Hamas and The Ministry of Truth
In the span of a single article The Washington Post, currently our government’s mouthpiece, is able to compile every falsehood and misconception regarding Hamas under the guise of “balanced reporting”. The article in question, entitled “What to do with Hamas? Questions Snarl Peace Bid”, is valuable for its succinct, concise collection of omissions and propaganda regarding that so-called “terror group”. To read it is to view the Israeli conflict through the lens of our policy planners, and to identify many of the assumptions under which they operate.
The article begins with a bang:
GAZA CITY — In the two years since it seized power here, the militant Hamas movement has undercut the influence of the Gaza Strip’s major clans, brought competing paramilitary groups under its control, put down an uprising by a rival Islamist group, weathered a three-week war with Israel, worked around a strict economic embargo — and through it all refused a set of international demands that could begin Gaza’s rehabilitation.
Let’s start with the so-called “uprising by a rival Islamist group”. The Post is referring here to the 2007 Fatah-Hamas war, which occurred a year and a half after Hamas won parliamentary elections in Palestine, much to the consternation of the US and Israel. What The Post completely declines to mention is that the US and Israel were behind that that “uprising”. Yes, you read correctly. Last year, David Rose of Vanity Fair published a stunning expose of that war, concluding, beyond any doubt, that the United States secretly funded Fatah in a failed bid to overthrow Hamas.
Why secretly? Well, because such funding would have been expressly against international law. Hamas won the January 2006 parliamentary elections fair and square. The polls were monitored and not one side was able to come out with even a single instance of accused fraud. The US and Israel, unable to respect the Palestinians’ wishes, chose to secretly fund a coup by Fatah, the pro-west Palestinian party. The coup failed in that Hamas retained control of Gaza, but it did result in thousands of dead Palestinians, along with a split leadership (Fatah was able to gain control of the West Bank), so our policy-makers chalked it up to a half-loss.
Likewise with the three-week war with Israel that Hamas allegedly “weathered”. The action to which The Post refers occurred earlier this year and was not so much a war as a massacre in Gaza. More than 2,000 Palestinians were killed in that action, with express US permission. Israeli casualties numbered in the tens. Lurid, horrific reports later surfaced of Israeli death squads traveling door-to-door and murdering whole families, as well as the bombing of a UN-charter school by Israel, an atrocity which occured not once, but twice.
The embargo, defined by political scientists the world over as a blatant “act of war”, has prevented Gazans from access to even the most basic standards of food or medicine, and has transformed the strip, in the words of The Vatican, into “a giant concentration camp”.
Yet amid all these atrocities it is not the Israelis, but the Palestinians who are “refusing a set of international demands”. Here, The Washington Post makes one of its famous contradictions. Later in the article they write that
In the past two weeks, Mitchell has scaled back U.S. demands for Israel to freeze West Bank settlements.
The settlements, as you are surely aware, are in violation of international law and are currently condemned by every country in the world, except the United States and Israel.
From the article’s lead, we find that:
That combination of durability and unwillingness to compromise has created a deep-seated stalemate that has left top Israeli intelligence and political officials perplexed about what to do.
However on the very next page, The Post reports:
It has been long-standing Hamas policy to consider a long-term ceasefire with Israel in return for establishment of a Palestinian state on the Gaza and West Bank land occupied by Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
So it’s a bit unclear as to whence this confusion arises. Hama’s position has been clear from the start, even if The Washington Post is too cowardly to admit it. And it should be noted that the land “occupied” by Israel in the 1967 war was occupied illegally, and there is currently a UN resolution (Resolution 242), which demands Israel withdraw to its pre-1967 borders, precisely as Hamas requests. The UN routinely votes 174-5 in favor of the resolution, with only the United States, Israel, and a few Pacific Islands dissenting. The Post, of course, neglects to mention any of this in its article, electing instead to highlight the “perplexion” on the part of Israeli planners. If they had even a modicum of respect for international law it would be clear “what to do”.
The lack of honest discussion of the Israel-Palestine issue is perhaps the greatest impediment we face to resolving that decades-old feud. Contrary to what we may think here in America, that volatile little strip carries huge importance for the politics of the Middle East, and world politics in general. The destabilizing effects of our inability to see “the other side” are only too plain. For the time being, however, this is a mischievous little polemic by The Washington Post. It, and similar articles, probably do more to prolong this conflict than all the bombs and rockets combined.