During the early 1970s the greatest enemy to Israel was known as the Palestinian Liberation Organization who was known for waging terror attacks on Israeli civilians and targets all over the world.
The PLO was known for being a Socialist organization whose sole purpose was the elimination of the state of Israel along with the establishment of a socialist state of Palestine where the constitution would be run by secular Marxism rather than Islam.
Due to the short sidedness of the Rabin administration and later Begin there was an idea to bring about a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood into Gaza and the Palestinian territories to counter balance the strength and popularity of the PLO.
In the early seventies Shiekh Ahmed Yassin started the Organization Mujama Al Islamiya which helped establish the Islamic University in Gaza, hospitals and schools.
Just like the United States was funding the Taliban to fight in Afghanistan against the Soviets to bring down the communists so too was Israel selling Arms to Iran to fight their archenemy Iraq during the early eighties.
Islamic fundamentalism was not seen as a threat to world peace, instead it was Marxists terrorists around the world who were seen as a threat so Muslim extremists were seen as natural allies against G-dless communists.
Precursor to Hamas was from the Muslim Brotherhood who were persecuted by the secular Ba’athist government of Egypt to the point their leader Sayyid Qutb was executed by the Egyptian government in 1966.
Egypt and secular socialist Arab governments were at war at the time against Islamic extremism so the Israelis saw them as a natural ally against their common enemy.
Shiekh Yassin was on such good terms with the Israeli state that he would receive treatment in Israeli hospitals.
According to Andrew Higgin, ” 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].”
Many Israeli government officials saw the improvement of the quality of life in the Palestinian territories as a way prevent radicalization of the Arab residents so in 1979 Mujama Al Islamiyah got the status as a charity organization with the ability to be able to raise millions of dollars in decades.
During the eighties clashes between secular and Islamists supporters became more common and there was a rift growing in Palestinian society between secularists and Islamists.
According to the Truth Seeker, ” As the fighting between rival student factions at Birzeit grew more violent, Brig. Gen. Shalom Harari, then a military intelligence officer in Gaza, says he received a call from Israeli soldiers manning a checkpoint on the road out of Gaza. They had stopped a bus carrying Islamic activists who wanted to join the battle against Fatah at Birzeit. “I said: ‘If they want to burn each other let them go,’” recalls Mr. Harari.
Israeli Military thinking during the time figured it would be great if the Islamists and Socialists were to continue fighting each other since it would take away their focus on fighting Israel.
According to Tharoor, ” Israel jailed Yassin in 1984 on a 12 year sentence after the discovery of hidden arms caches, but was released a year later.” Israel had Shiekh Yassin in custody three years before the first intifada started.
If Israel would have kept him in custody for his whole sentence perhaps Hamas would not have gotten to do the about of damage they did during the first intifada.
According to The Interceptor, ” Brig. Gen. Yitzhak Segev, who was the Israeli military governor in Gaza in the early 1980s. Segev later told a New York Times reporter that he had helped finance the Palestinian Islamist movement as a “counterweight” to the secularists and leftists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Fatah party, led by Yasser Arafat (who himself referred to Hamas as “a creature of Israel.”).”
General Segev himself even admits to funding Hamas himself with Israeli taxpayers money that was later used to kill the same people who were funding them.
In 1987 when an Israeli military truck collided with a Palestinian vehicle killing four Palestinians in the car accident the first Intifada started.
In the same year of 1987 during the Intifada Hamas was founded and even staged its first attack on Israel in 1988, abducting and killing two IDF soldiers.
All the sudden Israel no longer saw Hamas as an asset but, as a terror group equal in comparison with the PLO.
Car accident at the Erez crossing caused mass protests in the following months leading to the people being involved in violent riots against the IDF. Other sources claim the trigger for the first intifada was the Gliders operation when terrorists infiltrated Israeli territory with a glider from southern Lebanon resulting in the deaths of six Israeli soldiers.
By the end of the first Intifada coinciding with the Madrid Conference in 1991 resulted with many Palestinians disillusioned with the PLO because 1,200 Palestinians had been killed during the first Intifada.
Many Palestinians saw the PLO as weak since they started a dialog with Israel so a large amount of Palestinians had been killed many started to see Hamas as a better political option than the PLO.
Hamas gained more support since they still refused to even acknowledge Israel’s right to exist as a political entity many Palestinians started to support them since their 1988 charter stated the complete denial of Israel’s existence in its charter.
Following the Oslo Accords Hamas only increased its attacks on Israeli military and civilian targets with the more people they murdered the more support they received from the Palestinian public while the PLO was continually as a corrupt entity that many Palestinians even today call the Palestinian Authority, ” The Israelis.”
Hamas became even more dangerous during the Second intifada when they were responsible for several suicide bombings across Israel in the early 2000s.
Death of many Israeli citizens led to the attempted assassination of Khaled Mashaal in Jordan who was stabbed with a poisonous syringe in Jordan in broad daylight by Mossad agents who were caught.
Possible diplomatic crisis and execution of the Mossad agents by the Jordanian government forced Israel to trade Shiekh Yassin for the Mossad agents as well as provide the antidote for Khaled Mashaal subsequently saving his life in the process.
Shiekh Yassin was still a serious threat to Israel that in 2004 an IDF Apache Helicopter shot hellfire missiles killing him instantly.
During the same period Israel launched operation Defensive Shield throughout the West bank which as a result brought IDF soldiers in areas they were not supposed to be in according to the Oslo Accords.
The result of the operation led to a significant decrease in the amount of terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank became gradually safer that today anyone can drive through highway 60 or highway 90 without fear of being murdered by a terrorist.
Israel did not do the same thing in Gaza and eliminate Hamas as a terrorist entity. Instead Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 all of its citizens and military which acted as a buffer between the Gaza Strip and the rest of Israel.
Hamas took advantage of the weakness of Israel and used this to their advantage for propaganda purposes that through their armed resistance they were able to kick out the Israeli’s from Gaza.
2006 Elections Hamas won the majority of seats in the Palestinian Parliament garnering 76 seats out of 132 with the PA only receiving 43 seats. This resulted in a large civil war in the Gaza Strip where Hamas threw PA opponents off rooftops.
In the West Bank because of the Israeli control Hamas was unable to take control and overthrew the PA since Israel used both the military and the General Security Service to arrested and monitor Hamas activists throughout the West Bank.
Even though today people like Tayseer Abu Sneineh who was responsible for killing 6 people at the Beit Hadassah is the Mayor of Hebron ever since 2017 and won the mayoral race on the platform of having committed a terror attack in 1980.
Current situation in the West Bank will never get the level of Gaza because of the Jewish communities scattered throughout the area and large military and Shin Bet presence makes it close to impossible for an organized terrorist cell to carry out an attack that would severely inflict damage on multiple people.
Gaza is an Islamic state controlled completely by Hamas, there close to nothing the Israeli military can do since Israel is no longer controlling the area.
Israel is going to have to eventually eliminate Hamas and run a serious military campaign to reoccupy the Gaza Strip, return the Jews who were expelled and make a new Operation of Defensive shield to eliminate the terror threat Hamas poses.
Invasion of the Gaza strip will result in large army causalities if the IDF wants to minimize civilian causalities or large civilian casualties if it wants to minimize IDF causalities.
No present Israeli administration wants to deal with either the backlash from the Israeli public or the backlash of the international community so the current strategy for the short term future is to maintain quiet in the south of Israel by having a limited military incursions when Hamas acts up.
Eventually Israel will have to make a large military campaign because the way things are presently going Hamas will eventually build up a more powerful military power with a large amount of Rockets which can overwhelm the Iron dome system and build up enough people with weapons to storm the border and infiltrate into Israel killing any Jewish person they see in their path.
Hamas has large financial backing of both Iran and Qatar and ever since their founding from a small group of terrorists in 1987, today they are a terrorist military with a division of different units along with special forces are trained in both weapons and hand to hand combat.
Not only are they a terror group with military capabilities but they also have a large public relations through social media websites and have many people around the would who sympathize and support them in western countries.
Hamas flags can be seen at Pro-Palestinian protests throughout college campuses in North America and Europe where Hamas flags are waved and calls for a third Intifada.
Israel has created this monster and will one day have to deal with its complete elimination, the only thing is when this happens due to Hamas’ international support and military prowess Israel will have to deal with public backlash for its soldiers killed and international backlash for civilians killed, but it will eventually have to take action because Israel can not continue to co-exist with a terror state inside itself that continues to be a threat to its own citizens.
Tharoor, Ishaan. “How Israel Helped Create Hamas.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 30 July 2014, www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/07/30/how-israel-helped-create-hamas/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.1a36e2212f82.
Theintercept. “Blowback: How Israel Went From Helping Create Hamas to Bombing It.” The Intercept, 19 Feb. 2018, theintercept.com/2018/02/19/hamas-israel-palestine-conflict/.
Kollerstrom, Nick, et al. “How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas.” The Truthseeker, www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/?p=101701.