How Israel Helped Create Hamas

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Did you also know that Hamas — which is an Arabic acronym for “Islamic Resistance Movement” — would probably not exist today were it not for the Jewish state? That the Israelis helped turn a bunch of fringe Palestinian Islamists in the late 1970s into one of the world’s most notorious militant groups? That Hamas is blowback?

Former Israeli official Brig. Gen. Yitzhak Segev, who was the Israeli military governor in Gaza in the early 1980s, told a New York Times reporter that he had helped finance the Palestinian Islamist movement as a “counterweight” to the secularists and leftists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Fatah party, led by Yasser Arafat. Avner Cohen, a former Israeli religious affairs official who worked in Gaza for more than two decades, told the Wall Street Journal in 2009 that Hamas is “Israel’s creation.” Hamas was the result of this, as Mehdi Hasan explains. First, the Israelis helped build up a militant strain of Palestinian political Islam, in the form of Hamas and its Muslim Brotherhood precursors; then, the Israelis switched tack and tried to bomb, besiege, and blockade it out of existence.

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