelis and Jews, to undermine any possibility of negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis, and to galvanize the ‘resistance’ against Israel.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

A culture of violence

Israel’s security policies must take into account 1,400 years of Arab violence

Yoram Ettinger

Published: 01.10.10, 17:16 / Israel Opinion
Galal Nasser, a prominent columnist in Egypt’s al-Ahram Weekly recently wrote: “Violence has become the norm in Arab life, both on official and non-official levels…There are many types of violence besetting the domestic scenes of Arab countries, making relations among them unpredictable and unstable.”

Nasser also notes that “Some analysts speculate about a culture of violence and argue that its roots are embedded in religious texts that call for Jihad, that urge the faithful to wage a perpetual fight for virtue and against sinfulness…” he adds that “Neighborliness doesn’t seem to count for much either. There are many instances of strained relations among Arab countries. Currently, tensions exist between Morocco and Algeria, Libya and Tunisia, Jordan and Palestine, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iraq.”Hence, an Israeli withdrawal from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (the most effective tank obstacle in the region, overtowering Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the 9-15 mile sliver along the Mediterranean) would ignore the intense, volatile and unpredictable 1,400 year old inter-Arab violence and its implications for the security requirements of the “infidel” Jewish State.

“The state is involved in the production, export and triggering of violence…nourishing some and instigating others, making deals and manipulating players just to keep its ruling elite in place… Ruling elites are fighting tooth and nail to stay in office. Any challenge to their authority is viewed as an act of war. Meanwhile, the opposition can find itself in dire straits: either it faces a slow and painful death or opts for suicide in a hopeless war…”

Meanwhile, Dr. Marwan Kabalan last month wrote in the Persian Gulf News:

“Six decades ago, immediately after the departure of the colonial powers, the Arab world had big and ambitious dreams: unity, development, equality, prosperity and a reasonable degree of economic independence. Sixty years on, one is tempted to ask if the Arab world has really realized any of these objectives and whether they were realistic and achievable in the first place…

“Arab rulers have clung to power with complete disregard for public interest…The result was total failure in every aspect of state activities…and to a consequent increase in the use of force to maintain order and control…One consequence of these policies was the weakening of national identity and the revival of communal tension. Hence, people in Iraq and Lebanon and many other Arab countries came to identify themselves as Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds and Christians; rather than Iraqis, Lebanese or whatever else.”

“No wonder that the Arab world looks today much more fragmented, poorer and hopeless than it was at the dawn of independence… For most of these ills, Arab regimes have only themselves to blame. They have indeed left us with very little to celebrate.”

In conclusion, due-diligence of the 1,400 year track record of inter-Arab violence behooves the Jewish State to maintain a Middle East-driven (and not wishful-thinking-driven) threshold of security.

Israel’s defensible borders and Israel’s agreements concluded with Arab leaders must withstand the implications of potential highly probable and violent abrogation and inter-Arab regime-change. Israel’s security requirements must be the derivative of the 1,400 year old inter-Arab reality: No inter-Arab comprehensive peace, no inter-Arab compliance with most inter-Arab agreements, no inter-Arab ratification of all inter-Arab borders and no Arab democracy!

Hence, the security indispensability of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria – the Cradle of Jewish history – for the survival of the Jewish State.