All signs indicate that the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is prepared to wage a protracted battle in the battered Gaza Strip as it seeks to crush the capabilities of the Islamist militant group Hamas. The ongoing conflict has already exacted a bloody toll, with the Palestinian death count approaching the total of Israel’s 2008-2009 bombing campaign and ground offensive in Gaza, which led to the deaths of at least 1,383 Palestinians over three weeks.
History, has this weird repetitive cycle, doesn’t it? It’s a bit hard to believe Hamas caught Israel off guard. Considering, ya know, history?
Netanyahu wants to wholly demilitarize the Palestinian enclave, beginning with the network of tunnels that allow Hamas’s fighters to infiltrate into Israeli territory.
And tunnels. 2014 to 2023- Israel knew about the tunnels then, but, somehow they were unaware now?
It also obscures Hamas’s curious history. To a certain degree, the Islamist organization whose militant wing has rained rockets on Israel the past few weeks has the Jewish state to thank for its existence.
At the time, Israel’s main enemy was the late Yasser Arafat’s Fatah party, which formed the heart of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). Fatah was secular and cast in the mold of other revolutionary, leftist guerrilla movements waging insurgencies elsewhere in the world during the Cold War. The PLO carried out assassinations and kidnappings and, although recognized by neighboring Arab states, was considered a terrorist organization by Israel; PLO operatives in the occupied territories faced brutal repression at the hands of the Israeli security state.
Meanwhile, the activities of Islamists affiliated with Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood were allowed in the open in Gaza — a radical departure from when the Strip was administered by the secular-nationalist Egyptian government of Gamal Abdel Nasser. Egypt lost control of Gaza to Israel after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, which saw Israel also seize the West Bank. In 1966, Nasser had executed Sayyid Qutb, one of the Brotherhood’s leading intellectuals.
The Israelis saw Qutb's adherents in the Palestinian territories, including the wheelchair-bound Sheik Ahmed Yassin, as a useful counterweight to Arafat's PLO.
“When I look back at the chain of events I think we made a mistake,” one Israeli official who had worked in Gaza in the 1980s said in a 2009 interview with the Wall Street Journal’s Andrew Higgins. “But at the time nobody thought about the possible results.”
Higgins’s article is worth reading in full. He goes on to outline the type of assistance the Israelis initially gave Yassin, whom the PLO at one time deemed a “collaborator,” and Gaza’s other Islamists:
Israel’s military-led administration in Gaza looked favorably on the paraplegic cleric, who set up a wide network of schools, clinics, a library and kindergartens. Sheikh Yassin formed the Islamist group Mujama al-Islamiya, which was officially recognized by Israel as a charity and then, in 1979, as an association. Israel also endorsed the establishment of the Islamic University of Gaza, which it now regards as a hotbed of militancy. The university was one of the first targets hit by Israeli warplanes in the [2008-9 Operation Cast Lead].
Of course, the Muslim Brotherhood had/has ties to British Intelligence. Smart money say’s the ties are still secure
Nothing is really ever as presented superficially. One need only scratch a little deeper…..