One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. This book – Hamas: A Beginners Guide – is enlightening and timely. We have seen the vilification of groups representing oppressed people so many times in history that we really should be more discerning when confronted with this. Indeed, years after the conflict is over, Nelson Mandela was hailed as a hero by the very same establishment and corporate media that were happy to see him castigated as a terrorist during his resistance against apartheid. Likewise, Hamas is not the organisation it is portrayed to be. The media runs with claims that Hamas routinely uses civilians as human shields, even though there is little or no evidence to support this. There is also no challenge to the claim that Hamas is purely an extremist organisation, but the Hamas leadership has shown arguably more interest in pursuing a lasting peace with Israel on the basis of a two-state solution – which includes an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza – than Israel has. Take the example of ‘Hamas hardman’ Ahmad Jabari, who has assassinated in 2012 by the Israelis soon after receiving the draft of a comprehensive peace agreement he was intimately involved in negotiating. If Israel was really interested in peace, why would they murder the very person who could have delivered it?
Originally posted on Tim Holmes:
Alright, not everything. And no, not you, smart-arse. Still, it’s been alarming to be reminded over the past month just how delusory much western public conversation on Hamas is. A common perception is that Hamas are in essence recalcitrant fundamentalist extremists, hell-bent on destroying Israel by any means possible. Virulently anti-semitic, misogynist and genocidal, they use whatever weapons they acquire to murder Israeli civilians and perhaps even attack Western targets internationally, without compunction or restraint. There is little awareness in this discourse that Hamas differ in any significant way from the Jihadists of ISIS or Al-Qaeda.
Probably the most valuable basic text in dispelling these delusions is Khaled Hroub’s Hamas: A Beginner’s Guide, which takes on most of the major confusions and misconceptions surrounding the group’s seldom-explained ideology and modus operandi. Hroub is a senior research fellow at the University of Cambridge’s Centre of Islamic Studies…
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