The legitimated road of Hamas – what have we lost?

On the morning of Friday June 15, 2007 on the streets of Gaza they experienced a stir that changed Palestinian political reality. This event was based on the conflict since the year 2006 on the Gaza Strip between the two sides, Fatah and Hamas.

The rivalry between these two started in the 80’s and developed over the years, but that Friday something happened before our eyes.  This organization that until now was considered a terrorist organization began to take significant positions in the control from the main north-south road and the coast road.

Although Hamas won the elections in 2006, this was not an obstacle for its Fatah opponents who started with a wave of aggressive events with the intention of stripping them of power.  This conflict lasted until 2007 to our surprise with the victory of Hamas, which not only had its roots in government but also became a strong military force against Fatah, who was not prepared and underestimated them as the rest of the world did.

The Hamas history is the typical story in which the Western world did not wanted to see how this kind of organization strengthened and failed to find out certain aspects from the behavior within the Palestinian community. Failing to decipher what was being developed within the Palestinian community itself.

Many years ago Promoted by the Muslim Brothers the so-called Dawa institution was created within the mosques. This institution aims to introduce the Muslim community by preaching through various activities in the social field as in educational, welfare, charity and sport. The first Dawa institution arrived in Gaza in the early 70’s and amongst  its first students and volunteer activists who where  captivated by this organization  was Áhmed Yasin, who 15 years later became the leader and spiritual image of the famous terrorist organization in question. Hamas.

Under the same doctrine, Áhmed Yasin created in the “Shati” refugee camp located in the north of the Gaza Strip, an institution which he called the “Islamic Center”.  This institution got financial support from the Muslim Brothers and members of the same organization residing in Europe and the United States.

Through out the 1980s and early 1990s Israel along with the rest of the Western countries contributed to the development of the Islamic Center and granted them a legal status. The fantasy was that in this way they could win in two arenas. The first one was that the Islamic center taking responsibility within the weakest sectors of society and also the replacement of the PLO organization that at the moment was considered a threat and a terrorist organization. Amongst the events that strengthened the Islamic Center was the indifference of the world when it took power of the Islamic University. The same that was founded by Yasser Arafat and which represented his greatest pride.

Former Israel’s   Minister of Defense at the time Yitzhak Rabin used to meet in his Tel Aviv offices with representatives of the Islamic Center.  These meetings also included high-ranking military personnel who like Yitzhak Rabin, saw a Positive alternative in which they could cooperate in the future.

In 1988, with the beginning of the first Hamas Intifada Dr. Mahmoud az-Zahar a member of the Islamic Center, continued to frequent Yitzhak Rabin’s office in order to derive Israeli investments into the Palestinian public media. Using the Islamic Center as a mediator. Months after these meetings where Israel was advised by the West and without analyzing what was actually fomenting violence on Palestinian soil.  The same Islamic Center declared its agreement with Hamas calling for the destruction of Israel.

We must remember that the same Islamic Center which its members later become an organic part of Hamas was born from the social classes represented by the Dawa initiative. A already solid representative organization. Hamas works From schools, hospitals and mosques which eventually were used as a Human-shield against confrontations with Israel and  at that time of each conflict Israel has to confront with a dilemma of attacking or not. Israel always had to take into account and more than once as a country and it’s military morals how to maintain a war with the least amount of damage to the Palestinian population. This led to several Israeli governments to prevent themselves from continuing to attack but from the eye of the enemy this was perceived from another point of view. This attitude strengthened Hamas who used the world’s naivety to work freely in it’s favor, making it clear that this was with in a freedom that was given by the Western world not wanting to see how it would be affected by it’s actions.

Today, Hamas continues to expand its influence in the same way, astute, slow and planning strategy till the point that the UN itself made a commission to analyze whether or not to consider this organization as a terrorist. How could we alert the world to this? How can we stop the fact that within 20 years Hamas has official branches in other parts of the world? Perhaps they are already beginning their journey to assume control in other countries as well.

About the Author
Gaston Saidman was born in Argentina and arrived in Israel at the age of 12. After his Military Service, he served as the Chairman of the young Latin American Committee of Latin American olim Organization. Today he is acting as the General Manager of FOILAT Organization, which is developing a Parliament Lobby in the Israeli Knesset to strengthen the Diplomatic relations between Israel and Latin America. He is also involved in other activities such as the Smart Middle East Forum, and a new movement that will develop Public Diplomatic projects with other young and Zionist activist.
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