Hamas is a Palestinian militant organization that governs the Gaza Strip, and it is listed as a terrorist organization by several countries, including the United States and Israel. The group has been involved in several violent attacks on Israeli civilians and security forces, leading to tensions between Israel and the Palestinian territories. However, what is less known is that Israel had a role in the creation of Hamas.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Israel supported the creation of the Islamic movement in the Gaza Strip as a counterbalance to the secular nationalist movement led by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). At that time, Israel was in control of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and it was looking for allies among the Palestinian population.
One of the people who played a significant role in the creation of Hamas was Israeli Military governor Brigadier General Yitzhak Segev. Segev believed that a Palestinian Islamist movement could serve Israel’s interests by weakening the PLO’s hold on the Palestinian population. He began to provide financial support to a group of young Islamists who were studying in the Islamic University in Gaza.
The money came from Israel’s military government, which was responsible for the administration of the occupied territories. According to some reports, the Israeli government provided millions of dollars to the Islamic movement in the 1980s, including funds to build mosques and schools, as well as to provide welfare services to the Palestinian population.
The Israeli government’s support for the Islamic movement was part of a larger strategy of divide and rule. Israel wanted to create divisions within the Palestinian population and weaken the PLO’s hold on the Palestinian territories. The Israeli government believed that a Palestinian Islamist movement could serve as a counterbalance to the secular nationalist movement led by the PLO.
The Islamic movement in Gaza grew rapidly in the 1980s, attracting many young Palestinians who were frustrated with the PLO’s inability to achieve its goals. Hamas was founded in 1987, as an offshoot of the Islamic movement. The group’s founding charter called for the destruction of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic state in Palestine.
At first, Israel saw Hamas as a potential ally in its fight against the PLO. Hamas carried out several attacks against the PLO in the late 1980s, and Israel turned a blind eye to these attacks. However, Hamas quickly became a threat to Israel’s security as it began to carry out attacks against Israeli civilians and security forces.
The Israeli government’s support for the Islamic movement in Gaza and the West Bank continued until the early 1990s when the Oslo Accords were signed between Israel and the PLO. The Accords led to the establishment of the Palestinian Authority and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from parts of the West Bank and Gaza.
The rise of Hamas as a political and military force in the Palestinian territories had unintended consequences for Israel. Hamas carried out several suicide bombings in Israel in the 1990s and early 2000s, leading to a cycle of violence that continues to this day. The Israeli government has accused Hamas of using civilians as human shields and of launching rockets from civilian areas.
In conclusion, while the origins of Hamas are complex, it is clear that Israel played a role in its creation. Israeli Military governor Brigadier General Yitzhak Segev helped finance the Islamic movement, which eventually led to the creation of Hamas. The Israeli government’s support for the Islamic movement was part of a larger strategy of divide and rule, aimed at weakening the PLO’s hold on the Palestinian population. However, the rise of Hamas had unintended consequences, and it became a significant threat to Israel’s security. The history of Hamas is a reminder of the complex and often unpredictable nature of conflicts in East Africa aka Middle East.
- “Hamas: A Beginner’s Guide” by BBC News (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-13331522)
- “How Israel Helped Create Hamas” by Nathan Thrall in The New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/18/opinion/israel-hamas-palestine-jerusalem.html)
- “The Origins of Hamas” by Sara Roy in Journal of Palestine Studies (https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/jps.2007.36.1.6)
- “The Creation of Hamas” by Mishana Hosseinioun in Middle East Policy Council (https://www.mepc.org/journal/creation-hamas)
- “How Israel Created Hamas” by Robert Wright in The Atlantic (https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/07/how-israel-helped-create-hamas/374150/)
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