Sunday, July 22, 2007

Where did Hamas go wrong!

Hamas as a Palestinians organization is not known for taking smart and strategic decision with long lasting impact on its programs, or agenda.

No one can ever deny Hamas the right to carry arms and fight the occupying Israel army and fight such an army to gain freedom and independence. The right to resist and fight an occupying army is an absolute right not even Israel or the US could ever deny that to Hamas or to any other group fighting the occupation. The French, the Dutch, the Finns, the Hungarians, the Greeks, the Americans, and I will even go further by including the Jewish militias that fought the British Mandate authority as an occupying power. The fact that the occupying army or the country is Israel or Jewish should not make much difference. The right to resist and fight the occupation using weapons and arms is an absolute right. Killing civilians is an absolute wrong period, no if or but.

Hamas and other Palestinian organizations did make a big mistake and crossed the redline between fighting an occupying army and engaging in crimes against civilians and the use of suicide bombing to kill innocent civilians, even if these civilians happens to be Israelis, Jewish or unarmed settlers. In my opinion, armed settlers are included in the category of an occupying army and as such the rights to fight such settlers is covered under international laws and treaties.

I always warned and spoke out against the deliberate targeting and killings of innocent civilians and the use of suicide bombing to kill and maim Israelis. I always spoke out against the use of suicide bombing as a weapon of choice to fight the Israeli Occupation. Killing and maiming innocent people riding a public bus or eating in a restaurant or having a coffee in a café is absolutely wrong, legally, morally and religiously is simply wrong. There is never, ever any justification to using terror as a means of fighting the occupation. Yes, I do know that Jewish militias and gangs engaged actively in terror and that some Israeli prime ministers are well known terrorists, yet this does not justify the Palestinians engaging in terror activities. Hamas was not well advised when it engaged in this activities leading to its classifications as a terrorist organization.

The other thing wrong Hamas committed was its decision to enter Palestinian politics under Oslo thinking it can rewrite the rules of engagement and rewriting the agreements of Fatah and the PLO. Hamas once made the decision to enter local Palestinians politics and run for the Palestine Legislative Council should have transformed itself from a resistance organization to a political organization. It seems that Hamas forgot to read one key provision of Oslo that Arafat signed. Forget about armed resistance and renounce the use of weapons and terror to gain more freedoms under occupation. Fighting the Israeli occupying army is simply wrong under Oslo. Arafat gave that up.

Hamas simply failed to understand key provisions of Oslo and failed to understand the dynamics that makes up the Palestinian Authority. Hamas should have known better and should have accepted the rules of the game and should have anticipated that the world will ask it to recognize Israel. Hamas was not ready for prime time and its leaders are immature to be in the same game with Israel. It takes lots of smart to outsmart Israel.

Hamas handling of the recognition issue was very immature and came little too late. Addressing the issue of recognition and armed resistance should have been the first thing that Hamas should have tackled. And should have tackled the issue of its labeling as terrorist organization by George Bush and Israel heads on. It did not.

Then came the formation of the government. Hamas should have known better that Fatah having lost the election remains under legal obligation to deliver under its security contract with Israel and was not about to let go of control over all security organizations. Control of these security organizations was a must if Fatah is to continue to receive payments under Oslo. They failed to understand this issue when they should have known that control over the security organization was what led Abbas to quit as prime minister when Arafat refused to let go of the security organizations, of course for different and obvious reasons.

Hamas did not use the people discontent and disgust with Palestinian security organizations such as the infamous Preventive Security Organization, and organization that is made up of thugs and is used as a racketeering organization. Hamas did not make a good public case for its reasons to take over security organizations, making the fight with Fatah over security organization as a fight over employment and payroll and not over public interest. I am sure that the people in both Gaza and the West Bank would have supported Hamas take over security organizations if Hamas did not behave the same way as Fatah. Saeed Syiam was not different from Mohamed Dahlan and Syiam wanted to take over the Preventive Security to perhaps get even with Dahlan and not in the interest of public order. Hamas did a very poor job of managing the conflict with Fatah over the security organizations, which are the core of Oslo. All the rest is of no value.

Hamas compounded its problems having failed to make an advance case with the public about the abuses and misuses of Preventive Security as a the main source of breakdown of law and order and complete sense of insecurity in Gaza and should have waged a good PR campaign before its misfits and thugs sweep in taking over the security organizations. Fatah exploited this making Hamas take over of the security organizations as a Coup d’etat and a take over Fatah shops is a take over of the PA institutions, making no distinction between shops of the PA and shops of Fatah and public institutions.

Hamas committed the ultimate mistakes when it killed and murdered members of Fatah, even if they were thugs in such callous manners without due regard for common decency and due regard to basic Islamic principals. It seems the criminal minds of Hamas won the day but lost the game. Hamas raw and criminal behaviors in dealing with members of Fatah, even if there were all criminals, do not justify the way Hamas dealt with them. Hamas should have used the opportunity for takeover to show it is completely different from the thugs of Fatah. Hamas should have known better and should not have allowed members of its Executive Force to behave the same way Preventive Security behaved and should have not allowed any of its forces to enter the offices and homes of Abbas and Arafat and should allowed its members to destroy public property, even if it belongs to the opposition. Hamas with this behavior have lost much of the good well it had in the public mind. Hamas forgot that it won the election not because of its armed resistance program but because the people where disgusted with Fatah and its corruption and failures. Hamas must not think of itself as the appointed representative of Allah in Gaza and think they can get away with murder.

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