Hamas, from islamic revival-movement to Palestinian government
''"Power in defense of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppression."
Quote Malcolm X
At the Palestinian elections dd 25-1-2006, Hamas has obtained a startling victory.
From the 132 seats of parliament, Hamas, which for the first time was participating in the parliamentary elections, obtained 74 seats, in contrary with the then reigning Fatah-party, which obtained merely 43 seats.
The further 13 seats were obtained by different smaller political parties, as well as independent candidates.
This great victory for Hamas was no surprise, considering the continuing corruption of the Fatah-government, the fundamental Hamas political and military resistance against the Israeli occupation and the Hamas social activities on behalf of the impoverished population of especially Gaza
In spite of this, leading American-European politicians, as well as the newsmedia, didn't only show great astonishment, they also demanded, that Hamas, as the price for financial support, would renounce the violence against Israel and also acknowledge the State of Israel.
When the newly-formed Hamas-government refused to agree with those American-European demands, the American and Canadian goverments, as well the EU decided to freeze the financial support to the Palestinian Authority, a measure, which went at the cost of the already seriously impoverished Palestinian civilian population, since at least 45 % of the population [there are also reports about a higher poverty-rate varying untill 70 %] is living below the poverty-rate and 15% is even living in extreme poverty.
Especially the educational and medical conditions are seriously detoriated since this boycott.
Moreover, 942.000 Palestinians or 25% of the total Palestinian population is living from salaries, which are being paid by the Palestinian Authority
However, due to those American-European measures, those payings can't be done anymore, with all humanitarian consequences for the families involved.
Not only those boycot-measures are morally highly reprehensible in regard with the humanitarian consequences for the Palestinian civilian-population, they also can lead to amounting tensions within the Palestinian society.
In regard with those measures, many international NGO's, as well as a number of UN-organisations, have uttered sharp critics on those American-European boycott-measures
Another consequence of the boycot-measure can be, that the Hamas-government, as a result of the freezing of EU financial support, shall receive increased financial aid from the governments of the Arab or other islamic countries, with as a consequence the lessening of EU political influence regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Recently a number of Arab governments, and Iran, has either given, or promised, financial aid to the Hamas-government.
Probably aware of the above-mentioned political consequences of her possible diminishing influence regarding the Middle-East, the EU, as been represented by EU Commissioner Louis Michel, former Belgian minister of foreign affairs has set aside a sum of 34 million euro in the form of emergency-aid to the Palestinian territories, which are going to be delivered outside the official Hamas-channels
Also the World Bank, which is fearing a furthergoing humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territories, is exploring, in direct cooperation with the Quartet [the EU, USA, the Russian Federation and the UN], to resume the financial aid to the Palestinian population, outside Hamas-channels, and probably by way of the NGO's, which are active in the area.
The main motives of the American-European boycot of the financial aid to the Palestinian Authority lies in the refusal of Hamas, to renounce the violence against Israel and to acknowlegde the State of Israel.
A further argument regarding the boycot is the fact, that Hamas has had a main part in the incitement to suicide attacks against Israeli civilians and is still continuing this strategy.
Although it is evident, that suicide-attacks as military attacks on civilians and civilian objects are not only inhuman, but also illegal according International Law, it is seldom mentioned by the EU and the American-European government, that these attacks are a matter of cause and effects, since they are the result of the now 39th years Israeli occupation, despite of the in 1967 unanimously accepted UN-Security Resolution 242, by which Israel was summoned, to withdraw its troops from the in the june-war conquered territories, among else the Palestinian territories.
Also the boycotting countries are ignoring the fact, that the attacks of Hamas are not only consisting of suicide-attacks, but also of the internationally legitimated military attacks on the Israeli occupation-army.
Repeatedly Hamas has declared, as well before as after her election-victory, her willingness to renounce violence against Israel, when Israel is prepared to end its occupation of the Palestinian territories [its international obligation under UN Security Council Resolution nr 242], to dismantle its settlements in the Palestinian territories, which are illegal according International Law [see also 2 UN-Security Council Resolutions dd 1979], to dismantle the Wall, which is being built accross occupied Palestinian territories [see verdict ICJ dd 9-7-2004], and is acknowledging the Palestinian right of return, which is confirmed by the General Assembly Resolution 194, dd 1948
All these Hamas-demands are being based on International Law, which has been confirmed by the above-named resolutions and therefore abslutely legitimate.
Striking however is, that the American-European boycotting goverments are demanding Hamas-disarmament on the one hand, while at the other hand, no clear demands are being made to Israel, regarding the implementation of the above mentioned UN-resolutions, which were voted for by the same American-European States.
Also this double standard-policy is being applied in regard with Israeli and Palestinian violence
Although the condemnation of suicide-attacks against Israeli civilians is correct and justified, there is however a strong undervaluation of the serious character of the Israeli human rights violatons and war-crimes, which has been committed by especially the Israeli army from the beginning of the occupation in 1967.
It is also significant to mention, that from EU-side there is no real political pressure on Israel to end the occupation and withdraw from the Palestinian territories.
Seeing from that perspective, the American-European criticism on Hamas is lacking moral credibility and is testifying very selective indignation
A The ideology of Hamas and the American-European political conception in regarding with the ''destruction'' of the State of Israel
It is a common standard, that in nearly all American-European newsmedia, as well in statements of politicians, the Hamas-ideology is being associated with the ''destruction'' of the State of Israel
In the context in which this assumption is being made, implicitly is being suggested, that Hamas would have the intention to expell the Jewish-Israeli inhabitants out of the present Israel or even would want to kill them.
Before trying to unmask this stubborn American-European assumption I want to throw some light on the political history of the Hamas
History of the Hamas:
The Hamas [abbreviation of Harakat al-muqâwama al-islâmiyya, which means islamic resistancemovement] had been founded in 1987 as a religious-nationalistic resistance-organisation with Sheikh Yassin as the spiritual leader.
He was to be killed in an Israeli airstrike in march 2004, which, being an extra-judicial execution, not only killed him but also 7 other Palestinian civilians.
However, since the beginning of the eighties, there was a predecessor of Hamas, also under the leadership of Sheikh Yassin, which was mainly an islamic revivalmovement, which was mostly directed on social and charitable goals.
Although of course opposed against the occupation, she didn't stimulate the resistance, since she considered the Israeli occupation as a punishment of God because of Palestinian lack of religious devotion.
In other words, this revival-movement was meant to make the Palestinian population return to the basics of Islam, as explained by the movement, in their daily life.
The direct consequence of this revival-ideology was supported financially by Israel, as a counterbalance against the PLO, led by Yasser Arafat, which was as a part of the al-Fatah-organisation, at that moment the most powerful resistance-organisation against the Israeli occupation.
Even when the official Hamas-organisation had been founded in 1987, initially there was no real resistance against the occupation, despite the anti-zionistic Charter dd 1988
Only in the current years the Hamas-organisation became part of the resistance, resulting in military attacks against the Israeli occupation army and from 1994 in suicide-attacks against Israeli civilians.
The immediate cause was the massacre by the Jewish-Israeli extreme-rightwing Dr Baruch Goldstein on 29 Palestinians, who were praying Palestinians in the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.
Analysis of the Hamas-Charter, that is consisting of 36 articles, reveals, that the basis is being formed upon as well the religious resistance against the Israeli occupation, as well the assumption of the dismantlement of the zionistic State of Israel, to be replaced by an islamic Palestinian State with equal rights for all the inhabitants and relogious freedom regarding Jews and christians.
Seeing from this perspective, the Charter has an anti-colonialistic conception because of the fundamental criticism on the colonialistic character of the foundation of the State of Israel in historical Palestine, first being a colony of the Turkish-Ottoman Empire and after World War I , a British Mandate-area.
According to the wish of the European zionistic movement, the foundation of a ''Jewish'' State in historical Palestine took place, based on General Assembly Resolution nr 181 dd 1947, which contained the division of Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab part, without any consultation of the autochtone Palestinian population.
It is of importance to mention here, that the objections of the Palestinians were not against the settlement of Jewish people in Palestine, but against the division of their country in two different States.
Yet apart from that, Hamas is justly protesting against the present zionistic State, which is for an important part based on discriminatory laws and measures, which are at the cost of the socalled ''Israeli Arabs'', especially regarding educational and medical provisions.
One of the most striking example of those discrimimatory laws of State is the fact, that any Jewish man or woman in the world has the right to settle in Israel, while the right on return of the Palestinian descendants of the 750.000 by zionistic militias explelled refugees, as been confirmed in General Assembly Resolution 194 dd 1948, is not being acknowledged by Israel
Notwithstanding anyone's opinion about this anti-zionistic point of view and the Hamas-assumption about the undesirable foundation of an Islamic State, it is evident, that the expulsion or even killing of Israeli-Jewish inhabitants of Israel, which is often suggested by the American-European politicians and newsmedia, is out of order.
Although in the Charter is being referred to ''the Jews'', thourough reading makes clear, that it is a reference to the Israeli zionistic system and the Israeli occupation and not to the Jews as an etnic-religious group.
Also in Hamas-bulletins is not referred to ''the Jews'', but to the ''zionistic enemy'' or the ''zionistic entity''
Mentioning Hamas, mostly the emphasis is being laid on the suicide-attacks against Israeli civilians, for which she bears responsibility.
It is evident, that those actions are not only inhuman, also they are serious violations of the International Humanitarian Law, that states, that in each military conflict a clear distinction is to be made between combatants [soldiers or fighters] and non-combatants [civilians]
From that point of view it is completely right, that those attacks are being condemned severly by the International Community.
Although it is important to realize, that the cause of those suicide-attacks are rooted in the Israeli occupation since 1967, with as a consequence oppression, humiliations and mostly unpunished warcrimes, it is no justification whatsoever for any resistance group for also committing warcrimes.
According to International Law it is illegal, to respond one violation of human rights by committing a reciprocal violation, even in regard with an occupation
At the other hand, any military action against an occupation-army is internationally legitimated as a right of an occupied population to resist against the occupying power.
However, there is too little international press-attention for the fact, that an important part of Hamas-strategy is also the use of this legitimated resistance-method.
It is however striking, that as Israel as well as the USA , qualify those military attacks against the occupation-army, as ''terroristic'', ignoring the internationally legitimated character.
Recently yet mr Solana, Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union, has confirmed the right on resistance against a foreign occupation.
C The Israeli liquidation-policy:
Also internationally reprehensible are the Israeli liquidations of the leaders and activists of the Palestinian resistance-movements, like Hamas.
Those liquidations started in the beginning of the seventies of the former century and were being practized by successive Israeli governments
They took the form of frontal shootings of cars, the exploding of mobile telephones and nowadays mostly, the airstrikes, whether on civiliangoals like refugee-camps, flat-appartments, houses, or marketplaces.
As commonly known, those attacks are severe violations of International Law, which states, that every human being has a right on a fair and independant trial.
Morover, because of those still daily-committed liquidations, in many cases also civilians, who just pass by, as well co-habitants of houses, appartments and refugee-camps are being killed.
In those cases war-crimes are being committed, since the presence of civilians at civilian goals [streets, market-places, cars, appartments and refugee-camps] is highly expectable
However, despite the high humanitarian risk for the civilian-population, recently the Israeli prime-minister Olmert has made clear, that those airstrikes are to be continued, despite of the loss of Palestinian civilian lives
It is a striking example of Western selective indignation, that although the Hamas-led suicide attacks are leading to the freezing of the financial help to the Palestinian Authority, in regard with thosde extrajudicial executions, as well the indiscriminate military attacks on Gaza, no sanction-measures are being taken against Israel.
Regarding the fact, that Israel, being the occupying country, bears the lion's share in the escalation of the present conflict, especially the EU, which claims to defend the Palestinian humanitarian interests, is held accountable for this hypocritical point of view.
D Social-chartitable Hamas-activities
A hitherto undervalued aspect regarding the activities of Hamas are the social-charitable activities of Hamas on behalf of especially the serious impoverished population in Gaza.
Ironically by doing this, Hamas is fullfilling the international-judicial obligation of the Israeli occupation-power to take care for the occupied Palestinian popupation.
According one of the most important articles of the 4th Geneva Convention, an occupying power is head-resoponsible for the safety, the welbeing and the welfare of the occupied population, the socalled ''protected persons''
International reports about the humanitarian situation in Gaza have learnt, that the Israeli occupation-authorities have failed to fullfill this obligation regarding the occupied Palestinian population.
The impoverished situation of the Palestinian population is still being intensified by the Israeli military attacks in Gaza and the West-Bank, which have resulted mostly in serious human rights violations and war-crimes.
So especially in Gaza [but also in the West-Bank] mass-housedemolitions took place, which is forbidden according article 53, 4th Geneva Convention.
Also especially in Gaza several times the border with Israel had been closed.
Due to this measure the Palestinians, who work in Israel, are thus loosing their daily neccessities of life.
Recently Israel has, as a retaliatory measure for the abduction or imprisonmemt [the newssources are giving different messages regarding to that], not only closed the border with Gaza, but also bombed parts of the infrastructure [bridges and main roads], which caused considerable damage and has cut of the water anf electricity-supplies of the population.
A thus token retaliatory measure is as a collective punishment a serious breach of International Law [article 33, 4th Geneva Convention is forbidding any collective punishment.
When such Israeli measures were taken in the past, Hamas has supplied the most impoverished part of the population.
Mostly the financial donors of Hamas were donors, stemming from the Arab world.
However, in contary with the Palestinian Authority, Hamas wasn't corrupt at all.
Of course, this led to a great popularity of Hamas and the striking outcome of the elections.
In this article I've tried to make clear, that not only the American-European freezing of the financial help to the Palestinian Authority is immoral, because it is at the cost of the impoverished Palestinian population, also it is a double standard to condemn the Hamas-violence and to consider the Israeli violence, due to the Israeli occupation, as a minor issue.
No resistance-organisation whatsoever can be expected to lay down the arms, while the occupation and oppression is being continued with the most extreme measures.
However it is evident, that also a resistance-movement must be based on the obligations according to International Law.
However, without closing the eyes for the very reprehensible suicide-attacks against Israeli civilians, in which Hamas plays an important part, the Hamas fundamental stand against the Israeli occupation and settlements-policy has to be respected, as well her fundamental resistance against the zionistic State-model of Israel.
Therefore I sincerely hope, that Hamas will not yield to the growing American-European political pressure to make the Israeli occupation and settlementspolicy points of negotiation.
However, when Hamas really wants to be respected by friend or foe, she has to refrain from the attacks on Israeli civilians or civilian-goals.
Every human being, whether Palestinian or Israeli, has the right on the same humane treatment and to my opinion, being occupated is no justification to violate those inalienable rights.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights: http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/lang/eng.htm
The 3th Geneva Convention, relative to the treatment of prisoners of war: http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/7c4d08d9b287a42141256739003e636b/6fef854a3517b75ac125641e004a9e68
The 4th Geneva Convention, relative to the protections of civilian persons in time of war: http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/7c4d08d9b287a42141256739003e636b/6756482d86146898c125641e004aa3c5 http://www.palestinecenter.org/cpap/documents/charter.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamas http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article4837.shtml http://www.reliefweb.int/library/documents/2006/ocha-opt-11apr.pdf
Israeli human rights violations: http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/06/29/isrlpa13662.htm http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/06/20/israb13595.htm http://hrw.org/reports/2005/iopt0605/ http://hrw.org/english/docs/2005/12/22/isrlpa12345.htm
Hamas human rights violations: http://hrw.org/english/docs/2005/06/09/isrlpa11106.htm http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/01/30/isrlpa12549.htm http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/01/29/isrlpa12543.htm
Israeli discriminatory measures against Palestinian-Arab children in the Israeli education-system: http://hrw.org/reports/2001/israel2/JILPfinal.pdf
Israeli discriminatory laws: http://hrw.org/english/docs/2005/05/23/isrlpa11000.htm http://hrw.org/english/docs/2005/05/23/isrlpa11003.htm