Categories
46555591 303

The term “Islamic radical” is repeatedly used by the media in relation to the Palestinian group Hamas. Following the most recent escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, however, the denomination has varied, and there is an increasing talk of “terrorist organization”.

The term “Islamic radical” is repeatedly used by the media in relation to the Palestinian group Hamas. Following the most recent escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, however, the denomination has varied, and there is an increasing talk of “terrorist organization”.

Most Western nations also adopt a similar classification. Exceptions are Norway and Switzerland, which continue to maintain contacts with Hamas, evoking the principle of neutrality, and others go even further in support. The organization has also held political power in the Gaza Strip since 2007.

How did Hamas reach its current position?

Hamas was founded in the second half of the 1980s, from the beginning as opposed to Yasser Arafat’s Organization for the Liberation of Palestine (PLO). It is controversial whether, in its early days, the group would not even have been supported with funds from the Israeli government, as a counterweight – a theory that today all sides disavow.

Unlike the PLO, Hamas denies the existence of the State of Israel. Its emblem shows the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and, among Palestinian flags, the outline of a Palestinian state also including Israel.

As part of the Oslo Process, Arafat sealed peace with Israel in 1993, thereby ending the first Intifada. However, Hamas did not recognize the decision and continued to carry out attacks in Israeli territory. In the 2006 elections in the Gaza Strip, he obtained an absolute majority, consolidated a year later by a kind of coup d’état.

Since then, the Palestinian territories have been separated not only geographically, but also politically, since the West Bank is ruled by the moderate party Al Fatah, led by Mahmud Abbas. Meanwhile, from Gaza, Hamas is continuing its attacks on Israel, defined as “self-defense”, as well as having fought three fierce battles with the Israeli Armed Forces in 2008-09, 2012, and 2014.

Who supports Hamas?

The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated areas on the planet, and basically economically isolated, with fortified borders with Israel and Egypt in the south and north, as well as the Mediterranean Sea to the west.

Much of its population lives in extreme poverty and depends on humanitarian assistance – which, however, has been significantly reduced by pressure from former US President Donald Trump. Hamas repeatedly digs tunnels, especially towards Egypt, for arms trafficking, something that goes against Cairo’s interests.

Qatar is one of Hamas main sponsors and foreign allies. So far, it has transferred the equivalent of more than 1.8 billion dollars. In 2012, his emir was the first head of state to visit the leadership of the Islamic group in Gaza. However, Tel Aviv hopes that, like several other Arab states, Qatar will join the “Abraham Agreement” initiated by Trump, and assume diplomatic relations with Israel.

Another important ally for Hamas is Turkey. Just before Hamas’ most recent aerial offensives, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had promised him support in a conversation with the organization’s political leader, Ismail Haniyeh.

Where do the rockets come from?

From a purely numerical point of view, the rocket fire, which since Monday (10/05) Hamas has directed against Israel, surpasses all previous peaks of escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

On Tuesday, the group said it had launched 130 projectiles in a few minutes – an amount that tests the limits even of the Israeli Iron Dome (Iron Dome) anti-missile system, whose anti-aircraft missiles are much more agile, accurate – and also more expensive. – than those of the opponent.

As of Friday, the Israeli Armed Forces counted more than 1,800 rockets fired from Gaza, most from Iran. The Middle East weapons analyst Fabian Hinz commented to German broadcaster ZDF: “It was known that several groups had greatly expanded their arsenals and that they had thousands of rockets, as amply confirmed by Israeli sources. “

The Jerusalem Post newspaper, for example, cited secret service sources according to which the Hamas arsenal would contain 5,000 to 6,000 rockets. To these would be added the up to 8,000 projectiles in possession of the Islamic Jihad group, which partly cooperates with the Palestinian organization.

Hinz explains that, for a long time, Iranian rockets were smuggled across Sudan, reaching the Gaza Strip across the border with Egypt. This trafficking, however, is no longer so easy since Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir was ousted in 2019. Currently, however, Hamas would build its own rockets in the Gaza Strip itself, in part with foreign aid.

Source: DW

Change to your Language
Comments
All comments.
Comments