Source: Jan 18, 2002 EIR by Dean Andromidas
Israeli Roots of Hamas Are Being Exposed
Speaking in Jerusalem Dec. 20, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer
made the connection between the growth of the Islamic fundamentalist groups
Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and Israel's promotion of the Islamic movement as a
counter to the Palestinian nationalist movement. Kurtzer's comments come very
close to EIR's own presentation of the evidence of Israel's instrumental role
in establishing Hamas, and its ongoing control of that organization.
Kurtzer said that the growth of the Islamic movement in the Palestinian
territories in recent decades—"with the tacit support of Israel"—was "not
totally unrelated" to the emergence of Hamas and Islamic Jihad and their
terrorist attacks against Israel. Kurtzer explained that during the 1980s,
when the Islamic movement began to flourish in the West Bank and Gaza, "Israel
perceived it to be better to have people turning toward religion rather than
toward a nationalistic cause [the Palestinian Liberation Organization—ed.]."
It therefore did little to stop the flow of money to mosques and other
religious institutions, rather than to schools.
According to the Dec. 21 Israeli daily Ha'aretz, Kurtzer made these
extraordinary statements at a seminar on religion and politics sponsored by Oz
V'Shalom-Netivot Shalom, a largely Anglo-American organization that promotes
peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Rabbi Dr. Aharon Lichtenstein, the
head of Har Etzion Yeshiva in Alon Shvut, who is an active advocate of a just
regional peace, also spoke. Kurtzer said that as a result of the growth of
Islam at the expense of education, there are now Palestinians who are
"determined terrorists that use religious beliefs in a perverted way to appeal
to the masses."
Kurtzer said that cultural and religious interaction is potentially a way
to "build bridges." But instead, "the perverted use of religion in the region
is today becoming one of the great challenges for the years ahead." He said
that there is no "inherent component" in Islam that advocates violence.
But one of the five principles of Islam, jihad—resistance—"in classic
religious associations connotes religious belief and fervor, not violence."
But extremists have distorted the meaning of jihad, so it now has a
connotation of violence in the service of a religious purpose.
The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Friend
This statement is extraordinary given the fact that Kurtzer is a very
senior diplomat, having held the post of Ambassador to Egypt just prior to
going on to Tel Aviv. He is also an Orthodox Jew who is not shy of criticizing
the extreme anti-Israeli
and anti-Semitic views held by certain Arab
But Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon rarely grants the United
States' highest representative in Israel an official audience.
The ambassador's comments are an acknowledgment of what any serious Middle
East observers knows: Hamas has always been seen as a tool by which Israel
could undermine the nationalist movement led by Palestinian Authority
President and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Yasser Arafat.
Similar statements by Arafat have been dismissed by Israel as "cranky"
propaganda. In an interview with the Dec. 11 Italian daily Corriere della
Sera, Arafat said, "We are doing everything to stop the violence. But Hamas is
a creature of Israel which at the time of Prime Minister [Yitzhak] Shamir [the
late 1980s, when Hamas arose], gave them money and more than 700 institutions,
among them schools, universities and mosques. Even [former Israeli Prime
Minister Yitzhak] Rabin ended up admitting it, when I charged him with it, in
the presence of [Egpytian President Hosni] Mubarak."
To the Italian daily L'Espresso, Arafat laid out the reasons for this
support. "Hamas was constituted with the support of Israel. The aim was to
create an organization antagonistic to the PLO. They received financing and
training from Israel. They have continued to benefit from permits and
authorizations, while we have been limited, even to build a tomato factory.
Rabin himself defined it as a fatal error. Some collaborationists of Israel
are involved in these [terror] attacks," he said. "We have proof, and we are
placing it at the disposal of the Italian government."
On one level the support for Hamas is simply the application of the old
saying, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." Indeed, in the minds of crude
Israeli ultra-nationalists and fascists such as Sharon and his faction, this
is indeed the case. Sharon is not interested in peace and therefore is not
concerned that the violence and needless deaths of Israelis and Palestinians
In the Jan. 3 Ha'aretz, Yossi Sarid, chairman of the Meretz party, wrote,
"What does frighten Sharon ... is any prospect or sign of calm or moderation.
If the situation were to calm down and stabilize, Sharon would have to return
to the negotiating table and, in the wake of pressure from within and without,
he would have to raise serious proposals for an agreement.
This moment terrifies Sharon and he wants to put it off for as long as he
possibly can." In contrast, Sarid said that Sharon understands "that the
terrorists and those who give them asylum are not the real enemies. Instead,
the real enemies are the moderates.... You fight terrorists—a pretty simple
operation—but you must talk with moderates, and this is a very tricky, if not
More important for the survival of not only the Palestinian people, but
especially Israel itself, is the dangerous role of the puppetmasters outside
the region, who are manipulating both sides of this deadly game as part of
their own demonic plans to spread the policy of a "clash of civilizations."
In this regard, Sharon, and his "Greater Israel" policy, is just as much a
puppet as the Palestinian, strapped with explosives, who blows himself up at
an Israeli bus station.
Two Decades of Undermining Arafat
Given the level of control that the Israeli intelligence services such as
the Shin Bet and Mossad have been able to exert over the Palestinian
territories during the last 35 years of Israeli occupation, the capability to
manipulate militant and violent organizations, such as those associated with
Hamas, should not surprise anyone familiar with intelligence and even routine
police operations. This should be obvious, considering that Israel has
routinely recruited thousands of collaborators and provocateurs among the tens
of thousands of Palestinians who have passed through Israeli prisons in over
35 years of its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Most convincing is a comparison of the development of Hamas, Islamic Jihad
and their antecedents, and the growing national and international legitimacy
of the PLO and its undisputed leader, Arafat.
Hamas is an acronym for Harafat al-Muqawama Al-Islamiyya, or Islamic
Resistance Movement. Its spiritual leader is Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who, despite
his fiery anti-Israeli sermons, has had an unusual relationship with the
Israeli authorities. In 1973, Yassin established the Islamic Association—at a
time when it was Israeli policy to promote what Ambassador Kurtzer refers to
as the "Islamic movement."
One might ask: Why should Israel promote an Islamic movement which later
turns around and attacks it? How could the Israeli secret services be taken in
by a Yassin? They weren't. The simple fact is, that the stated policy of Hamas
is simply the flip side of Sharon's "Greater Israel" policy that refuses to
seek a territorial compromise.
The Hamas charter in 1988 stated, "The land of Palestine has been an
Islamic Waqf throughout the generations, and until the Day of Resurrection, no
one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it.... Peace
initiatives, the so-called peace initiatives, are all contraray to the beliefs
of Hamas, for renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the
religion." In this rhetoric there is no room for a state of Israel—as there is
none for a state of Palestine in Sharon's "Greater Israel."
Israel's Hamas relations intensified after the Arab League, in 1974,
decided to recognize Arafat and the PLO as the representatives of the
Palestinian people—in effect, a government in exile. By 1979, top Yassin
acquired an official permit from the Israeli government of Prime Minister
Menachem Begin. This coincided with the signing of the Camp David peace treaty
between Israel and Egypt.
That treaty embodied detailed clauses calling for the establishment of a
Palestinian Authority in the Occupied Territories, which would be the
precursor for the Israeli withdrawal and the establishment of a Palestinian
state. Gen. Ariel Sharon has been the chief proponent since this treaty was
signed, of the policy of ensuring that these clauses would never be
implemented. His chosen alternatives were war in Lebanon and the expansion of
the Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories. Sharon was helped by the
assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat by Anglo-American-controlled,
Egypt-based Islamic terrorists.
`Policy of Strengthening Islamic Bodies'
Israeli toleration, if not initial sponsorship of the Islamic movement, has
been acknowledged and well documented in Israeli sources. In 1997, the Jaffee
Center for Strategic Studies, at Tel Aviv University, published a study,
"Hamas: Radical Islam In A National Struggle," authored by Anat Kurz and
It stated that the Islamic Association, "the platform of which contained no
nationalist clauses, obtained a permit from the Israeli Civil Administration
in 1979 to conduct its activities. The permit was apparently consistent with
the Israeli policy of strengthening Islamic bodies as a counterweight to
Palestinian nationalist groups."
The rapid expansion of the Islamic Association led to clashes on the
Palestinian University campuses in the Occupied Territories in the 1980s,
betwen PLO-affiliated students and those associated with the Islamists. This
expansion was aided by the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, where Sharon
hoped to solve the "Palestinian problem" by militarily crushing the PLO—which
was then based in Lebanon—and by carrying out genocide against the hundreds of
thousands of Palestinians living in impoverished refugee camps in Lebanon.
Despite his orchestration of the massacre of thousands of Palestinians,
including women and children, at the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps, Sharon
failed to eliminate Arafat. Nonetheless, Arafat and the PLO were exiled to
Tunisia, their influence severely weakened.
Sheikh Yassin, along with other Hamas leaders, was arrested in 1984, after
it was discovered that the Islamic Association had maintained arms caches. But
the organization was not banned.
In fact, Yassin was soon released as part of an unprecedented prisoner
exchange between Israel and Ahmed Jabril's PFLP-General Command. This deal,
made with one of the most violent of all anti-PLO Palestinian groups at the
time, was made in a period when the Mossad was busy assassinating the most
moderate of PLO leaders.
Then, in 1988, the Islamic Association created Hamas as a direct
alternative to the PLO, which had launched the first Intifada the year before.
1988 was also important because the PLO, at the 19th Conference of the
Palestinian National Council in Algeria in 1988, accepted the United Nations
Security Council resolution of 1947 calling for two states in Palestine.
They also called for convening an international peace conference based on
UN Resolutions 242 and 338, which established the land-for-peace concept. This
was a de facto recognition of Israel by the PLO and Arafat. By the end of
1988, the Reagan Administration extended official recognition to the PLO as
the official representative of the Palestinian people.
When Palestinian leader Abu Jihad began negotiating with Hamas, in an
attempt to win its mass base over to the new policy, he was promptly
assassinated by the Mossad.
Yassin, as all senior leaders of Hamas, is a member of the Muslim
Brotherhood, the far-flung international Islamic organization with operations
throughout the Islamic world. In the past, Anglo-American factions have not
hesitated to manipulate the Brotherhood's various factions to destabilize
secular Arab regimes. When Zbigniew Brzezinski launched the Afghan war against
Russia in the 1980s, many of the Arab mujahideen fighters were recruited
through Muslim Brotherhood-linked networks. The Muslim Brotherhood story fills
volumes; the crucial point here is that Hamas, one of its branches, has
traditionally stood in opposition to the secular nationalism of Arafat, the
PLO, and its supporting governments.
Hamas has a peculiar organizational structure which contrasts sharply with
that of the PLO. While within the West Bank and Gaza, Hamas exists as a broad
political movement, its militant wings, the Izza-Din Al Qassam and Islamic
Jihad, split-offs from the organization, are administered totally separately.
These latter organizations, which are responsible for the attacks, are
under the control of leaders who operate from abroad. Their offices are in
London, where the group's magazine, Falatin Al Muslimah, is based; Jordan;
Syria; and the United States, particularly in Virginia and Texas.
Although Arafat has periodically tried to bring the popular base of Hamas
into the Palestinian fold, the foreign-based military leadership has always
This bifurcation dovetails with Sharon's strategy of launching brutal
attacks against Hamas targets, in order to elicit the equally brutal response
from Islamic Jihad and the Izza-Din Al Qassam. Thus Arafat, and diplomatic
goals, are undermined, and the fires of civil war within the Occupied
Territories are stoked.
The Anti-Oslo Terror Campaign Begins
The Oslo Accords marked the first glimmer of hope for a resolution of the
Middle East conflict. And, the first suicide terrorist attack aimed at
destroying it was not launched by Hamas or Islamic Jihad or another
Palestinian faction. The first suicide attack was launched on Feb. 25, 1994,
by Israeli terrorist Baruch Goldstein, when he entered the Mosque of Hebron
and killed 50 Muslim worshippers as well as himself.
Goldstein was a member of Kach, the terrorist organization founded by the
late Meir Kahane, who also founded the Jewish Defense League in the 1960s in
the United States. Kach, which is well connected to Sharon, is on the official
U.S. State Department list of terrorist organizations.
The unprecedented massacre was calculated to set the stage for a suicide
bombing campaign by Hamas and its split-off, Islamic Jihad, over the next
year. In fact, it set into motion the "cycle of violence" that has yet to end.
The Goldstein attack came at precisely the point when Israeli Prime
Minister Rabin and Arafat began the formal implementation of the Oslo
agreement which envisioned the establishment of a Palestinian state by 1998.
The first Hamas-linked suicide attacks did not start until two months later,
in April 1994, when Rabin and Arafat signed the agreement for the
establishment of the Palestinian National Authority.
The agreement called for the conduct of free elections throughout the
territories—which would eventually establish the international legitimacy of
the Arafat-led government.
But despite this terror campaign, which lasted for months under a massive
crackdown by Arafat's security forces, the Rabin-Arafat alliance, although
seriously weakened, was not broken. This alliance was finally broken with
Rabin's assassination by an Israeli, on Nov. 5, 1995.
The next phase of attacks followed the "targetted assassination" of Hamas
bomb-maker Yahya Ayyash on Jan. 5, 1996. Although said to be "revenge
attacks," they were in fact part of Hamas' campaign to get Benjamin Netanyahu
elected Israeli prime minister. This was admitted by Ibraham Ghawshah,
Hamas' official spokesman resident in Amman, Jordan.
He said that it
was part of their strategy to influence Israeli public opinon to bring down
the entire Oslo process. The election of Netanyahu indeed fulfilled all their
hopes, especially after he launched his own provocations, which not only
brought about the pre-calculated Hamas response, but also brought the region
several times to the brink of war.
This tit-for-tat campaign reached the height of insanity when Netanyahu,
under the direction of Sharon, who was a member of his government at the time,
launched a Mossad assassination attempt in 1997 against the Jordan-based Hamas
official Khalid Mishaal. Not only did the attempt fail, but it led to Israel
agreeing to release Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Yassin from an Israeli jail,
where he had been under arrest since 1989. Yassin was allowed to return to
Gaza to rally Hamas against the Oslo process in general, and Arafat in
This pattern has continued to this very day. Netanyahu's downfall in 1999
led to the short-lived government of Ehud Barak, who despite much talking and
negotiating, furthered the Oslo process not one iota. By the end of the Summer
of 2000, the stage was set for Sharon's ultimate provocation, his Sept. 28
march on to the Islamic holy site Al-Haram Al-Sharif/Temple Mount.
Since coming to power, Sharon has done everything to ensure the collapse of
Arafat and the Palestinian Authority. If successful, it would either bring
Hamas to power or lead to political chaos within the terrorities.