The Future of Hamas after the Coup in Egypt

Mahmoud al-Zahar
14 Nov 2014

No one but Allah the Almighty has absolute knowledge of the future, and humans are only instructed by Allah to study and learn from the experiences of other nations who lived before them. Allah says: “Similar situations [as yours] have passed on before you, so proceed throughout the earth and observe how was the end of those who denied.” (3:137). Therefore some of the facts about Hamas movement would help determine its future after the recent events in Egypt. The general outlines of the future of the movements could be demarcated by going through the following facts: The roots of the Muslim Brotherhood movements in Palestine goes back to 1927 while Palestine was under the British Mandatory rule. Since that date, the idea that began in Palestine grew and developed into a significant reality, and millions of Palestinians, inside and outside their country, came to believe in this idea. Since 1948 and until 1967, the MB witnessed two different environments; the Gaza strip under the Egyptian control, especially during the rule of Abdul Naser, who prosecuted the members of the movement throughout the country, and the repercussions of his brutal crackdown affected the movement in Gaza. On the other hand, Jordan controlled the West Bank and Jerusalem, while other Palestinians lived inside the 1948 areas. Nevertheless, the ideals of the MB were still popular, despite the major conundrum it found itself in. Since 1967 and until 2005, Hamas lost many of its founding leaders, and was forced to South Lebanon in 1993. It also received several blows and threats and more than 2500 of its leaders and members were arrested, but that never crippled it, and it always proved resilient. After 1967, the movement spread in the three regions, 1988, 1967, and West Bank and Gaza. The idea had supporters inside the occupied areas of 1948. It gained increasing present in the West Bank and gained momentum in Gaza. Hamas in 1990’s decided to attack the Israeli occupation, and it carried out several martyr attacks against Israelis. Such attacked forced the countries that support the Zionist state of Israel to convene in Egypt, in “Sharm El Sheikh” to discuss strategies to “fight terrorism”, then this term was replaced by “supporting peace” in the region. The movement decided to expel the occupation out of Gaza, but the Fath-led authority in coordination with the Israeli occupation authorities quelled the tensions in the West Bank. Gaza was too strong to be defeated, since the resistance movement depended heavily on using the tunnels it built underneath the Israeli security points. The Israeli army found itself under fire and Sharon was forced out of Gaza in 2005, although he repeatedly considered the South of Gaza an important strategic area for the security of “Israel”. All of this had been accomplished while Hamas was under the security crackdown of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank in coordination with the Israelis, and the siege imposed by Egypt during the rule of Mubarak who shut every possible door in the face f Hamas. Hamas had to face the pressure imposed by the PA by exposing the corruption rampant in its institutions during its rule between 1995 and 2005. The PA was forced to call for municipal elections in the West Bank and Gaza, and Hamas won in a resounding victory. The PA rejected the results under the pretext of some fabricated legal issues. Then the Palestinian legislative election was held in June 2006, and Hamas again scooped most of the seats, and formed the government, which is still carrying out its duties until now. This win coincided with the abduction of an Israeli soldier in 2006 who was used by Hamas to achieve an enormous success after four years in prisoner exchange deal. Hamas remained under siege until the 2008 war on Gaza was announced from Egypt, with the consent and plotting of the PA that started to arrange for the transitional period in Gaza if Hamas was annihilated by the Zionist forces. The war continued for 22 days and culminated in the victory of the Palestinian people and its resistance under the leadership of Hamas. This war and the ones that followed were waged by Israel while the Egyptian authorities were destroying the tunnels and closing its crossing to and out of Gaza. The Israeli occupation was also closing all the crossings. Nevertheless, the Palestinian people and its leadership proved resilient and persevering until this day. The 2012 war sent a clear message that the Palestinian resistance is capable of attacking Tel Aviv and the occupied Palestinian towns of 1948. All this happened in a context of occupation, siege, and Arab collusion against Hamas all with coordination with the PA to weaken the Palestinian resistance. The people of Palestine are under siege as well, and the funds allocated to Gaza are appropriated to the interest of the PA in the West Bank. The health and education sectors are deteriorating, and those affiliated with Fath are forced to abstain from going to work unless they are paid, but if any of them decided to work in Gaza they would deny him a salary. This outlines the history of Hamas since its foundation, but this period is undeniably the most difficult for the movement. Hamas fought four wars in six years against an army that defeated Arab armies in just some days, and occupied vast areas of their land. This army occupied parts of Egypt and never withdrew its forces until it ensured the neutrality of Egypt in the conflict, turning its against the Arab and Islamic countries to become its favorite strategic ally in the region. Egypt has even participated in a war again other counties such as happened in Iraq in 2003. Hamas and the other hand stood against this army and never allowed it to occupy any spot of the land of Gaza, despite the lack of resources in an area of only 36,000 Km2, which is still run and being developed by Hamas until this day. Against this backdrop, the Arab nations, especially the people in Egypt from various political affiliations, have constantly supported the resistance, and constantly tried to visit Gaza, and called for providing humanitarian aid to the people there. The severe shortage in fuel in Gaza caused power shortages, people were forced to close factories, schools, even candles were a rarity, and the price of one candle reached 75 cents. All of this was during the time of Mubarak, until the Egyptian people elected a new president in free democratic elections. The Rafah crossing was opened, and lots of Arab ,Islamic and foreign delegations poured into Gaza, after a difficult period of siege during which some activists from Turkey and elsewhere became victims themselves when they courageously and against all odds participated in the Freedom Flotilla and some of them lost their lives in order to break the siege on Gaza. All the national leaders in Egypt visited Gaza, and appeared on T.V, but when the political circumstances had changed in the country in June 30, 2013, everything else changed. The human, ethical, national standards shifted overnight, and the media outlets became united to create a new image of the resistance: the Palestinian resistance that was once a source of pride to the whole Ummah became a terrorist group of outlaws. The pure arms of the resistance that were used against the Zionists who killed the Egyptian soldiers in 1956, 1967, and 1973 is now falsely accused of being used against the Egyptian people. Hamas that protected Palestine, refused to forfeit any piece of the land in the 1950’s, and that stood against settling Palestinians in Sinai is portrayed now as treacherous and cooperating with the Zionists. This historical background leads us to conclude that Hamas has gone through the worst imaginable circumstances with lots of huge burdens. Nevertheless, it succeeded against all the odds, protected its achievements and was keen on achieving more developments and victories. This success would not have been possible without the guidance of Allah and the support of the Palestinian people. What is then the future of Hamas movement after the events in Tunisia, Libya, and the turn of events (July 2013) in Egypt and the possible consequences thereof? The mission of Hamas and all the Islamic movements everywhere, especially in Egypt, is to emphasize that what happened in the Arab counties is better not termed “Arab Spring”. This romanticized term entails several problems that began to surface. The spring is followed by a “heated” summer, which is followed by the fall when “leaves fall after they grew”, and then will be faced by a “cold” winter. The West aimed to convey this message by publicizing this term. They wanted to tell the people of these countries don’t get overexcited, it’s just a spring that would soon become to an end, and all its ideals, principles, and aims will vanish, then you shall return to the same, or probably same circumstances you’ve been living in. The truth is that what happened in the Arab world is inspired by a huge Islamic awakening, that is evident in the following points: The countries which witnessed the so-called “Arab Spring” whichare Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Syria, and that witnessed free and democratic elections won by an Islamic majority chosen by the people who believed in the project of the Islamists. The popularity of the Islamists emerge in the ballot or in the streets. Why did the West and its allied interfered in the affairs of the region before the “summer” of these revolts by money, conspiracies, promises, and support? Why didn’t they act when blood was shed, prisons became full of innocent people, media propagating lies, freedoms confiscated, money stolen, and arms became available for families and tribes facing one another? Why did the international human rights organizations remained silent about the crimes committed against Islamists, a case in point here is the “Goldstone Report”, while decrying the arrest of any non-Islamist activist. Why don’t they provide aid for the legitimate Islamist-led governments and elected parliaments, while financial support is secured for others, regardless of their crimes and infringements on international and humanitarian laws. Why Muslim countries are being divided, amid wars, conspiracies, coups, and all sorts of violence? The mission of Hamas through its media outlets is to send a message to the Muslim World that what has happened, and what will happen, is a real return to the righteous path that Allah chose for the human beings. That the change in the Muslim World is not a brief season of the year, nor words of a poet, dreamer, or a drunk person. This is the role of Hamas today, and the mission of its figures and media outlets. Hamas has the responsibility to emphasize some basic Quranic truisms to the Arab and Muslim people. Allah says in the Holy Quran: “Similar situations [as yours] have passed on before you, so proceed throughout the earth and observe how was the end of those who denied.” (3:137). They should also have absolute trust and belief that victory is eminent and shall be realized after a period of purification, preparation, and training. Allah says: “And those cities - We destroyed them when they wronged, and We made for their destruction an appointed time” (18:59). Those who wronged and committed injustice will face destruction by Allah. Allah uses the plural pronoun, “destroying them” in order to indicate that regardless of their powers and size, they will eventually be punished. Hope should fill the hearts with tranquility and provide some light for those who went astray. Hamas should stand with a firm and passionate belief that Allah will provide a way out of this dilemma. Hamas is working tirelessly without much ado to solve its problems related to funding, arms, public administration, and analyze the situation in Palestine, the region and the world. Hamas has to be aware in such sensitive circumstance of the ongoing negotiations with the PA that became an authority for coordinating with the Zionists. The American Secretary of State would try to render the suffering, rights, and interests of the Palestinians into bid in the coming presidential elections. Hamas is closely observing all the details, and it has a vital role in accepting or rejecting essential positions related to the future of the country. Hamas believes that the Palestinians will not accept any concessions and shall not relinquish their rights. They will depend on their perseverance and support to the dauntless resistance movements. Hamas relentlessly reiterates its absolute commitment to abstain from interfering in the affairs of any country. It does not take sides with a party against the other, although it is no longer a secret to whom we have sympathies and hopes. Hamas is committed to direct its efforts to fight against the Zionist occupation. Hamas did that once when the PA involved itself with a conflict with King Hussein of Jordan, and took sides with a party against the other in the First Gulf War. The PA also engaged in conflicts in Lebanon with Syrians and Lebanese, and interfered in Egypt and killed Yousef AlSuba’i. They assassinated a Jordanian prime minister, and they still do interfere in Syria, Egypt and other countries. The stance of Hamas is clear and the facts on the ground prove its adherence to its principles despite the smear campaign launched b the media outlets in Egypt against the movements, its leaders, and its fighters. Hamas considers itself responsible to protect the rights of the Palestinians, and never compromise the basic principles that never change through time and place: The human being: the most valued among the creatures, and for whom Allah created everything: “It is He who created for you all of that which is on the earth” (2:29). The Land: All the Palestinian land. Hamas does not give up any piece of its land, and never accept this from any Palestinian or Arab person. The Palestinian land is all the land of historical Palestine. Religion: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, are the religions of the people who lived in this Muslim country enjoying their rights as citizens, and who are not equal to the Zionists who came and occupied Palestine. Sacred Places: Islamic and Christian sacred places of mosques, churches and other places of prayer, especially the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of Resurrection. A lot of Muslim people today, especially Arabs, do not know these places, and some of them may underestimate their importance. It is important to the Islamic movement to emphasize the importance of the Islamic sacred places in Palestine for Palestinians and all the Muslims throughout the world. Hamas has to be prepared to all possibilities in its struggle against the Israeli occupation, and from other actors, and even from some Arabs who might consider an attack on Gaza Strip. Hamas asserts its right to defend itself in all possible and available means, because its enemies aim at eradicating the resistance and the project of modern Islamic liberation. Hamas has been always trying to strengthen the internal Palestinian relations by signing the reconciliation agreement in Cairo, and engaging in a project which aims at promoting the program of the resistance, and improving economy, education, and health services. Nevertheless, Hamas realizes the perils of cooperating with the proponents of the negotiations project with the Israeli occupation and the security cooperation with it, and these perils are: The Palestinian reconciliation might be a step to cover up the crime of compromising the rights of the Palestinian people. It is a step that might be taken as an authorization by Hamas for any possible agreement in the future It is a step that might implicate the PA and specifically Fath in internal dissensions with those who are affiliated with the Zionists and the West and some Arab countries. This step might get the Palestinians back to square one, to the loose security situation, internal fighting, and widespread corruption in Palestine. Hamas endeavors at bolstering the Palestinian front against aimless negotiations with the occupation that leads for more and more concessions. It might be a step that could negatively impact the armed resistance in Palestine in its battalions, brigades and the defense forces. It might also hinder the resistance preparedness for the future. It might be a step to eradicate the resistance, and denying the Palestinians their right to defend themselves and resist with all the possible means. Hamas nonetheless is keen on reconciliation, but that does not mean in any manner than Hamas gives up its approach or equates with that of Fath. Hamas is bound and determined to use the lands that were under occupation in Gaza Strip, which have now become a source of economic sufficiency achieving significant development in agricultural activities. Hamas undertakes projects to rebuild the factories, houses, and institutions, and that it is one of its most significant roles that ensured its success in Gaza. Hamas observing the developments in the region, and it is relentlessly working on expanding its knowledge base, especially in regards to any projects against the movement or projects that support the Zionist state and its allies in region. Hamas takes the following points into account that help it determine its future vision: The United States finds itself now trapped between its GDP and its debts. This required Obama to restore the losses of the US in its wars in Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, East Asia, and Africa. This explains its recent position regarding the situation in Syria, the Iranian nuclear project, and its withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan. The American administration is also trying to correct its ethical image by promising to close Guantanamo base and other detention centers. The US is still governed by a state of aggression since the time of George W. Bush, and it remains concerned with any issue that affects the Zionist state and its interests in any region. Hamas is used to meeting with Western official and non official figures, to talk clearly about its policies and vision. These visit have not achieved any interest for the Palestinians, since they were only attempting at convincing Hamas to recognize the Zionist occupation as a legitimate state, and engage in a settlement process under the so-called “peace process”. Hamas does not isolate itself, and meets with concerned figures, but it does not expect great expectations from these talks and meetings. Hamas advise the Palestinians not to depend so much on Europe which is now following a path set by the United States, justifying its aggressions and ethical violations in the world, by adopting double standards in their claims about democracy. The West always reverts to linguistic manipulation by using terms such as “completing the election process” instead of “the democratic process”. This is the experience of Hamas in 2006 after it won in free and democratic elections, which is also the case in the countries witnessing popular Islamic uprisings. Hamas is also keen on enhancing foreign relationships, especially with important countries such as Iran, Turkey, and Indonesia, and the countries that witnessed Islamic awakenings and sympathize with our cause, such as Tunisia, in addition to other countries that are willing to support financially and politically the Palestinian resistance. Hamas abstains from criticizing publicly those countries that oppose it to serve the interests of the West, and turn their back to the resistance based on mere lies and political fabrications related to the tensions with the Muslim Brotherhood movements in their countries. The utter silence by the Arab and Islamic countries regarding the situation in Gaza and the compromises made by the PA for the occupation indicates that they have abandoned a project pertinent to the whole Ummah. This indifference to the suffering of the people of Gaza means that they abdicate their responsibilities to protect the dignity and identity of the Ummah, and deviated from the true understanding of Islam. Despite the dire political situation surrounding Hamas, it should always endeavor to stand against dissension and disagreements among the religious and racial constituents of the Muslim nations. We almost forgot that “Indeed this, your religion, is one religion, and I am your Lord, so worship Me.” (21:92). This Ummah seems to forget that it consists of so many different nations and races. We have fallen a prey to the plotting of the enemies and some of us failed in reaching a true understanding Islam. This failure is evident in the widespread injustice, the failure in building constructive relationships, and in the failure of the unification efforts that were essentially based on unsound ground. The European Union represents a successful model in putting aside the historical differences among them in term of religions and races which were once a source of bloody conflicts and wars. Despite all these deep differences, they now succeeded in creating this unity among them. Although the Islamic experience was distorted by the deviations of some of its rulers throughout history, it represents a great story in the history of civilizations. Almost one third of the world population are now Muslims, living on 23,5% of the earth in the most strategic areas. The Muslim nations are blessed with endless natural resources, but they are not properly exploiting them. Therefore, it is incumbent upon all of us to remember our great historical legacy to retrieve the position of leadership in the world. Hamas, despite the pressures and siege, has to be intellectually awakened. What was missing in the project of Hamas is an influential state that adopts the project and supports it. Unfortunately, the central countries that are strategic to Hamas are now besieged with conflicts, corruption, and loyalty to others, for the interest of a person, group, party, or for nothing in return at all. This is a difficult period for the Arab and Muslim world, but it is definitely an ephemeral situation that will soon be changed. It is a dark phase of our history, especially in Egypt, that turned its back to the history of its ancestors who valued Palestine as their own strategic land. It is also a dark chapter in the history of some countries that stood against Hamas and against the Islamic project in the region, and a dark chapter for Europe that is unabashedly hypocrite, and America which is now paying for its crimes in the world, suffering an increasingly weaker economy and political influence. At the same time, it is a bright phase in the history of honest and honorable Islamists who refrained from violence and bloodshed despite their ability to do so. These Islamists are subjected to suffering, death, and torture, not only in the Arab and Islamic countries but also in countries of non-Muslim majority in Asia, Africa, and Europe. Hamas believes that this phase is ephemeral, and Muslims afterwards would be equipped with more knowledge, experiences, and resilience, to achieve the project of this Ummah as promised by prophet Muhammad PBUH in a long tradition in which he says: “Verily, Allah drew the ends of the world near me until I saw its eastern and western ends. And the dominion of my Ummah would reach those ends…”. We firmly believe in the truths of our religion, and the promises of Allah and His prophet, and the future shall prove that. In the Movement of Islamic Resistance of Hamas, we have absolute hope in the future. We have made enormous sacrifices in the West Bank and Gaza, and on every spot of Palestine. A lot of our leaders and members were assassinated, imprisoned, and tortured. We have endured constant harm and targeting that affected our families and homes. We have dedicated our lives for the sake of Allah and his religion, in order to win His blessing and forgiveness. We shall not be desperate, and we believe that victory is upon us. We also forgive those who stood against us, such as Egypt and some of the Gulf countries. We put our trust in Allah, and those days and various conditions will alternate among the people, to differentiate between the believers and non-believers. We know that we have a long difficult path ahead of us, but we are determined to succeed

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