Nancy Hartevelt Kobrin
Psychoanalyst & Counter Terrorist Expert

Hamas’ ‘Metro’ – Part II Form Follows Function, Function Follows Fantasy

War Blog #22 (revised 09.11.23

I wrote the following at Substack James M. Dorsey’s The Turbulent World concerning Hamas’s behavior 06.11.23 where I emphasized the need to look at early childhood where early feelings, i.e. affect are experienced and carried over into adulthood:

The big problem is the messy* triad of affect i.e early feelings during infancy and the first years up until age 3 + language + cognition. When you grow up in a shame-honor culture this derails the thinking process yielding paranoia due to trauma by age 3. In Arab Muslim culture one must willfully cleanse honor with blood. Compare this to the Talmud Baba Matzia in which it is written — if you shame someone in public it is as if you have spilled blood. These are two very different cultures. What is happening in Gaza from a Rabbinic perspective is justice war. I find it incomprehensible that little attention has been paid to infant research. This is why there were horrific beheadings of babies and children at Kfar Aza and yet virtually no understand as to who created these Hamas “Zarqawis” and why Israel should tolerate such “neighbors.”


Generally analysts and the lay public look at and talk about behavior BUT they fail to explore the motivators for violent behavior. Those motivators involve the “messy” triad of affect which means early, early feelings in utero through say age 3 + language (its development during this crucial time when the brain is quadrupling in size) + cognition, how the triad comes to give birth to thinking ranging from healthy positive thinking towards life or thrown back into the pit of negative thinking that the world is unsafe and you are always being attacked, the perception of someone who is paranoid. This is all in place by age three.

Vamik Volkan a leading Turkish Muslim psychoanalyst, has written extensively on the subject that the need to hate and the need to have an enemy is in place by age 3. However, unfortunately there is little treatment of the relationship of the mother to the creation of an environmentally unsafe early childhood as what one finds in shame honor cultures which occur routinely throughout the Ummah, the global Muslim world. The estimated population of the Ummah is around 1.5 Billion – that is a lot of people at risk for growing up in a shaming environment leaving one paranoid always having to blame the Jew who is their externalized shock absorber for rage as well as to some extent Christians, Hindus and other “infidels,” i.e. who do not embrace Islam. Within the group their own females play the role of the scapegoat as in honor killing along with gays and others.

Mosab Hassan Youssef, the son of Hamas, the Green Prince has repeatedly said – that the greatest enemy is shame and yet few listen to the ramification of what that means.

Why do I turn to this adage now – Form follows function and function follows fantasy?

Because to do so might just help in understanding the psychosis of Hamas. In an earlier War Blog # 16 entitled Hamas’s Fuel “Issue” – Could Hamas be running on empty? I proposed that the Metro i.e. their elaborate tunnel system created under Gaza City is a concrete representation of their psychosis. I stated that it is as if as little boys they were told to create a model of their group mind. So they went home and created using concrete the model of their mind – this elaborate, intricate system of tunnels.

94% of thinking is unconscious. Ok so the 6% of conscious thinking relates to Hamas being allegedly “rational” actors who even duped the Israeli fellow who for years worked with them for the release of the hostage Gilad Shalit. But what about the other 94%? That’s unconscious. The unconscious is fantasy life and it is rich as it can also be violent BUT the big difference is that thinkers who really have integrated the three-part, “triad” of affect + language + cognition, do not act out making concrete literally “concrete” models of their unconscious rage but rather a positive engagement with the world.

Because of Hamas coming from a hyper shame-honor culture, they never made the positive steps forward in life. They remained held back by their negative affects never learning to be positive because they have never experienced basic trust and the creativity and interest to make humanity better. Instead what you see is the direct opposite – annihilation and destruction.

Many say that Israel is creating genocide – no Israel is simply speaking in Hama-ese, the only language that Hamas understands. Like the Nazis and the Japanese, Hamas must be completely destroyed because otherwise they will continue to attack. The sad thing is that the Palestinian Gazans know this but they are too terrified and immobilized to be able to take on Hamas. So ironically the dhimmi Jew, their infidel i.e. the IDF will be the one to liberate the Palestinian Gazans. Even Musab Hassan Youssef agrees with all of this.

To conclude:
The problem of Hamas’s rage which exceeds murder itself along with its PMS i.e. primitive mental states which I characterize as highly paranoid must be recognized and understood why Hamas cannot be trusted. If we don’t begin to deal with the 94% of unconscious thinking and its nonverbal communication, the problem will not be contained and managed concerning jihad. This is something that the famous Israeli negotiator for the release of Gilad Shalit failed to understand as the handwriting was on the wall for a long long time. Yigal Carmon and Ret. Gen. Brik got it but few others. Remember – Form Follows Function and Function Follows Fantasy. Not to remember this keeps one in denial. The fantasy life of Hamas as ugly and inhumane as it is must be accounted. Bottom line up front – Hamas is psychotic and all those who scream “From the river to the sea” show us that they too have this developmental deficit of the need to hate and the need to have an enemy by age three. The Islamic “Masse und Macht” shows us too, unbeknownst to themselves that they have a well encapsulated psychosis which buried within their personalities. Hamas ignites the mob’s sadism and you hear their rage. They are not individuated nor separated. Limits must be set with them and their anti-semitism cannot be tolerated.

*messy triad – I borrow the term from the work of Paul Holinger, M.D., M.P.H. whose book is forthcoming – Affects, Cognition and Language as Foundations of Human Development. Dr. Holinger’s book is a gift to humanity. Everyone should read it.


About the Author
Dr. Kobrin made aliyah in 2010 and is an internationally renowned counterterrorism expert and psychoanalyst holding a PhD in Islamic literature, aljamía 16th c. Author of five books. She has conducted prison interviews, a former military contractor with an academic appointment as external expert at La Universidad de Granada. She is a senior research analyst for The Islamic Theology of Counter Terrorism Center. She also works in citizen diplomacy. In August 2020 she was the first Israeli to be live-streamed from Islamabad.