Israeli support for Hamas

Professor Anthony H. Cordesman [4], who currently holds the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Washington, DC-based Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), has near-conclusively demonstrated Israel’s systematic financial and monetary aid to Hamas, which began in the late 1970s. According to internal documents published several years ago by the Israel-based Institute for Counter Terrorism [5], in 1978 Israeli authorities allowed Hamas co-founder Sheikh Ahmed Ismail Yassin to establish the group under its early name, “Islamic Center”, in Israel. A few years later, during the Iran-Contra Affair (1985-1986), Israel acted as Washington’s conduit in supplying US-made weapons to Iran and then channeling the profits to the Contras paramilitary mercenaries fighting Nicaragua’s Sandinista government. Israel did so in full knowledge of the fact that the Iranian government was at that time Hamas’ primary military supplier. As a result, Hamas even today uses numerous US-made weapons in its operations in Israel and the Palestinian territories, channeled to it by Israel, through Iran. According to Richard Sale, Terrorism Correspondent for United Press International, who has studied the internal documents, Israel’s active support for the militant group actually intensified after Iran’s Islamic Revolution caused Hamas’ popularity to boom in Palestine [5].

A Rational Policy

The reason for this unorthodox alignment between Israel and Hamas was strategically rational: it reflected a conscious attempt by the Israeli intelligence services to establish a viable opposition to Yasser Arafat’s Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). By the late 1970s, the secular and leftist disposition of Arafat’s leadership was gradually attracting support for the Palestinian cause from far beyond the relatively narrow confines of the Arab World. Indeed, in 1988, when the PLO executive committee in Algiers declared the independence of the nation of Palestine, nearly 100 countries recognized it, including the entire Arab World, most of Africa, nearly all of Asia (including India), Cyprus, as well as the entire Socialist Bloc. Brazil, Australia and virtually all Western European nations welcomed official Palestinian Delegations on their territory. By aiding Hamas, Israel hoped that the militant group’s Islamist ideology would eventually damage the near-universal appeal of the Palestinian liberation struggle. Moreover, by promoting Hamas’ operational ties with the Khomeini regime in Tehran, Israel desired to associate in Washington’s eyes the Palestinian struggle with the fundamentalist ideology of the Iranian theocrats.

Which is, in fact, exactly what happened. Israel’s exiling of Arafat and the PLO leadership to Lebanon and Tunisia, until 1994, allowed Hamas to roam free in the Palestinian territories, which in turn enabled the militant faction to become the most active political and religious institution inside the Palestinian lands. By 2005, when Arafat died, Hamas was powerful enough to seriously threaten the PLO’s traditional supremacy in Palestine. The Palestinian civil war, which followed Hamas’ subsequent electoral victory, was the best possible outcome for all those —in Israel and elsewhere— who do not wish to see a unified and viable Palestinian state.

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Abdassamad Clarke is from Ulster and was formally educated at Edinburgh University in Mathematics and Physics, and in Cairo in Arabic and tajwid and other Islamic sciences. He accepted Islam at the hands of Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi in 1973. In the 80s he was secretary to the imam of the Dublin Mosque, and in the early 90s imam khatib of the Norwich Mosque, where he is currently an imam and teacher. He has translated the Muwatta of Imam Muhammad by Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ash-Shaybani (jointly with Muhammad Abdarrahman), which was published by Turath Publishing at the end of July 2004 and a number of other works from Arabic: al-Qawl al-mu'tamad fi mashru'iyyat adh-dhikr bi'l-ism al-mufrad by Shaykh al-Alawi on the standing in Shari’ah of using the divine name in dhikr, which was published by Diwan Press as first part of The Two Invocations and since republished by Madinah Press, The History of the Khalifahs (the chapters on the Khulafa ar-Rashidun from as-Suyuti’s Tarikh al-Khulafa), the Complete Forty Hadith (translation of Imam an-Nawawi’s Forty Hadith along with the Imam’s explanation of their fiqh and linquistic usages) and Kitab al-Jami’ by Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (published as A Madinan View), Rijal – narrators of the Muwatta of Imam Muhammad, all published by Ta-Ha Publishers of London, Kitab al-athar by Imam Abu Hanifah and transmitted by Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ash-Shaybani (Turath Publishing 2006), The Compendium of Knowledge and Wisdom (a translation of Jami' al-'ulum wa'l-hikam by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, published by Turath Publishing 2007). In addition he has edited Aisha Bewley's translation of Ibn Hajar's abridgement of at-Targhib wa't-Tarhib, Ibn Taymiyyah's al-Kalim at-Tayyib both published by the UK Islamic Academy, Dr Asadullah Yate's translation of al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah, published by Ta-Ha Publishing and a number of other works. He is currently engaged with Suád Østergaard on a translation of the Qur’an into Danish, the first volume of which translated in collaboration with Jakob Werdelin, comprising Surat al-Fatihah, Surat al-Baqarah and Surah Ali ‘Imran, was recently published as Den gavmilde Qur’an: en fremlægning of de tre første suraer by Havens Forlag of Copenhagen. Translations yet to be published include Traditions of the Sunnah (Athar as-sunan) by Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Ali an-Nimawi (jointly with Mawlana In'amuddin), to be published by Turath Publishing Ltd. Among his unpublished translations are the Sciences of Tafsir comprising portions of Ibn Juzayy al-Kalbi’s Qur’anic commentary at-Tashil li ‘ulum at-tanzil, in particular his introductory sections on the essential elements of the sciences necessary for tafsir. He is author of a number of children’s books, The Year of the Elephant, The Great Victory and The Last Battle all of which are on the sirah of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, as well as The Story of Stories about the Prophet Yusuf, peace be upon him, in which he drew a great deal on the commentary of Ibn Juzayy, may Allah be merciful to him. He has also a poem God is Dead published in the Minaret journal of Stockholm, Sweden, and an as-yet unpublished collection of short stories called Tales Are Like That, and a novel called The Wings of the Butterfly. Abdassamad is a teacher of both adults and children in Qur’an recitation (tajwid) and meanings, Arabic language and the deen in general, most recently having organised and taken part in a conference under the auspices of Islamic Events of London on the History of the Islamic Khalifate, and having given discourses in London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Jena, Weimar, Copenhagen and the Midlands. 18 April, 2007 0:03

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