In the context of the Egyptian effort to reach a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas, there is an implicit acknowledgment that what is happening in Gaza is not part of the tragic conflict which is supposed to be about the Palestinian cause.
The “Palestinian cause” is the comprehensive heading of a tragedy that some believe could blur the difference between its human aspect and its political manifestations, an issue where security measures are allowed to be more important than existential challenges, such as the right of return.
When Hamas emerged, it was not part of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, nor was it fit to be so, as it was a movement that combined religious and political dimensions. Also, its foreign ideological affiliations did not allow it to reach an understanding with other resistance factions. So it could not hide nor cover up the fact it was separate from the rest.
It is all about the movement’s political project, which was not patriotic, despite the fact that the liberation of Palestine was its declared goal. Before its dispute with the Fatah movement, Hamas had injected into the debate notions beyond Palestinian political realities. Such notions could still to stir emotions, as was the case with the slogan of “From the river to the sea” and other mantras related to historic Palestine.
At the time, Hamas appealed to those angry at the Oslo process and its Palestinian supporters. The agreement, which reduced President Yasser Arafat in size, from a historical leader to the governor of a province that does not enjoy any kind of sovereignty, was outside the pale of Palestinian popular imagination, which was shaped by a mixture of human suffering and armed struggle.
The Palestinians felt that their leadership had thrown away the precious time during which they had struggled to preserve their identity and recover their rights.
However, Hamas, due to its ideological affinities, was not the appropriate national response to the Oslo process. It represented a drain on the Palestinian effort, which was reflected in the divisions over what it sought to achieve with weapons. This confused Palestinians who became divided over who stands with the Islamic resistance movement or who is against it.
If one stood with it, one erred away from the Palestinian nationalist compass, and if one stood against it, one was perceived as opposing the resistance. Hamas is not solely responsible for this thorny and complex situation. The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority shares in the blame. It may even be the one that paved the way for all the failures that the Palestinian cause has witnessed, the repercussions of which were in the interest of the Zionist settler project.
However, Hamas, which opposes the Oslo Accords, did not bring the Palestinians closer to their cause. Instead, it widened the gap between them and that cause, Hamas being since its inception an armed front for Iran. Thus, it made the worst move possible when it replaced the Zionist project with the Iranian project. When the Iranians claim Hamas as their army they are not exaggerating.
Hamas is similar in its affiliation to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, much like Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen and the Popular Mobilisation Forces in Iraq. When Ismail Haniyeh conducted his latest war against Israel from Doha, he was receiving orders directly from Tehran.
Therefore, any indirect dialogue sponsored by Egypt between Israel and Hamas necessarily has to have Iran as a party, if not the most influential party. What Iran desires and hopes is implemented by Hamas, to the point of being the mailman between the two enemies and represents one of the two belligerents in the showdown.
In its conflict with Israel, Hamas represents Iran and has nothing to do with the Palestinian cause. It can be viewed as an armed Iranian militia operating in the context of a regional conflict. In this, it has become clear that the involvement of the Palestinians is necessary in order for the circle of Iranian hegemony to expand and for Iran to appear in a size beyond its real dimensions. Iran, which is a sponsor of gangs and financier of death squads, no longer talks about its geographical borders, but rather about the limits of its ideological scope.
The Egyptian position, although it involves some political wisdom, does not serve the interests of the Palestinian cause. Hamas has replaced Palestine and Israel can no longer be held accountable for what it is doing to the Palestinians, people and land.
Source » thearabweekly