The Saudis were never fond of Hamas, but denouncing them as a terrorist organization right along with the Muslim Brotherhood, as Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir did on Tuesday, was a real bombshell.
A bombshell, but an exception: Arab wrath on Qatar is over relations with Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood and other organizations, it’s not about Hamas, and the terror-blacklist issued Thursday by four of the Qatar crisis architects (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE and Bahrain) corroborates that: No mention of Hamas.
Qatar persistently maintains that it “Opposes terrorism in all its forms” while it’s no secret it supports Hamas to the tune of billions of dollars. It’s all perfectly logic, as Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani explained on Saturday, saying that Hamas is not at all a terrorist organization, but “Legitimate resistance”.
Hamas’ actions, for years, has precisely fit what comes to mind when thinking of terrorism: Blown-up buses, suicide vests, rocket attacks, child abuse. All that history put aside, ISIS operatives ramming and stabbing their victims on London Bridge in precise copycat action to Hamas’ ramming and stabbing of Israelis, illustrates a perfect overlap between Hamas and what is seen, right now and universally, as pure evil.
For the Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, things had to reach this level of chilling resemblance for clarity to hopefully sink in. In 2009 Corbyn called for the removal of Hamas from the UK terror list, and memorably called Hamas “My friends”. But as regrettable as it is for a British leader with claims to the premiership to be so close to supporting the very terrorism that hits his constituents, it is no surprise that Qatar, and the Muslim world at large, are blind to Hamas’ terrorism, just because it’s directed at Israel.
But terroristic behavior works both outwards and inwards, as stories from the lands of ISIS illustrate with gruesome clarity. Just like ISIS, Hamas controls a territory and terrorizes its population in order to enforce commitment to its self-destructive religious ideas. Just two weeks ago Zvi Bar’el reported in Ha’aretz about his encounter with a community of some 4,500 refugees from Hamas’ Gaza, living in Athens, each carrying their physical scars or memories of loved ones who perished at the hands of Hamas. One of them complained to Bar’el that “All the world cares for are the Syrian refugees, never about us”.
For one, Qatar clearly doesn’t care about Hamas’ refugees, it finances their oppressor.
In 2014, the Beirut-based Institute for Palestine Studies reported that 140 people, mostly children, died in the construction of Hamas’ military tunnels, much like expendable slaves in the ancient world, or foreign workers building Qatar’s soccer stadiums for FIFA’s 2022 world cup. This is the balance Hamas strikes between the importance of its military infrastructure and the importance of the lives of Gazans.
The word “Terrorism” is not used in the Muslim world to imply a moral stance. It’s an opportunistic term used in the sectarian battlefield to define enmities and exert blame. This is clear from Assa’d stubborn line of defense that the ruthless decimation of the Syrian Sunni population is in fact his battle with terrorists, and from Iran’s pledge to fight (Sunni) terrorism in light of last week’s attacks in Tehran, while its proxies are busy generating (Shi’ite) terror in quite a few hot-spots around the world.