So… let’s establish some very important background to what’s currently going on in Israel and with the Palestinians.
We really, really need a history lesson: one that shows where the downfall of the Palestinian movement occurred, where any hope of peace died, and where Hamas came from.
First, I’ll just state the main claim right from the outset: that Israel created Hamas. Hamas is forwarding Israel’s agenda, not the interests of the Palestinian people. So, really, the only victims of Israel and Hamas’s tit-for-tat warfare and bombing are the civilians: mostly Palestinian civilians, because they’re double victims – in Gaza, for example, they’re victims of both the Israeli bombs and of the fact that they are having to live under Hamas.
Is Hamas a legitimate political entity? It could be argued either way: but the general consensus outside of Gaza is to view Hamas as a terror or extremist group first and foremost.
But the paradigm has been so manipulated now that Hamas is all that ever gets talked about in regard to the Palestinians: even though, strictly speaking, the Palestinian National Authority presently under Mahmoud Abass (regardless of how effective you think Abass is or isn’t as a leader) is supposed to be the recognised ‘leadership’ of the Palestinian people and is *supposed* to be responsible not just for the West Bank (including illegally occupied East Jerusalem and the Temple Mount), but also for the Gaza Strip.
Yet the international media – and Israel – only ever talks about Hamas: imparting the terrorist organisation an extraordinary legitimacy, as though Hamas represents the entire Palestinian people and its interests. Which is highly debatable.
But that’s what the Israeli Zionist right-wing wants us to think: and that’s what most of the international media adopts in its coverage of the situation and the dynamics. As I said in the previous article, the dynamics have now been reduced to one in which Hamas *is* the Palestinians and the extreme right-wing *is* Israel – and everyone else, on both the Palestinian and Jewish sides, is excluded from the conversation or the equation.
But history will illustrate that this paradigm didn’t come about by accident: but was very much the sought-after state of affairs.
Now, by the end of this, the likelihood that Hamas is in fact Israel’s creation will be explained clearly. But let’s put Hamas aside for a moment and let’s establish some brief background on the related matter of the decline of the Palestinian movement, and, crucially, how the history of Palestinian terrorism is in fact much more murky than people often realise.
Even prior to the emergence of Hamas, for example, the case has been forwarded for a long time that groups like ‘Black September’ – who carried out particularly nasty Palestinian terror attacks in the 1970s – were in fact working against Palestinian interests and serving an Israeli agenda: Patrick Seale argued this point about the notorious Abu Nidal, for example, in his book Gun For Hire, in which he suggested the horrific terrorist had been working for Mossad even while apparently carrying out brutal Palestinian terrorist acts abroad. This whole subject of Abu Nidal in particular (which I touched on in this article about the Lockerbie Conspiracy) really deserves a whole article to itself: so let’s not digress too much into Nidal’s story here. I will come back to Nidal in a different article.
But there is certainly an argument that the Black September group and other Palestinian splinter groups were serving to begin the splintering of the Palestinian national movement (in Israel’s interests). There is also an argument that those splinter groups served the purpose of undermining the Palestinian cause internationally and providing Israel with justifications: when the PLO renounced terrorism in the mid-70s and became purely a political movement, the Palestinian movement’s enemies needed ways to prevent the PLO from becoming ‘respectable’ abroad and garnering support and sympathy.
If you grew up in the 80s, for example, you might recall that the Palestinian national movement under Yasser Arafat had gained a great deal of perceived legitimacy: and it certainly had sympathisers and supporters around the world, even if the United States remained firmly pro-Israel.
The last thing the hardline Zionists needed was a Palestinian leadership that was seen to be open to peace, compromise and negotiation. The secular Arafat’s outlook was not good for the extremist elements in Israel, even if the peace-seekers and moderates in Israel were more happy to move towards the path of peace and negotiation.
To put it in simple terms, the Zionist extremists needed Palestinian extremists – extremism thrives on extremism. As soon as Arafat became ‘respectable’, even an icon of a national struggle, Israel’s extreme right-wing had a problem. And once Arafat had been awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, surely enough was enough.
And, as the saga of Abu Nidal shows, even before the emergence of ‘Hamas’, Israel desperately needed brutal Palestinian terrorists to act as its enemy: so that the world could see what kind of savagery Israel was up against. Arafat and the PLO were not providing that.
There are numerous examples of supposed Palestinian atrocities that turned out to be Israeli-orchestrated false-flags. For example, former IDF arms dealer Ari Ben-Menashe published a book in 1992 called Profits of War: Inside the Secret US-Israeli Arms Network, in which he claimed a number of supposed Palestinian terror attacks abroad were in fact organised by Mossad, whose ‘black operations’ and espionage activity were designed to paint Palestinians as villains and to turn the international community against them.
It is worth remembering that Arafat, even prior to his renouncing of terrorism, was regarded to have been opposed to international terrorism (as in terror operations outside of Israel) – seeing no benefit in it for the Palestinian cause. Which makes it questionable whether any Palestinian-linked terror act abroad had any real link to the PLO.
Ben-Menashe cites the example of the case of the ‘Palestinian’ attack on cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985. According to his account, Israeli spies orchestrated the attack (posing as Sicilian mafia) via bribing a Palestinian operative (with millions of dollars) to gather a team and carry out the attack on the cruise ship. The patsies were apparently instructed to make the act as horrible as possible, in order to maximise the perception of Palestinian brutality. That’s one example among many – which I will explore in more detail when I publish the piece on the extraordinary figure of Abu Nidal.
But the point is that this was the kind of false-flag sleight-of-hand dynamic that Arafat and the PLO was up against: every Palestinian terror attack – including all the ones that Arafat and the PLO had nothing to do with (which, according to various researchers, includes the Munich Olympics massacre) – undermined the Palestinian national movement and its image abroad and worked in Israel’s favor.
As Gary Kamiya, writing in Salon in 2004, wrote: ‘By the end of the 1970s, despite the vehement opposition of Israel, the PLO was increasingly recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. During this period, Israeli representatives continued to insist that the PLO was a terrorist group pure and simple, dedicated to the destruction of Israel… But it was clearly inching toward explicit recognition of Israel’s right to exist… The larger Arab world, too, was moving in that direction. In 1981, Saudi Arabia floated the Fahd Plan, which proposed peace in exchange for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza. Israel rejected the Saud plan as propaganda…‘
Note that where Israel once faced an ‘enemy’ that was recognising Israel’s right to exist, it today faces an enemy that says it wants only its complete annihilation: but again Hamas, as will be shown, is what the Zionist movement always wanted.
It seems obvious there was always a powerful element in Israel that didn’t want any negotiated settlement involving, for example, withdrawal from the West Bank – which would be why Arafat was never accepted by the Israelis as a legitimate leader.
Presumably the same powerful forces were behind the 1994 assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Rabin’s assassination was carried out by a Zionist extremist who was bitterly opposed to Rabin’s attempts to reach a peaceful accord with Arafat and the Palestinians. Without diverting here into an exploration of the conspiracy theories around Rabin’s assassination, the likelihood is that the assassination wasn’t the work of just some lone Zionist fanatic but something more organised.
Arafat himself was assassinated a decade or so later. Israel still doesn’t admit assassinating Arafat, but it is by now a widely-accepted fact that Arafat’s cancer was caused by polonium poisoning: and while it is likely that someone close to Arafat’s inner circle was responsible for the poisoning, it is also likely that Israeli operatives were involved (and Israel’s then-leader, Ariel Sharon, had openly said he was going to kill Arafat).
Bear in mind too – for those who don’t remember – Arafat spent the months before his death under total military siege from Israeli forces. On 24th September 2002, the UN Security Council demanded an end to the siege, but Israel ignored the Resolution. Arafat spent the last period of his life confined to a handful of rooms, as the structures of the Palestinian National Authority were being bulldozed or bombed all around him. It was clear that Israel wasn’t just trying to destroy the movement, but to kill Arafat. The BBC reported the Israeli government’s statements at the time, in which Arafat’s fate was referred to: ‘Israel will act to remove this obstacle in the manner, at the time, and in the ways that will be decided on separately…’
And it was always clear what the goal was. One of the architects of the Oslo Accords said at the time that “the Israeli army’s siege of Yasser Arafat amid the ruins of his bulldozed presidential compound could mean “the death” of hopes for a Palestinian state and a peace agreement…”
It is possible to conclude that the assassinations of both Rabin and Arafat marked the end of any hope of peace or a settlement for at least a generation. Arafat’s eventual assassination marked the seemingly terminal decline of Palestinian hopes for progress of any kind: and the Palestinian movement since then has failed to find another figurehead or icon of Arafat’s stature.
And this is by design – because Hamas, by its very nature, is incapable of being a legitimate political force or of being internationally recognised. Yet, paradoxically, as I said at the beginning, Hamas is all the international media ever talks about when discussing the Palestinians: the actual Palestinian National Authority is hardly ever mentioned. It’s as if they’ve been sidelined from the equation, so that the perceived Israel/Palestine conflict dynamic can be made much simpler.
In fact, the downfall of Arafat and the PLO – it’s loss of control over the Palestinian movement – was already happening long before Arafat’s assassination.
The movement had deteriorated into splintering and corruption and was infected and undermined by the disease of Islamist extremism – which also served to undermine the credibility or standing of what used to be, in the Arafat era, a secular movement of Muslims, Christians and others and not tied to Islamism at all.
To be clear, because this is absolutely crucial to understand: the Palestinian movement – historically – had *never* been Islamist. It had never even been tied to religion at all – it was a secular political movement of Muslims, Christians and atheists, whose aim was the recognition of official statehood. In that regard, they were aligned ideologically with the secular nationalism that characterised neighbouring states like Nasser’s Egypt, Gaddafi’s Libya and Baathist Iraq at that time (all of which have since been destroyed and replaced with Islamist extremism by the Israeli-inspired ‘War on Terror’ and US-led foreign policy in the region).
But, again, one has to wonder if that was the point: Israel wanted and needed bloodthirsty, Jew-hating Islamists as its ‘enemy’ – not a secular, socialist political movement capable of garnering international support and recognition.
So, with all of that as historic context, let’s look at where Hamas comes into the story.
Hamas, like a lot of Islamist groups, traces its roots back to the Muslim Brotherhood.
As a side-note, most of the groups involved in the US-led ‘War on Terror’ were groups ideologically descended from the Muslim Brotherhood: and note, as I did in this older article on 9/11, that the ‘War on Terror’ itself was a term and a doctrine developed in book form by Benjamin Netanyahu himself (and that, in fact, Netanyahu was in the US on the morning of the 9/11 attacks, literally pushing this very idea to US politicians – at precisely the same time as the Israeli spy-ring was being rounded up by the FBI in New Jersey).
Also note, as laid out in that same article, that Jared Kushner and Donald Trump – patrons of the so-called Middle East Peace Plan or ‘deal of the century’ – are also firmly connected not just to Netanyahu himself, but to most of the Israel-linked New York elite figures involved in the World Trade Center and 9/11. Kushner was a house-mate of Netanyahu’s in the past and is also a personal funder of illegal Israeli settlements and demolition of Palestinian homes.
That is reiterated here because the ‘War on Terror’ – though principally conducted by the United States – was in fact a programme developed by Israel and authored by Netanyahu: and most of the terror organisations that this War on Terror was supposedly going after (as it set the Arab world in flames in the process) were ideologically descended from the aforementioned Muslim Brotherhood that had spawned Hamas.
So let’s get back to Hamas.
During the 80s and 90s, there was virtually a civil war within the Palestinian movement: clashes between the secular Palestinians (led by Arafat and the PLO) and the growing Islamist element that was being underhandedly supported by Israel. Arafat even called Hamas a “creature of Israel”: and with good justification.
It is crystal clear that Israel had chosen a side in this internal struggle for control of the Palestinian movement and identity: it wanted the Islamists in control of the fate of the Palestinians.
Even a Times of Israel blog from a few years ago notes that Israel saw the extreme Islamists as an ally in their fight against the secular, socialist Arab governments and states, writing that the ‘precursor to Hamas was from the Muslim Brotherhood… Egypt and secular socialist Arab governments were at war at the time against Islamic extremism, so the Israelis saw them as a natural ally against their common enemy…’
It also notes that the founder of Hamas, Shiekh Yassin, ‘was on such good terms with the Israeli state that he would receive treatment in Israeli hospitals.’
That Israel empowered Hamas – as the way to destroy the Palestinian national movement and create a permanent enemy more suited to its needs – is barely something that can be argued against anymore.
Let’s take the testimony of an Israeli official like Brig. Gen. Yitzhak Segeve, who was Israeli military governor in Gaza in the early 80s. He told the New York Times that he had helped finance the Islamists in Palestine ‘as a “counterweight” to the secularists and leftists of the PLO…’
That pretty much spells it out.
Avner Cohen, a former Israeli official who worked in Gaza for two decades, told the Wall Street Journal in 2009, “Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation”.
That was the plan. Bring down the Palestinian national movement, remove Arafat as the icon of the Palestinian national struggle, replace them with Jew-hating Islamist terrorists… and destroy any path to Palestinian statehood, reduce international sympathy for the Palestinians, and create a permanent enemy and state of war that would provide the Israeli state all the justification it needs to pursue a hostile policy in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem.
Note too, as I have argued before, that this timeline also coincided with the ‘War on Terror’s toppling or weakening of every regional state or government that had any interest in supporting the Palestinian national movement (the weakening of Lebanon, the toppling of the Baathists in Iraq, the covert war on Syria, the overthrowing of the Libyan state, etc): and now, at the present moment, the subsequent neutralising of all other Arab states via diplomatic or financial means (via Jared Kushner’s peace plan).
All except for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, as I pointed out in the previous article: which is why King Abdullah II is now being targeted by Israel. Unlike the Islamist Hamas (which serves Israel’s needs), Abdullah II and the Jordanians are invested in the rights and protection of the Christians, Muslims and secularists in Palestine – the real Palestinian identity, as it used to be before the movement was hijacked and redirected.
With hindsight, it can now easily be seen that the Arafat era was the Palestinian movement’s golden age: the only point in time in which the possibility of Palestinian statehood was ever on the table.
Since then, Hamas has pretty much taken over Gaza and the increasingly Islamified Palestinian movement (witness the reported exodus of Palestinian Christians, who were entirely part of the Arafat-era movement but are now scared of Hamas).
This is the sleight of hand. And this is the true dynamic that should be borne in mind every time you hear about rockets being fired by Hamas into Israel: and Israel bombing Gaza in retaliation, etc. It’s essentially Israel attacking itself via its own manufactured dog-on-a-leash… and then using that to justify the disproportionate retaliation.
None of this is to say that the Palestinian National Authority or Mahmoud Abass are particularly effective leaders of the Palestinian people either: they seem to have done very little in over a decade, and the accusations of corruption and mismanagement probably have merit. The Israeli media also points to Abass’s cancellation of the Palestinian elections that were supposed to happen in recent weeks as indicative that he is a dictator: and also that this cancellation of elections may have been a cause for the unrest that has rocked Israel and the Palestinian territories over the last fortnight.
Firstly, the cancelled election clearly wasn’t the cause of the unrest – it was the forced evictions in Sheik Jarrah and the violation of the Al-Aqsa mosque.
Also, secondly, while the cancellation of the election (which would’ve been the first opportunity Palestinians have had to vote in over fifteen years) doesn’t look good on the part of the Palestinian Authority, there is a valid argument that one of the reasons they’re reluctant to hold elections is that they fear Hamas gaining even more ground: which is a logical fear – if, for example, Israel’s recent actions in regard to Sheik Jarrah and the Al-Aqsa complex had coincided with Palestinian elections, it’s entirely possible that very angry Palestinian voters would’ve reflexively turned to Hamas.
And just imagine if Hamas at some point gained complete control politically of the West Bank and East Jerusalem: do you think Israel would tolerate that? Would it not in fact give Israel all the remaining pretext it needs to seize total control of its Occupied Territories and suspend all Palestinian political representation?
Which just demonstrates how tricky the dynamics are for the Palestinians. Also, is it even possible to hold fair and well-managed elections while under a military occupation?
Which, again, is not to make excuses for Abbas (who seems to not want to ever give up ‘power’), who has clearly been a lame-duck leader holding on to an increasingly meaningless position: but what paths, politically speaking, are even available to the Palestinian leadership?
Armed resistance is out of the question – because Israel would crush the West Bank (and also because Hamas seems to have that covered anyway). Appeals to the international community are pointless, as the UN has no ability or will to enforce international law in the Occupied Territories: and because no US President other than Barak Obama dared to call out Israeli violations of both the Geneva Conventions and UN Resolutions. Even the peaceful approach represented by the BDS movement is now fruitless, as the US, the UK and others are essentially making BDS illegal.
And Israel has made it clear that the two-state solution is dead: it was already essentially dead even long before Israel’s puppet-leader Donald Trump chose to recognise illegally occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s ‘eternal capital’ – an act that the Joe Biden administration won’t dare to step back from. What does that mean? It means that there is no peace process – and therefore nothing to negotiate anymore.
So the Palestinian Authority quite *literally* has nothing to do: nowhere to turn and nothing to move towards.
It’s little wonder they’ve spent the last dozen years looking useless: post-Arafat, there have been no possibilities or directions, and Hamas has become the face of the Palestinian movement. But, again: this was the sought-after state of affairs. And pretty much everything we’re witnessing now – and have been witnessing for almost twenty years – is all part of that sought-after state of affairs.