Can there ever be lasting peace with Hamas? Examine its belief-system and you may agree that an affirmative answer seems far from likely.
THE MUSLIM BROTHERS
Hamas owes its origins not only to its hatred for Israel, but also, perhaps more, to a dream of restoring extreme Islam to the zone of Muslim conquest that once stretched from Spain to Indonesia. This ambition arose with Hassan al-Banna’s founding of the Society of Muslim Brothers during 5688/1928 in reaction to Egypt’s rampant secularization, modernization and Westernization. Starting with a handful of members, the group was half a million strong by 5708/1948 and today it has branches worldwide and influences a number of Islamic organizations and societies in the US.
After the Six Day War, Israel actively cultivated the Muslim Brothers, helping it build its charitable networks that would mold the minds of its beneficiaries in its image.
Among other considerations, religious idealism seemed a refreshing change from Arafat’s secular nationalism; let Palestinians busy themselves with charity and minutiae of Muslim law instead of yearning for their own state. But the Iranian Revolution of 5739/1979 was helping to fan the flames of a paradigm of Islamic religious revolution throughout the Middle East that included the creation of the fanatical Al Qaeda and Hezbolllah.
At the outbreak of the first Palestinian uprising (intifada) in 5747/1987, the Muslim Brotherhood itched to join the violence without losing their veneer of respectability, and their solution was to spawn Hamas, which would commit acts of depravity as the brotherhood’s proxy. Hamas’s goals are thus identical to the brotherhood’s, with a giant dose of violence thrown into the mix.
The Charter of Hamas issued on August 18, 5748/1988 makes clear that Israel’s very existence is a slap in the face to Islamic history and law. As introductory paragraphs put it, “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”
The Hamas Charter proclaims its major goal that, “The Islamic Resistance Movement… strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine, for under the wing of Islam followers of all religions can coexist in security and safety where their lives, possessions and rights are concerned. In the absence of Islam, strife will be rife, oppression spreads, evil prevails and schisms and wars will break out…” The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the links in the chain of the struggle against the Zionist invaders. It goes back to 1939, to the emergence of the martyr Izz al-Din al Kissam and his brethren the fighters, members of Muslim Brotherhood.
It goes on to reach out and become one with another chain that includes the struggle of the Palestinians and Muslim Brotherhood in the 1948 war and the Jihad operations of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1968 and after.
Why is it so important for Hamas that Israel cease to exist? The answer can be found in Islamic history and law. Territory incorporated into the Islamic Empire becomes consecrated soil and a holy trust, and must forevermore be subject to Muslim law and rule.
“The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf [trust] consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgment Day,” the Charter writes. “It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. Neither a single Arab country nor all Arab countries, neither any king or president, nor all the kings and presidents, neither any organization nor all of them, be they Palestinian or Arab, possess the right to do that. Palestine is an Islamic Waqf land consecrated for Muslim generations until Judgment Day… This is the law governing the land of Palestine in the Islamic Sharia (law) and the same goes for any land the Muslims have conquered by force, because during the times of (Islamic) conquests, the Muslims consecrated these lands to Muslim generations till the Day of Judgement.”
BUYING SOULS WITH DAWA
The Charter describes how Muslim conquerors of the seventh century united Palestine under the Muslim Empire after the fall of Yerushalayim in 4397/637 and Caesaria in 4400/640.
“It happened like this,” explains the charter. “When the leaders of the Islamic armies conquered Syria and Iraq, they sent to the Caliph of the Muslims, Umar bin-el-Khatab, asking for his advice concerning the conquered land – whether they should divide it among the soldiers, or leave it for its owners, or what? After consultations and discussions… it was decided that the land should be left with its owners who could benefit by its fruit. As for the real ownership of the land and the land itself, it should be consecrated for Muslim generations till Judgement Day. Those who are on the land are there only to benefit from its fruit. This Waqf remains as long as earth and heaven remain. Any procedure in contradiction to Islamic Sharia, where Palestine is concerned, is null and void.”
Due to of these principles, Hamas finds itself in a state of uncompromising, unremitting war against Israel and the peace option is non-existent. “Resisting and quelling the enemy become the individual duty of every Muslim, male or female. A woman can go out to fight the enemy without her husband’s permission, and so does the slave: without his master’s permission… Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. Abusing any part of Palestine is abuse directed against part of religion… There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad… It is necessary to instill in the minds of the Muslim generations that the Palestinian problem is a religious problem, and should be dealt with on this basis.”
Initially, most Palestinians sided with Arafat’s Fatah Party and to conquer their hearts and souls Hamas invested most of its giant budget in a giant Dawa (charity) system of schools, kindergartens, clinics, educational centers, Koran study groups and mosques. Put food in a man’s mouth today, and a sword in his hand tomorrow. The lion’s share of the Hamas giant budget went into its social projects, giving it the excuse of raising charitable funds from which it siphoned off cash for its bloodier activities.
Ostensibly, Hamas has three wings, political, social (the Dawa) and military (the Izz ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades), but in reality they are one. Dawa funds funnel into terrorism, the politicians control the terrorists, and the terrorists are the long arm of the politicians.
In an attempt to divide and conquer, Israel initially provided Hamas with financial support during the first Intifada (1987-1993) hoping that this might weaken Arafat, while Hamas simultaneously developed into a vicious militant group. By the second Intifada (2000-2004), Israel saw Hamas heading the violence with their infamous bombings including the Tel Aviv Delphinarium bombing of 5661/2001 and the bombing of Netanya’s Park Hotel in 5662/2002.
The signing of the Oslo accords in 5753/1993 deepened the schism between Arafat and Hamas, since to the latter forgoing even one inch of Palestine is anathema. Although most Palestinians were still more interested in Arafat’s path, only about fifteen percent of them supporting Hamas, Arafat signed Fatah’s death warrant by not curbing inefficiency and corruption, driving the people into the hands of Hamas, which seemed to be an efficient mob of public benefactors and its leaders idealistic and incorruptible.
In addition, many Palestinians were more attracted to Hamas’s heady brew of non-stop violence than to settling down to peace agreements. All this led to Hamas’s sweeping electoral victory in 5666/2006.
THE HUDNA SYSTEM
According to its founding charter, it is inconceivable for Hamas to ever make a lasting peace with Israel. The most it will agree to are temporary truces, or hudnas, which can last a maximum of ten years. Why specifically ten years? The concept of Hudna is an Islamic idea derived from the religion’s early history when Mohammed and hundreds of his cohorts were trekking towards Mecca to celebrate a festival in 4388/628. At the time, this city so central to Islam was in the hands of the Quraysh tribe, which refused to let them proceed. Unable to vanquish the hostile Quraysh tribesmen in battle, Mohammed struck with them the legendary Treaty of Hudaybiyya that stated:
“These are the conditions of peace between Muhammad, son of Abdullah and Suhail son of ‘Amr [envoy of Mecca]. There will be no fighting for ten years in which people will be sage and stop attacking one another. And amongst us what is vice should be prevented, and there shall be no theft or treachery…
This year, you [Muhammad] will go back without entering Mecca. But next year, we [the Quraysh] will evacuate Mecca so that you and your companions can enter and stay for three days, etc.”
The treaty did not last long. About a year later, Quraysh and another tribe attacked allies of the Muslims, the Banu Khuza’ah tribe, providing Muhammed with a convenient excuse to declare his treaty null and void and seize Mecca by force. Based on this long ago event, Muslim jurisprudence rules that temporary treaties (hudnas) may be made with the enemy so long as they do not last for longer than ten years, their chief purpose being to rearm and consolidate for the continuing struggle.
As one of their law books puts it, “If Muslims are weak, a truce may be made for ten years if necessary, for the prophet [Muhammad] made a truce with the Quraysh for that long, as is related by Abu Dawud”
This too is the pattern that Hamas perpetuates. Make a hudna when you are weak and find an excuse to breach it when you are stronger. Will there ever be lasting peace with Hamas? Based on its present belief-system, the answer is a resounding no. Until the snake of Hamas is unwound from the Palestinian population, the prospects of building a peaceful and civilized Gaza remain slim.