Events in Israel are speeding up. Prime Minister Sharon’s debilitating strokes (Dec 19 & Jan 4) leave him comatose on the seventh floor of Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital, his fledgling Kadima party temporarily floundering without their father figure and prime electoral attraction. Hamas’ election victory over Arafat’s followers (Jan 26) has jihadi terrorists poised to take full control over the West Bank and Gaza. Violent clashes between rock-throwing settler youth and billy-clubbing riot police at Amona near biblical Bethel (Feb.1) crossed red lines of violence in Israel, leaving trails of Jewish blood on the road to approaching civil war.
Each one of these events is in itself shocking, destabilizing and foreboding. The speed at which all these events are occurring barely leaves time for Israelis to catch their breath. It is hard to discern meaning or pattern in the whirlpool of nightly news. This confusing pace of events can be described in modern terms as ‘the fog of war’ – confusion on the frontlines, confusion in the headlines.
Prussian General von Clausewitz is popularly credited with the origin of ‘the fog of war’ concept: “Fog can prevent the enemy from being seen in time, a gun firing when it should, a report from reaching the commanding officer.” (Carl von Clausewitz, On War, Princeton University Press, 1976, p. 120).
When a commander lacks clear battlefield information, he has difficulty determining facts amid the chaos of conflict. Confusion results, mistakes are made and casualties occur, including ‘friendly fire’ deaths in which soldiers accidentally kill comrades. Guessing at a battlefield enemy’s intentions and strengths results in a military situation known today as VUCA – volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. These words accurately describe the present situation in Israel!
But only when one sees through the fog clearly and reads one’s enemy’s movements accurately can there be strategic and on time response. This is also a requirement for spiritual warfare. As World War III presses forward – the war between radical Islam and the West – (see www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=4718 where former CIA Director James Woolsey uses similar terms), we need to pause and take stock. What new battle formations are being drawn up in the fog?
In recent newsletters we have used biblical scales to weigh both Sharon’s strategies and actions, as well as the dangers of unilateral disengagement and the pressure of the nations on Israel to divest itself from parts of its God-given land.
The focus of this newsletter is on Hamas. Who are they? What are their goals and strategies? How can we pray wisely and strategically about them and about these matters?
Sheikh Azzam and the origins of Hamas
The Arabic word Hamas can mean zeal, enthusiasm, fire, ardor, fervor or fanaticism. Used as an Arabic acronym HaMaS is the short form of Harakat al-Muqawima al-Islamiyya, which means ‘The Islamic Resistance Movement’.
Sheikh Abdullah Yusuf Azzam is considered the spiritual founder of Hamas and the “historical leader of Hamas” (see Phil Hirschkorn, Rohan Gunaratna, Ed Blanche, and Stefan Leader, “Blowback,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, August 1, 2001). Born in Silat al-Hartiyeh north of Jenin in 1941, he studied Islamic Law (Sharia) at Damascus University’s Sharia College and at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University. He devoted his life to worldwide Islamic jihad, and his slogan was “Jihad and the rifle alone: no negotiations, no conferences and no dialogues” (www.religioscope.com/info/doc/jihad/azzam_caravan_1_foreword.htm). In the mid-1970’s he lectured at King Abdul-Aziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where one of his students was Osama Bin Laden. He moved to Pakistan, becoming one of the top figures in the Afghani jihad against the Russians in Afghanistan. His jihad activities during these years received heavy funding from Saudi Arabia.
From 1984 he was joined in Pakistan by Bin Laden working in MAK (Arab Jihad Warriors’ Service Bureau, or Makhtab al-Khidamat lil Mujahidin al-Arab), a pre-Al-Qa’ida organization. He eventually quarreled with Bin Laden (and his new co-worker Ayman Al-Zawahiri) over whether jihad’s immediate priority should be international or Afghani, and whether jihad should also be waged against Saudi Arabia and Egypt. In the late 1980’s Azzam worked with Islamic Jihad and then helped solidify Hamas, before he was killed in Peshawar by a car bomb in November 1989. Bin Laden and Al-Zawahiri were rumored to have been linked to this event. Nevertheless, Azzam’s jihadi writings and activism gave much support, encouragement and direction to those who would later found Hamas.
Muslim Brotherhood origins of Hamas
Hamas was established in 1987 or 1988, and its charter proclaims that “the Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers (al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin) …the largest Islamic Movement in the modern era” (Hamas Charter, Article Two; in www.acpr.org.il/resources/hamascharter.html and Raphael Israeli, “The Charter of Allah: The Platform of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas)”, Y. Alexander and A. M. Foxman (eds.), The 1988-1989 Annual on Terrorism (Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1990), pp. 99-134). Since Hamas sees itself as a wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, let’s turn our attention to al-Ikhwan as well.
The Muslim Brotherhood, or Society of Muslim Brothers (Jama’at al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin) was founded in Egypt by Hassan al-Banna, a school teacher. Its original purpose was to unite Muslims against British domination through a return to an Islamic or Sharia state. After the British departed from Egypt, al-Ikhwan proclaimed that it could not compromise with modern secular Arab societies and military dictatorships. Egypt and Algeria, even Saudi Arabia were less than purely Islamic in the Brotherhood’s eyes. From the Brotherhood perspective most Arab and Islamic states are evil and need to be overthrown. Only strict Islamic rule and the re-establishment of the Muslim Caliphate or khilafah is ultimately acceptable.
The Brotherhood attempted to overthrow Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1954. Their revolution failed, and many members were jailed in Egyptians concentration camps and severely tortured. Sayyad Qutb, a main Brotherhood theologian, was imprisoned, tortured and later executed in 1966. Qutb’s brother moved to Saudi Arabia and later became the mentor of Ayman al-Zawahiri. Eventually al-Zawahiri would become Bin Laden’s deputy.
During the 1930’s and 1940’s the Muslim Brotherhood had links with the Nazis, including Himmler’s man in Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini. It first established a Gaza cell, and in May 1946 set up a Jerusalem cell in the Sheikh Jarrakh neighborhood. Yasser Arafat joined the Egyptian Brotherhood in 1952. Brotherhood members in East Jerusalem established a shadow organization in 1953 called Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami (Islamic Party of Liberation; www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/hizb-ut-tahrir.htm) which today is a worldwide terror organization.
In the late 1970’s Brotherhood members established Egyptian Islamic Jihad (Al-Jihad al-Islami; also called the Islamic Jihad or the Jihad Group) led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Jamaat al-Islamiyya or al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya (The Islamic Group) led by the blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman. Rahman is now serving a life sentence in Florence Colorado for his role in directing the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1983, as well as for thwarted plans to bomb NY tunnels and bridges as well as FBI and UN headquarters. Both organizations’ primary goals are to overthrow the Egyptian Government, to replace it with an Islamic state, and to attack American and Israeli interests in Egypt and abroad.
Ayman al-Zawahiri was jailed in Egypt for his part in planning and carrying out President Anwar al-Sadat’s 1981 assassination. He was later released and went on to become Bin Laden’s deputy in al-Qa’ida. Muhammad Atef followed al-Zawahiri and was involved with him in planning and executing the 1998 attacks on U.S. embassies in East Africa and the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon
Even before Hamas came into existence, its spiritual parent the Muslim Brotherhood was already leaving a bloody trail of destruction across the Middle East. The al-Ikhwan remain a force to be reckoned with.
The Gaza Strip – Hamas’ womb
Using the same strategy as al-Banna had in Egypt, Brotherhood members banded together in Gaza to establish an Islamic group that would propagate a return to strict Islam. In 1973 Sheikh Ahmed Yassin established Mujama, a welfare charity. Israeli officials encouraged this group, hoping that it might weaken the PLO terrorists’ hold on Palestinian society. Thirty years down the road, that hope as unfortunately come true, though few in Israel foresaw or would have rejoiced in this day.
In the early 1980’s Yassin’s Mujama began to stockpile weapons in preparation for jihad activities. In 1984 Sheikh Yassin was arrested by Israel for conducting jihad activities against Israel, but was released as part of a prisoner exchange in 1985. At the outbreak of the first Arab civilian revolt or intifada in December 1987, seven Gazan Islamists gathered secretly and founded Hamas. They drew up a charter which declared loyalty to al-Banna’s Muslim Brotherhood, to Sayyad Qutb’s definition of jihad, and to the Qur’an’s and the Hadith’s vision of Israel’s subjugation and destruction.
In 1989 Yassin was re-arrested for ordering the kidnapping and murder of Israeli soldiers. In October 1997 he was released from jail – King Hussein of Jordan’s precondition for freeing a captured Mossad hit-team. That team was in Amman attempting to assassinate Khaled Mashal, head of Hamas. Hamas was using Jordanian territory to plan and carry out attacks on Israel, while King Hussein was simultaneously paying lip service to a peace treaty with Israel. Out of jail again, Yassin returned to spearheading Hamas terrorist operations until he was killed in a targeted Israeli helicopter attack in March 2004.
Hamas Election Victory
On January 26 2006 Hamas’s Change and Reform party scored a surprising victory over Yasser Arafat’s Al-Fatah (formerly called PLO). Winning 74 out of 132 seats (42.9 % of the vote), it soundly defeated al-Fatah’s 45 seats. Were one to add the Hamas candidates running as independents, then the Hamas percentage would be a total of 80 seats, or 60.6 % of voter turnout.
Fatah’s Abu Mazen was very hesitant about having elections at this time, knowing that his party would lose badly. But the U.S. exerted pressure, insisting that these elections be carried out. But democratic elections in the Middle East don’t mean that Muslim voters will reject the path of Bin Laden. Free democratic elections in the Middle East would result in an overwhelming sweep for jihadi forces – with sobering ramifications for Western petroleum consumption. Like Hamas, Hitler came to power through the democratic process. And like Hamas, Hitler was in no way committed to democracy.
For years Arafat had developed the fine art of speaking to Western governments with hypocrisy and duplicity, declaring his commitment to the peace process in English while funding and organizing terror attacks in Arabic. Hamas, however, is open and unashamed about its commitment to terrorism and to the destruction of the Jewish state. This puts Western governments in a pickle: how will they continue to proclaim that they are fighting a war against world terror, while bankrolling huge infusions of fungible humanitarian aid to Hamas-led Palestinian organizations?
Over the past week some Western leaders have set specific conditions that Hamas must fulfill for ‘business as usual’ to continue. “‘I made the position of this government very clear,’ Bush said. ‘Hamas must renounce its desire to destroy Israel, it must recognize Israel’s right to exist and it must get rid of the armed wing of its party,’ he said” (Jerusalem Post, Thursday Feb 2 2006, p.6). But have these well-meaning leaders ever read the Hamas Charter written in 1988? This charter reveals a jihadi organization no different that Osama Bin Laden’s al-Qa’eda. Hamas does not ‘have’ an armed wing. It is an armed wing!
We assume that Western leaders don’t feel the need to bargain with al-Qa’eda or set conditions for peace talks with them. This is because the West is involved in a determined fight to reduce al-Qa’eda’s abilities and to eliminate its leadership. As you read the following excerpts from the Hamas Charter (1988), consider anew how the West should respond to ‘Hamastan,’ the new Palestinian Hamas terrorist state.
Hamas Charter’s Views on Jihad
“The Platform of The Islamic Resistance Movement (ed., Hamas): Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors.
“The Islamic Resistance Movement…join(s) its hands with those of all Jihad fighters for the purpose of liberating Palestine … Our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave…until the enemies are defeated and Allah’s victory prevails” (Introduction).
“The Islamic Resistance Movement…has raised the banner of Jihad in the face of the oppressors in order to extricate the country and the people from the (oppressors’) desecration, filth and evil” (Article #3).
“The Islamic Resistance Movement…strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine” (Article #6).
“Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah’s promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: ‘The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him! This will not apply to the Gharqad, which is a Jewish tree’ (cited by Bukhari and Muslim)” (Article #7).
“Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Qur’an its Constitution, Jihad its path and death for the case of Allah its most sublime belief (ed. this is also the slogan of the Muslim Brotherhood)” (Article #8 – The Slogan of the Hamas).
“Nothing is loftier or deeper in nationalism than waging Jihad against the enemy and confronting him when he sets foot on the land of the Muslims. And this becomes an individual duty binding on every Muslim man and woman” (Article #12).
“In order to face the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews, we have no escape from raising the banner of Jihad … We must imprint on the minds of generations of Muslims that the Palestinian problem is a religious one, to be dealt with on this premise. ‘I swear by that who holds in His Hands the Soul of Muhammad! I indeed wish to go to war for the sake of Allah! I will assault and kill, assault and kill, assault and kill’ (told by Bukhari and Muslim) ” (Article #15).
“The Muslim women have a no lesser role than that of men in the war of liberation; they manufacture men” (Article #17).
“The women in the house…carry out the most important duty of educating their sons to observe…the duty of Jihad awaiting them” (Article #18).
“The Arab states surrounding Israel are required to open their borders to the Jihad fighters … The other Arab and Islamic states are required, at the very least, to facilitate the movement of the Jihad fighters from and to them … Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims” (Article #28).
“Men of letters, members of the intelligentsia, media people, preachers, teachers and educators and all different sectors in the Arab and Islamic world, are all called upon to play their role and to carry out their duty in view of the wickedness of the Zionist invasion … Jihad means not only carrying arms and denigrating the enemies. Uttering positive words, writing good articles and useful books, and lending support and assistance, all that too is Jihad in the path of Allah” (Article #30).
“We have no escape from pooling together all the forces and energies to face this despicable Nazi-Tatar (ed. Jewish) invasion. Otherwise we shall witness the loss of (our) countries, the uprooting of their inhabitants, the spreading of corruption on earth and the destruction of all religious values …Within the circle of the conflict with world Zionism, the Hamas regards itself the spearhead and the avant-garde … (M)ore steps need to be taken by the Arab and Islamic peoples and Islamic associations throughout the Arab and Islamic world in order to make possible the next round with the Jews, the merchants of war” (Article #32).
“The Prophet…points out to that fact in his noble hadith in which he implored his venerable Companion, Ma’adh ibn Jabl, saying: ‘O Ma’adh, Allah is going to grant you victory over Syria after me, from Al-Arish to the Euphrates …Those of you who chose to dwell in one of the plains of Syria or Palestine will be in a state of Jihad to the Day of Resurrection.’… This is the only way to liberation … Only iron can blunt iron, only the true faith of Islam can vanquish their false and falsified faith. Faith can only be fought by faith” (Article #34).
Hamas Charter’s Views on the Peace Process and Religious Tolerance
“The Islamic Resistance Movement (ed., Hamas) draws its guidelines from Islam” (Article #1).
“The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers (al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin)…the largest Islamic Movement in the modern era” (Article #2).
“The Movement(‘s)…time dimension extends back as far as the birth of the Islamic Message and of the Righteous Ancestor. Its ultimate goal is Islam, the Prophet its model, the Qur’an its Constitution” (Article #5).
“The reinstitution of the Muslim state” (Article #9 – Motives and Objectives).
“The land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf (ed. irrevocably Islamic land, never to be owned again by non-Muslims) throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection. No one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it. No Arab country nor the aggregate of all Arab countries, and no Arab King or President…has that right … This is the status (of the land) in Islamic Shari’a, and it is similar to all lands conquered by Islam by force … Any demarche in violation of this law of Islam, with regard to Palestine, is baseless” (Article #11).
“(Peace) initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement … From time to time a clamoring is voiced to hold an International Conference in search for a solution to the problem … The Islamic Resistance Movement…does not believe that those conferences are capable of responding to demands, or of restoring rights or doing justice to the oppressed . . . Those conferences are no more than a means to appoint the nonbelievers as arbitrators in the lands of Islam … There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. The initiatives, proposals and International Conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility” (Article #13).
“Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims” (Article #28).
“Hamas is a humane movement, which cares for human rights and is committed to the tolerance inherent in Islam as regards attitudes towards other religions. It is only hostile to those who…frustrate its efforts. Under the shadow of Islam it is possible for the members of the three religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism to coexist in safety and security … The members of other religions must desist from struggling against Islam over sovereignty in this region” (Article #31).
Hamas Charter’s Views on Israel and the Jewish People
“The Platform of The Islamic Resistance Movement: Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors” (ed., emphases mine, and following).
“Our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave…reinforced by successive battalions from the multifarious Arab and Islamic world, until the enemies are defeated and Allah’s victory prevails” (Introduction).
“The Islamic Resistance Movement…has raised the banner of Jihad in the face of the oppressors in order to extricate the country and the people from the (oppressors’) desecration, filth and evil” (Article #3).
“The enemies (ed. the Jewish people)…make consistent efforts by way of publicity and movies, curricula of education and culture, using as their intermediaries their craftsmen who are part of the various Zionist Organizations which take on all sorts of names and shapes such as: the Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, gangs of spies and the like. All of them are nests of saboteurs and sabotage. When Islam will retake possession of (the means to) guide the life (of Muslims), it will wipe out those organizations which are the enemy of humanity and Islam” (Article #17).
“The Nazism of the Jews…make(s) war against people’s livelihood, plunder their moneys and threaten their honor. In their horrible actions they mistreat people like the most horrendous war criminals” (Article #20).
“The enemies have been scheming for a long time,…accumulate(ing) a huge and influential material wealth which they put to the service of implementing their dream. This wealth (permitted them to) take over control of the world media such as news agencies, the press, publication houses, broadcasting and the like … They stood behind the French and the Communist Revolutions and behind most of the revolutions we hear about here and there. They also used the money to establish clandestine organizations which are spreading around the world, in order to destroy societies and carry out Zionist interests. Such organizations are: the Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, B’nai B’rith and the like. All of them are destructive spying organizations. As regards local and world wars, …they stood behind World War I, so as to wipe out the Islamic Caliphate … They obtained the Balfour Declaration and established the League of Nations in order to rule the world by means of that organization. They also stood behind World War II …They inspired the establishment of the United Nations and the Security…in order to rule the world by their intermediary. There was no war that broke out anywhere without their fingerprints on it: The forces of Imperialism in both the Capitalist West and the Communist East support the enemy with all their might, in material and human terms, taking turns between themselves. When Islam appears, all the forces of Unbelief unite to confront it, because the Community of Unbelief is one” (Article #20).
“The Zionist invasion is a mischievous one…pursu(ing) all despicable and repulsive means to fulfill its desires. It relies to a great extent, for its meddling and spying activities, on the clandestine organizations which it has established, such as the Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, Lions, and other spying associations. All those secret organizations, some which are overt, act for the interests of Zionism and under its directions, strive to demolish societies, to destroy values, to wreck answerableness, to totter virtues and to wipe out Islam. It stands behind the diffusion of drugs and toxics of all kinds in order to facilitate its control and expansion” (Article #28).
“World Zionism and Imperialist forces have been attempting, with smart moves and considered planning, to push the Arab countries, one after another, out of the circle of conflict with Zionism, in order, ultimately, to isolate the Palestinian People . . . Egypt has already been cast out of the conflict, to a very great extent through the treacherous Camp David Accords … For Zionist scheming has no end, and after Palestine they will covet expansion from the Nile to the Euphrates. Only when they have completed digesting the area on which they will have laid their hand, they will look forward to more expansion, etc. Their scheme has been laid out in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion…” (Article #32).
(Editor’s note: On the Jan. 29 2006 CNN program Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said that Israel must change its flag. “Israel must remove the two blue stripes from its national flag. The stripes on the flag are symbols of occupation. They signify Israel’s borders stretching from the River Euphrates to the River Nile.” Israel’s national flag, which features a blue Star of David set between two blue stripes, was designed to look like a traditional Jewish tallit prayer shawl which has blue or black stripes. Hamas’ paranoid perspectives would be funny if the stakes were not so serious! http://blog.camera.org/archives/2006/01/cnn_broadcasts_hamas_consiracy.html)
(Editor’s note: ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ is an anti-Semitic Russian forgery, exhaustively disproved, which accuses the Jewish people of dominating the world through both Communism and Capitalism. The work surfaces in Neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic writings. Hamas uses the terms Jews and Zionists interchangeably. The Protocols predates Zionism, so Hamas’ use of it reveals the virulent nature of the organization’s hatred for the Jewish people.)
“Leaving the circle of conflict with Israel is a major act of treason and it will bring curse on its perpetrators.”
(Editor’s note: These words are chilling in light of the 1981 assassination of President Sadat by Muslim Brotherhood-linked forces. This above sentence threatens all Arab leaders who might consider making peace with Israel).
Hamas Charter’s Views on Christians, Missionaries and the West
“There is no escape from introducing fundamental changes in educational curricula in order to cleanse them from all vestiges of the ideological invasion which has been brought about by orientalists and missionaries … That invasion had begun overtaking this area following the defeat of the Crusader armies … The Crusaders had understood that they had no way to vanquish the Muslims unless they prepared the grounds for that with an ideological invasion which would confuse the thinking of Muslims, revile their heritage, discredit their ideals, to be followed by a military invasion … Imperialism has been instrumental in boosting the ideological invasion and deepening its roots, and it is still pursuing this goal. All this had paved the way to the loss of Palestine. We must imprint on the minds of generations of Muslims that the Palestinian problem is a religious one, to be dealt with on this premise. ’I swear by that who holds in His Hands the Soul of Muhammad! I indeed wish to go to war for the sake of Allah! I will assault and kill, assault and kill, assault and kill’ (told by Bukhari and Muslim)” (Article #15).
“The enemies have been scheming for a long time … The forces of Imperialism in both the Capitalist West and the Communist East support the enemy with all their might, in material and human terms, taking turns between themselves. When Islam appears, all the forces of Unbelief unite to confront it, because the Community of Unbelief is one” (Article #22).
“Palestine is the navel of earth, the convergence of continents, the object of greed for the greedy, since the dawn of history… Multitudes of Crusades descended on it, carrying their faith with them and waving their Cross … This is the only way to liberation … Only iron can blunt iron, only the true faith of Islam can vanquish their false and falsified faith. Faith can only be fought by faith” (Article #34).
“The current Zionist invasion had been preceded by a Crusader invasion from the West; and another one, the Tatars, from the East. And exactly as the Muslims had faced those invasions and planned their removal and defeat, they are able to face the Zionist invasion and defeat it” (Article #35).
A Terrorism Expert’s View of Hamas
Dr. Neil Livingstone, a former counter-terrorism consultant to the National Security Council, is a terrorism expert who has authored nine books on terrorism (including Inside the PLO; The Cult of Counterterrorism; The War Against Terrorism; America the Vulnerable: The Threat of Chemical/Biological Warfare; Fighting Back: Winning the War Against Terrorism) is chairman and CEO of Global Options, Inc., a Washington-based security firm, and a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers.
He describes Hamas as “a very dangerous terrorist group,” “an Islamist organization, very radical, that believes in the replacement of Israel by a Palestinian state …a religiously based radical Islamist state. And it has made its voice heard very loudly through acts of terrorism and through various political channels ever since 1988.” (www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/middle_east/july-dec01/hamas_12-4.html)
Hamas’s View of the Disengagment Process
Hamas has concluded that its terror campaign has caused Israel to withdraw from Gaza, just as Hezbollah believes that its terror campaign drove Israel out of southern Lebanon.
Back in July 2005 senior Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip Dr. Mahmoud al-Zaher declared, “History has proven that the rockets…have forced Israel to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, and they will end the occupation in the future. It’s the resistance and not the negotiations that brought about the end of the occupation” (“Hamas says rockets, not talks, brought pullout decision”, Khaled Abu Toameh, JP, Tues July 19 2005, p.3). Hamas “is planning to hold a huge victory celebration after Israel completes its withdrawal from Gush Katif … The movement is hoping to utilize the parades to convey the message that the Gaza Strip withdrawal is a direct result of the group’s military triumph over Israel” (“Terror group purchases 30,000 uniforms ahead of planned post-pullout celebrations”, Ronny Shaked, Ynet.com, Fri July 8 2005).
Hamas also believes that its victory in the January 2006 elections is another step on the road to a total Israeli withdrawal from all of ‘occupied Palestine’. It views the physical collapse of Sharon and the violent clashes between Jews at Amona as proof that Israel is in retreat, on the run and at the point of collapse, and that more unilateral disengagements are on the way. Hamas will therefore push even harder for its goal of Israel’s destruction. Hama’s present leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, declared on January 26 2006 after the election victory that the Islamic group will “complete the liberation of other parts of Palestine” (www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3207101,00.html).
With this perspective it is saddening to note that senior IDF officers are no longer talking “about a second disengagement as a far-off possibility. In Amona, they were already making predictions about the next evacuation – even though the ‘where’ and the ‘when’ have yet to be specified.” (JP, ‘Sticks and stones’ by Yaakov Katz, Friday Feb. 3 2006, p.13).
Prepare for the long haul
Hamas’ victory will lead to a strengthening of the Palestinian jihadi movement, as well as to an increase in terrorism. The former Israeli chief of intelligence, General Zeevi-Farkash, recently warned the Israeli cabinet that we could soon see “Hamastan in Gaza and Fatahstan in Judea and Samaria” (Jan. 30, 2006 in Ha’aretz). Israel’s Chief of Staff, Dan Halutz, warned of another potential round of terrorism and violence: “We casually waived principles such as monitoring borders,” he said. “Gaza, and this is not a forecast but reality, has become Hamastan, Hizbullahstan and al-Qaidastan” (ibid.).
Many Israelis are trying to think the unthinkable – to visualize Hamas as a peace partner and a gentle neighbor, now that it has taken the reigns of power into its own hands. A detailed reading of Hamas’ charter shows that it is likelier for a leopard to change its spots than for Hamas to abandon its violent Muslim Brotherhood ideology. “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil!” (Jeremiah 13:23). The Deputy Head of Hamas’ political bureau Moussa Abu Marzouk agrees with Jeremiah, noting that “Hamas changes neither its skin nor its principles and it will deal with the West on this basis.” (JP Thurs Feb 2 2006, p.6)
It is instructive to listen the advice of Ephraim Halevi, former head of the Mossad, (Israel’s equivalent to the C.I.A.) in his article “Rules of conflict for a world war” (JP, Fri July 8 2005). Halevi now heads the Center for Strategic and Policy Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
”We are in the throes of a world war, raging over the entire globe and characterized by the absence of lines of conflict and an easily identifiable enemy. There are sometimes long pauses between one attack and another, consequently creating the wrong impression that the battle is all over, or at least in the process of being won … With the passage of time, our memories fade and we return to our daily lives, forgetting that the war is still raging out there and more strikes are sure to follow. It cannot be said that…we can see its conclusion. We are in for the long haul and we must brace ourselves for more that will follow. The ‘Great Wars’ of the 20th century lasted less than this war has already lasted, and the end is nowhere in sight … International cooperation…cannot replace the requirement that each and every country effectively declare itself at war with international Islamist terror … This war is already one of the longest in modern times; as things appear now, it is destined to be part of our daily lives for many years to come”.
As we pray for Israel and the Middle East, let us remember the following prayer points:
1. Pray for wisdom and discernment for the leaders of Israel and the USA. (Psa.72:1; Prov.1:1) Pray for revelation to them about Hamas’ goals, strategies and tactics. Pray for their patience and for resolve in dealing decisively and accurately with terrorist attacks and terrorist movements.
2. Pray for success and victory for counter-terrorist forces in Israel, America and around the world. (Psa.139:19-22) These brave men and women are our defenders and protectors. Pray that their lives will be guarded and that they will know God’s deliverance in every way.
3. Pray for Israel to come to salvation in Yeshua, and for God to speak loudly and directly to our hearts even in our pain. (Hos.5:14-15)
4. Pray for the raising up of God’s mighty last days’ army of Messianic Jewish prophets and apostles. (Ezek.37:10)
5. Pray for the leadership of Hamas to receive a revelation of Yeshua as the Lion of Judah and the only Savior of the world. (Psa.83:16; Mic.7:16-17; Ezek.36:2-5) Pray for a spirit of repentance to be poured out on these men, and that they would cease their demonically inspired murderous attacks on the apple of His eye, Israel.
We bless you in the name of Messiah Yeshua, the Lord of Armies and the Prince of Peace,
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