Sunday, January 21, 2024

Why Hamas Ideology Cannot Be Erased

There’s a reason Hamas and other extremist Muslim groups will never accept Israel’s existence: To do so would violate their version of Islam. 

Simply put: They believe any land once controlled by Islamic leaders can never be ceded to infidels; it is the duty of true believers to retake it. 

Their dedication to extreme Islam not only is a threat to Israel but also endangers all lands previously controlled by Muslims, such as all or parts of Spain, Portugal, Greece, Macedonia, Bosnia, Serbia, Albania, Moldavia, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria and Russia. 

Religious zealotry has been a motivating factor in warfare for millennia after millennia, distinct from the crass land and resource grabs of expansionist entities like the Roman and Mongolian empires, as well as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. 

The Bible informs that God decreed the conquest of Canaan to provide a home to the Israelites. Orthodox Jewish extremists in Israel rely on biblical texts to assert Jewish sovereignty over the West Bank. Spanish and Portuguese colonies in the Americas had the blessing of popes to mine riches and convert the indigenous. Mohammed forged Arabia into a proselytizing religious force across northern Africa and eastward into Persia, modern day Iran. His successors expanded Islam’s reach into the Iberian Peninsula to the west, the Caspian Sea to the east and, under the Ottomans, to the very gates of Vienna to the north with the (unsuccessful) siege of the Hapsburg capital in 1683. 

All that domination by Islamic forces has left a modern day conundrum. While predominantly all Muslims have tolerant relations with Western nations, extremist offshoots do not. They even battle other non extremist Muslim factions.

Islam often is proclaimed as a religion of peace, but to Islam’s extremists it is peace on its terms, not the peace of Western Enlightenment civilization.  

Isis, al-Qaeda and the Taliban are noteworthy examples of militant extremism. In Hamas’ case, the rejection of Israel is centered on an Islamic Waqf, a form of permanent endowment that cannot be repealed. Land once under control by Muslims cannot be considered lost, but rather is forever to be reclaimed.

Article 11 of Hamas’ charter states, “The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf [endowment] consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. Neither a single Arab country nor all Arab countries, neither any king or president, nor all the kings and presidents, neither any organization nor all of them, be they Palestinian or Arab, possess the right to do that.”

Ceasefires may come and go. The struggle by Hamas to eradicate Israel is permanent. 

Can extremists be defeated in battle? Probably. Can their ideology be erased? Doubtful. Witness the resurgence of Isis, al-Qaeda and the Taliban after losing battles with Western forces. 

Hamas. Hezbollah. Houthis. Modern day Hamans from biblical times and Hitlers from the not too distant past who want to kill Jews.