Top 5 Differences between Hamas and ISIL (Pace Netanyahu)

By Juan Cole

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu delivered a speech at the UN to a half-empty hall in which he tried to exemplify the most logical fallacies in a short period of time.

Netanyahu’s message is that all political Islam is equivalent. Thus, if ISIL is a danger to the west, then the Hamas movement in Gaza is as well. And both of them are equivalent to Iran.

Hamas is a movement of political Islam that has often deployed violence, which it terms resistance to occupation and which Israel and the US see as terrorism. But the US State Department was quick to put distance between it and Netanyahu’s views, dissenting from his crazy quilt of equivalencies.

Here are the top 5 differences between Hamas and ISIL:

1. Hamas has foresworn attacks on the United States and other Western countries, presenting itself as a national liberation movement against Israeli military occupation (an occupation that has lasted since 1967 in Gaza). ISIL on the other hand has called on radicals to attack the US and Europe.

2. Hamas has joined a national unity government with the PLO. Some Hamas legislators hold that this step automatically results in an implicit Hamas recognition of Israel, insofar as Hamas delegates will be bound by PLO rules of discourse, and the latter recognize Israel. In contrast, no high-profile member of ISIL has done anything but attempt to foment more violence and to break all political deals.

3. Hamas has not concertedly attacked non-Muslims, and, in fact there has sometimes been good cooperation between it and the Eastern Orthodox church. In contrast, ISIL attempted to ethnically cleanse the Yazidis and has threatened Christians and other minorities.

4. Hamas has concluded ceasefires with Israel, however imperfect on both sides. ISIL was kicked out of al-Qaeda for declining ever to make a truce even with its own allies.

5. Hamas has a civilian wing that ran for elective office in 2006 and won the Palestine elections. ISIL has no civil wing and is profoundly opposed to holding elections by party.

Hamas is a horrible fundamentalist organization (created in part by Israeli conniving and by the horrible conditions under which Palestinians in Gaza are made to live by the Israeli government), but it isn’t ISIL. And neither is like Iran, which is a Shiite state (Hamas and ISIL are hard line Sunni fundamentalists). Netanyahu comes close to racism in painting all Muslims with an extremist brush that is for him invarying. His own Likud movement was perfectly willing to turn to terrorism when it did not get its way, but not all Zionists or all Israelis would have approved. Netanyahu is doing propaganda and so cannot afford insightful oppositions.


Related video:

AJ+ “Why Windows Aren’t Being Repaired In Gaza”

11 Responses

  1. One fundamentalist slighting two other fundamentalists. They’re both other to Netanyahu, so it is logical he nets hem together as one — psychologically its true for him though by definition he is unaware of his own contribution.

    He is thus assaulting Jews as much as Muslims. For people who think this way and employ such strategies also mean to terrorize their own people such that the herd tightens to defend itself from the other and the more this happens the more the inner violence made manifest in the overcrowding of the herd (terror) is projected outwards onto the scapegoat.

    And, I believe, he is also attempting to create negotiating space so, to put it simply to be succinct, he has something to give up without giving up Gaza.

  2. “Hamas (was) created in part by Israeli conniving……….”

    While this is true and that Hamas collaborated with the Israeli governor during the late 1970s and early 80s, Israel saw the P.L.O. as the greater problem and sought Hamas as a counterbalance, but later the growth of Hamas was fueled by negligence and policy failures of the Israeli government.

    In the period 1989 through 1992, literally hundreds of Gazan members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad were deported to Lebanon as punishment for initiating the First Intifada.

    The United Nations Security Council condemned this action of Israel by unanimous vote.

    The deportations backfired when the deportees formed relationships with the Hezbollah terror organization and this would fuel further violence against Israeli interests.

    Further, the targeted killings during the Second Intifada of Hamas’ civilian wing leaders, such as Dr. Rantissi, backfired as these assassinations empowered the more militant military wing of Hamas and, also, led to greater cooperation and cohesion between Hamas and the more radical and violent Islamic Jihad of Palestine, an organization modeled after the Iranian Shia form of political Islam; this result was predicted by Israel’s own anti-terrorism experts, but not heeded by the Likud-led government at the time.

    Hamas and Islamic Jihad both endorsed the Israeli Gaza disengagement plan of Ariel Sharon implemented in 2005, which denied the P.L.O. an an orderly transition of power from IDF Civil Administration rule. As a result of this, P.L.O leaders never had established firm control over Gaza as a governing entity and Hamas effectuated a violent full takeover in 2007, jailing and torturing many leaders of the Fatah movement.

    Hamas has won support among Gazans for establishing scholarships and other educational opportunities for Gazan children, maintaining food distribution programs, and providing monetary relief to Gazans who have had their homes destroyed by Israeli military activity.

    “(Hamas) is neither like Iran, which is a Shiite state (Hamas and ISIL are hard line Sunni fundamentalists)”

    Hamas has had financial assistance and weaponry supplied by Iran. It was the Iranian-manufactured Fajr missile with a 200-lb warhead that menaced Tel Aviv in November of 2012. Numerous Hamas leaders have visited Iran, including military wing chief Mohammed Deif, who received medical treatment there after being wounded in several assassination attempts by the IDF. Hamas’ main terror organization collaborator, Islamic Jihad of Palestine, is modeled after the Iranian version of political Islam, as stated above, even though most of its Gazan members are Sunni in orientation.

    The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency chief recently indicated that if Hamas is removed from power by Israel in Gaza – which Israel’s own senior leaders have said is difficult if not impossible – an extremist ISIL-like organization is likely to emerge as the pre-eminent power there.

    Hamas is a necessary party to any final status agreement between Palestinians and Israelis – and most Israeli moderate Knesset members have acknowledged this reality.

  3. Just a quibble with no. 3 – Hamas’ treatment of Christians is of course nowhere near as bad as that of the insane Daesh (must use that name – it annoys them). However, it is by no means good. Christians in Gaza are not having a good time under Hamas.

  4. re: “dissenting from his crazy quilt of equivalencies.”

    As a quilter and needle artist I have to object to debasing crazy quilts by relating them to Netanyahu. Crazy quilts are highly artistic, finely stitched collections of a family’s history and memories.

    Speaking of the needle arts and Gaza, I just became aware of the Palestinian History Tapestry Project

    The embroidery work displayed by these Palestinian women is exquisite. Perhaps they could devise the Bibi Buttonhole to silence that obnoxious rhetorician.

  5. ” As a result of this, P.L.O leaders never had established firm control over Gaza as a governing entity and Hamas effectuated a violent full takeover in 2007, jailing and torturing many leaders of the Fatah movement.” This description leaves out the context of the US & Israel backed coup attempt after Hamas won the election.

  6. The subject of this article or comparison suggests that there are similarities between the two entities but there are also differences. This is a way to put the two on the same level which I dont find to be reasonable. A more likely comparison is between Israel and ISIS. They are both killing civilians, they both ignore UN resolutions, they both occupy other people’s land, they both draw legitimacy based on religious grounds,etc.. Or what about a comparison between Saudi Arabia and ISIS? they are both based on Wahabbi doctrine, they are both established and expanded later using the sword and forcing other tribes to join or get killed, they both depend on Oil, they both claim to be the only true Muslims, I can go on and on…

    • “A more likely comparison is between Israel and ISIS. ” Interesting premise. Let’s test it out. First go to Tel Aviv and tell 100 random people that you are Christian and have no intention of converting to Judaism.
      Then go to Mosul but instead tell the people that you have no intention of convert to Islam.

      • It is interesting that you bring up this specific point because ISIS and Israel are quite similar in how they treat religious and ethnic minorities. So ISIS allows Christians to remain in Mosul without having to convert as long as they pay a special tax. ISIS treat Christians who decide to stay in Mosul as second degree citizens and they are not allowed to serve in the armed forces. Now let us look at how Israel treats Arabs Muslims and Christians who live in Tel Aviv or Haifa: Israel does not trust them to join the army, and treat like second degree citizens (they can’t move freely or rent/buy land/houses except in designated areas, among other restrictions).

  7. And the number one difference is that Hamas is fighting for land that Israel covets.

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