Let me review. It’s that group governing the Gaza Strip; providing it with a revolutionary Islamist, terrorist, would-be genocidal client of Iran; repressing women; kicking out Christians; and seeking to subvert most Arab states, expel Western influence from the region, indoctrinate children to be suicide bombers, and set off another war with Israel as soon as it is ready. Oh, yes, and it’s on the Mediterranean Sea.
Do you think that might be some cause for concern in the West?
Well, of course, Hamas remains largely isolated, though one hears increasing arguments that it is either:
1. Moving toward moderation.
2. Moderate compared to al-Qaeda.
3. Easily removable by building up the Gaza economy so a large middle class will be created and will presumably ignore the tight controls, guns pointed at its face, and indoctrination in order to ask the current regime to stand aside.
Of course, I’m making fun of the silly things said about this situation, yet the above analysis is quite accurate. And it gets worse.
Let’s cut away all the obfuscation and detail and understand something that is of the most vital importance: Western governments have secured the survival and stability of a revolutionary terrorist Islamist regime that is dedicated to destroying their interests.
Despite the Western support for sanctions, the United States and European countries:
— Prevented Israel from overthrowing that regime during the 2008-2009 war initiated by Hamas. By doing so, they also badly damaged any hope for Israel-Palestinian peace, since the Palestinian Authority (PA) is greatly intimidated by fear of being outflanked and subverted by Hamas. And the PA cannot make peace when it cannot deliver half the territory it claims to speak for.
— In the Gaza flotilla issue, the West allowed the success of an operation mounted by Hamas supporters using classical terrorist group tactics, albeit disguised as a humanitarian operation. By using jihad warriors willing to give up their lives, a confrontation was generated. The jihadists attacked Israeli soldiers, willingly suffering nine dead.
Yet in exchange for that loss of what might be called useful (dead) idiots — quite small in the eyes of Hamas and its allies — what a political-strategic bounty was generated! Antagonism toward Israel mounted, and sympathy (nominally for average Palestinians in Gaza, but in practice for the Hamas regime) was built.
Rather than see any suffering in Gaza as being caused by Hamas policies — if there were no attacks on Israel and military build-up, there would be no restrictions — Western media often presented it as due to Israeli meanness. Evidence to the contrary about good conditions prevailing in Gaza (as elsewhere in the world) for those who have money was underplayed.
Remarkable was the fact that Western governments basically forgot their own strategy. Formerly, they had advocated the idea of making economic conditions as good as possible on the PA-ruled West Bank and as bad as possible in the Gaza Strip. The goal was to say to Gazans: Look, if you choose to be relatively moderate and negotiate like the PA, you too can be well off. Simultaneously, the intent was to say to those on the West Bank: See! By being moderate, you reap rewards.
Though suddenly the effort was reversed, arguing that if people were better off in Gaza (despite being under a Hamas regime) they would become more moderate. Amazing especially is the fact that I have not seen anyone discuss that this switch was being made, much less about whether it was a good idea or not.
How has Hamas reacted to all of this?
Hamas did not achieve all of its objectives, as the sanctions were only reduced due to U.S. and international pressure, rather than being abandoned entirely. It is now working on phase two, with more schemes to get sympathy, portray false moderation, and perhaps send more ships.
As always, if you want to see what revolutionary Islamists are doing, you need merely read what they are saying to each other. Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal recently made two speeches, both in significant venues. One was to the graduation ceremony of a military training camp in Damascus organized by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC).
Meshaal lives in Damascus. The PFLP-GC has always been a Syrian front group. This event thus showed two things: Hamas is a part of the Syrian-backed terrorist revolutionary network, and it is cooperating with non-Islamist radicals, including sections of Fatah, the main party of the PA.
He explained that negotiations with Israel were forbidden, though there might be tactical talks for temporary truces. But Hamas’s goal is Israel’s destruction, and that will never change.
In an interview with the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood publication — another sign of Hamas’s international alliances with radical groups that many in the West deem to be moderate — Meshaal explained that Hamas did want to open up relations with the West, as long as it didn’t have to recognize or stop attacking Israel.
Meshaal acknowledged that to get its way entirely would take a while, but expressed confidence that the West would give in if Hamas remained intransigent long enough. Who can blame him for believing that?