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HAMAS and Israel: Conflicting Strategies of Group-Based Politics
Strategic Studies Inst. U.S. Army War College ^ | Dec. 2008 | Dr. Sherifa D. Zuhur

Posted on 01/05/2009 8:17:08 PM PST by nuconvert

HAMAS and Israel: Conflicting Strategies of Group-Based Politics

Authored by Dr. Sherifa D. Zuhur.

This is an excerpt of the summary without endnotes. The original summary with endnotes can be found in the full text PDF. (The full text is over 100 pages)

The conflict between Palestinians and Israelis has heightened since 2001, even as any perceived threat to Israel from Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, or even Syria, has declined. Israel, according to Chaim Herzog, Israel's sixth President, had been "born in battle" and would be "obliged to live by the sword." Yet, the Israeli government's conquest and occupation of the West Bank and Gaza brought about a very difficult challenge, although armed resistance on a mass basis was only taken up years later in the Intifadha. Israel could not tolerate Palestinian Arabs' resistance of their authority on the legal basis of denial of self-determination, and eventually preferred to grant some measures of self-determination while continuing to consolidate control of the Occupied Territories, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. However, a comprehensive peace, shimmering in the distance, has eluded all, even as inter-Israeli and inter-Palestinian divisions deepened as peace danced closer before retreating.

Israel's stance towards the democratically-elected Palestinian government headed by HAMAS in 2006, and towards Palestinian national coherence--legal, territorial, political, and economic--has been a major obstacle to substantive peacemaking. The reasons for recalcitrant Israeli and HAMAS stances illustrate both continuities and changes in the dynamics of conflict since the Oslo period (roughly 1994 to the al-Aqsa Intifadha of 2000). Now, more than ever, a long-term truce and negotiations are necessary. These could lead in stages to that mirage-like peace, and a new type of security regime.

The rise in popularity and strength of the HAMAS (Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya, or Movement of the Islamic Resistance) Organization and its interaction with Israel is important to an understanding of Israel's "Arab" policies and its approach to counterterrorism and counterinsurgency. The crisis brought about by the electoral success of HAMAS in 2006 also challenged Western powers' commitment to democratic change in the Middle East because Palestinians had supported the organization in the polls. Thus, the viability of a two-state solution rested on an Israeli acknowledgement of the Islamist movement, HAMAS, and on Fatah's ceding power to it.

Shifts in Israel's stated national security objectives (and dissent over them) reveal HAMAS' placement at the nexus of Israel's domestic, Israeli-Palestinian, and regional objectives. Israel has treated certain enemies differently than others: Iran, Hizbullah, and Islamist Palestinians (whether HAMAS, supporters of Islamic Jihad, or the Islamic Movement inside Israel) all fall into a particular rubric in which Islamism--the most salient and enduring socio-religious movement in the Middle East in the wake of Arab nationalism--is identified with terrorism and insurgency rather than with group politics and identity. The antipathy to religious fervor was somewhat ironic in light of Israel's own expanding "religious" (haredim) groups. In Israel's earlier decades, Islamic identity politics were understood and successfully repressed, as Israelis did not want to allow any repetition of the Palestinian Mufti's nationalism or the Qassamiyya (the armed brigades in the 1936-39 rebellion).

Yet at the same time, identity politics and religious attitudes were not eradicated, but were inside of Israel, bringing about great inequality as well as physical and psychological separation of the Jewish and non-Jewish populations. This represented efforts to control politically and physically the now 20 percent Arab minority, and dealt with the demographic threat constantly spoken of in Israel by warding off intermarriage, limiting property control and rights, and physical access. Still today, some Israeli politicians call for an exodus by Palestinian-Israelis (so-called Arab-Israelis) in some areas, who they wish would resettle in the West Bank, in the permitted areas of course.

(Con't at link - this is about 1/2 of it)

TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: armywarcollege; barf; hamas; islam; israel; jihad; sherifadzuhur; usarmywarcollege; zuhur
I think the 2nd 1/2 is more disturbing/troubling.

I'm interested how others interpret this piece.

1 posted on 01/05/2009 8:17:09 PM PST by nuconvert
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To: nuconvert

I’m not remotely optimistic about this. This will end up going as badly as Lebanon in ‘06: the only result is that Hamas will be cemented in.

2 posted on 01/05/2009 8:21:48 PM PST by fstab
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To: fstab

If you want to get rid of Hamas & Hezbollah, you have to get rid of the Iranian regime.

3 posted on 01/05/2009 8:32:50 PM PST by nuconvert ( Khomeini promised change too // Hail, Chairman O)
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To: nuconvert

Regardless of the nationality, if a raghead fires a missile at you and hits you, you’re dead whether it’s a Syrian raghead, an Egyptian sheethead, a Palestinian wearing a table napkin on his noggin or an Iranian wearing a Kotex on his kabob.

Splitting hairs is a great way to derail a useful conversation. Nevertheless, Arabs are trying to destroy the country of Israel and although Israel defeated them and held onto strategic lands, they still moan and groan about the land and call it “occupied” like it was stolen, not won.

Screw ‘em.

4 posted on 01/05/2009 8:59:33 PM PST by Rembrandt
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To: Rembrandt

I don’t know if you finished the article ....did you find the writer to be a bit anti-Israel?

5 posted on 01/05/2009 9:04:40 PM PST by nuconvert ( Khomeini promised change too // Hail, Chairman O)
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To: All


PAJAMAS - blog: "STRATEGIC COLLAPSE AT THE ARMY WAR COLLEGE A faculty member publicly defends Hamas while students are not allowed to read text on militant Islam." by Patrick Poole (January 14, 2009)
STRATEGIC STUDIES "HAMAS and Israel: Conflicting Strategies of Group-Based Politics" -Authored by Dr. Sherifa D. Zuhur (Added December 23, 2008)


Link (pdf)

6 posted on 01/23/2009 12:03:17 AM PST by Cindy
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