Over the previous two weeks, the identical phrase has been uttered by numerous politicians: ‘Hamas doesn’t signify the Palestinian folks.’ US president Joe Biden has mentioned it. British PM Rishi Sunak has mentioned it. Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, which guidelines over the West Financial institution, has mentioned it (earlier than his speech was redacted).

However one thing far stronger must be mentioned. It’s not that Hamas doesn’t signify the Palestinian folks. It’s that Hamas is in opposition to the Palestinian folks. It’s the enemy of the Palestinian folks. Its pursuits as an Islamist terrorist motion, devoted to the destruction of Israel and the creation of an Islamic state as an alternative, stand in direct opposition to the pursuits and lives of the Palestinian folks.

Make no mistake: Hamas has all the time handled the Palestinians like filth. Because it seized energy in Gaza in 2007, it has dominated as one would anticipate it to – as a brutal, oppressive, theocratic regime. It has tortured and killed those that deviate from its strict ‘legal guidelines’, and who dissent from its quasi-fascist ideology. Homosexuals have been recurrently persecuted, tortured and killed. And political opponents have often been murdered, generally beneath the duvet of its intermittent battles with the Israel Defence Forces (IDF).

Maybe most despicable of all, Hamas has continuously sacrificed Gazans in its a number of conflicts with Israel, intentionally inserting them in hurt’s means. It has saved rockets in colleges, mortar shells in hospitals and munitions in mosques. And, with unimaginable callousness, folks have been ordered to stay of their properties throughout Israeli assaults, even when being informed by the IDF to evacuate. That is nonetheless taking place now. The IDF is telling these dwelling within the north of Gaza to evacuate, whereas Hamas is ordering them to remain put.

Regardless of Western sympathisers’ makes an attempt to downplay this horrific ‘tactic’, or to dismiss it as Israeli propaganda, Hamas has all the time been open about it. As considered one of its leaders boasted in 2008: ‘For the Palestinian folks, demise has develop into an trade… The aged excel at this, and so do… the youngsters. For this reason they’ve shaped human shields of the ladies and kids.’ Throughout the 2014 battle with Israel, one other senior spokesman informed Palestinian station al-Aqsa TV that wilfully sacrificing Gazans ‘attests to the character of our noble, jihad-loving folks, who defend their rights and their properties with their naked chests and their blood’.

Hamas makes use of the phrase ‘human shields’, however this unjustly dignifies this tactic’s depravity. For Hamas, Gazans’ our bodies usually are not shields – they’re media fodder. Their lives are value much less to Hamas than their deaths – the pictures and movies of which supply invaluable propaganda materials to be circulated world wide as proof of Hamas’s victimisation by the hands of evil Israel. Once more, that is what Hamas is doing proper now. Because the Israeli army readies itself for a floor invasion, Hamas is joyful to show lots of of 1000’s of Gazans into bloody battle propaganda.

Each lifeless Palestinian is beneficial for Hamas. Simply take into account the explosion on the al-Alhi Arab hospital earlier this week. This was instantly held up by Hamas spokespeople as proof of Israeli battle crimes. They claimed that 500 harmless folks had died within the blast. But it now appears doubtless that Palestinian Islamic Jihad, one other Islamist terror group, was accountable. All too typically, rockets fired at Israel fall wanting their targets and find yourself killing Gazans as an alternative. However that is of no concern to Hamas, which might exploit and weaponise these deaths to its personal abhorrent ends.

There isn’t a query that Gazans have suffered tremendously over the previous 20 years. However their oppression and exploitation has solely benefitted Hamas’s leaders. They’ve fortunately reaped the rewards of their reign of terror, rising wealthy on their management of the Gazan black market, the largesse of their regional backers and little doubt a number of the billions of {dollars} Gaza receives in worldwide support. Lengthy-time Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh pledged to stay on ‘olive oil and dried herbs’ after he led Hamas to victory on the 2006 Palestinian elections. In 2019, he shook off his asceticism and left Gaza to go on what Hamas introduced was a ‘international tour’. He has by no means returned. The multibillionaire now lives in luxurious in Qatar. As does some-time chairman of Hamas, Khaled Meshal. Meshal and his household, estimated to be value one thing within the area of $2.5 billion, personal a Doha real-estate agency, 4 residential towers and a 20-story mall. And all of the whereas, the overwhelming majority of Gazans stay in excessive poverty.

Hamas is clearly corrupt, brutal and nasty. But we hardly ever hear a lot about simply how vicious a regime Hamas runs, as a result of Hamas additionally arrests, tortures and detains journalists. It’s anticipating the native and worldwide press to hold tales and pictures of Gazans’ deaths by the hands of an Israeli missile. However much less eager for the media to hold tales and pictures of its personal therapy of Gazans.

That Hamas can deal with Gazans so callously and brutally shouldn’t shock us. Fashioned by the Muslim Brotherhood in 1987, Hamas doesn’t share the pursuits of the Palestinian folks. It isn’t involved with establishing some type of Palestinian statehood, or securing rights and freedoms. No, its targets are near-enough apocalyptic – and genocidal.

Just like the bigger Islamist motion of which it’s half, Hamas desires to wage battle – maybe the ultimate battle – in opposition to the Jews. It desires to destroy Israel, to cleanse the land of Jews ‘From the river to the ocean’, because the slogan goes. ‘Our battle in opposition to the Jews could be very nice and really critical’, reads one of many opening strains of Hamas’s 1988 founding constitution. Hamas, it says, ‘is however one squadron that ought to be supported by an increasing number of squadrons from this huge Arab and Islamic world, till the enemy [Israel] is vanquished and Allah’s victory is realised’.

This genocidal anti-Semitism doesn’t simply pose a hazard to Jews in Israel – it additionally makes any kind of political decision of the Palestinian query close to unattainable. In spite of everything, how can Israelis be anticipated to make lodging with a bunch that overtly calls for his or her extinction? In the meantime, the lives of the Palestinians are handled as mere fodder on this obscene, racist marketing campaign.

And but there are nonetheless many Western leftists proudly celebrating Hamas proper now. There are a lot of ‘radical’ teachers cheering on Hamas’s pogrom of Jewish civilians as an act of resistance. And there are various poseurs flooding social media with Hamas-style anti-Zionism. These usually are not buddies of the Gazans. They’re buddies of Hamas. And that makes them the enemies of the Palestinian folks.

Tim Black is a spiked columnist.

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