Is the current conflict about Gaza and Hamas or is it about the Palestinian cause and nation? This is an extremely important question, because some people are too hasty and connect the on-going Israeli aggression against Hamas only, or the Gaza Strip, as if the enclave is not part of Palestine and what is happening there is not related to what is going on across the entire region.
If this was accepted in the past, before the "Palestinian reconciliation", or the unity government, things have changed, although the reality is that it's never been any different. Shaikh Ahmed Yasin did not establish the Hamas movement to liberate the Gaza Strip and make a state out of it; the movement was established for Palestine as a whole. The Fatah-Hamas split in 2007 was not calculated by Hamas in advance; it was dragged into it by Fatah rebel Mohamed Dahlan's underhand plotting.
There is no doubt that this is part of the Zionist enemy's agenda, and not linked to other, complementary, agendas even though they share the same broad aims and objectives. They include the destruction of the Arab Spring and teaching the people a severe lesson for rebelling against the established orders. The aim is to deter others from thinking that they can demand political reform.
This is the agenda of the counter-revolutions based on destroying the Arab Spring and creating a stage for chaos and suffering. Regimes have made this a priority for their policies. Islamists are targeted not as an independent ideologically-founded state but as pioneers for change and reform. However, if the Arab Spring revolutions had been led by other groups, the Islamists would still be the main target of the counter-revolutionaries, for there are those who have more enmity towards them due to competition for religious legitimacy.
Political priorities make it natural for the counter-revolution regimes to seek common ground with the Zionist entity and perhaps other deals under the table about which we don't know. A few weeks ago, Israel's Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, told a "security" conference, "We've had enough secret meetings with Arab politicians, and we want meetings to be in the open."
In working with the Israelis, counter- and anti-revolution regimes target the Islamists indirectly because the conflict with the Zionist state has always been a priority for the Muslim political movements. They have stood up to it and know that its leaders have the ears of the world's politicians.
Anyone who wants to target his own people must first make peace with his enemy; this has been seen historically with the Muslim kings of the "taifas" in Spain who used to run to their enemies to help them face their brothers in religion. Today, we see leaders of the regimes opposed to the headache of democracy and pluralism, which the West adopts theoretically, seeking to reconcile with the most influential entity in the region.
In this regard, we have seen how Netanyahu was the most supportive of the coup in Egypt, and he's the one who secured American and Western support for Al-Sisi. Hence, it was necessary that Al-Sisi would pay the price by targeting Hamas in the Gaza Strip, enforcing the Israeli blockade, and by supporting the absurd path taken by Mahmoud Abbas which provides safety and security for the Zionist state.
Let us remember that the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative was announced through an interview with American journalist Thomas L Freidman at a time when those behind it were suffering from western pressures pushing them towards democracy. The lack of democracy in the major Arab states was said by the West to be a reason for Muslims to get involved in the 9/11 attacks on the US. The initiative was both interesting and rather exciting for it contained concessions and promises of normalisation with Israel, which were not really appreciated by the Zionists, who regarded it as one of many stages in the "peace process". It was exciting for it to be announced while Ariel Sharon's tanks were invading the West Bank in what was known then as Operation Defensive Shield. The situation of Hamas today is almost the same as far as the conspiracy and siege against the movement are concerned; they resemble the situation of besieged Yasser Arafat, who was dismayed that none of the Arab leaders were even answering his telephone calls.
History repeats itself, and so we see those who want to get rid of the obsession with revolutions and democracy turn to Israel again to provide them with protection against the democratic winds on one side and Hamas on the other. The fact that the Islamic movement refuses to reject resistance against Israel's occupation, or surrender, is a thorn in the Arab regimes' collective side. It is also one of the most important levers for the Islamic trend in the Middle East.
The price that Netanyahu wants in exchange for supporting the destruction of the Arab Spring is cover for his attack on the Islamists not only in the Gaza Strip but also in the West Bank. Even if he decides to re-occupy the Strip physically, he will not stay there; it will be handed over to Abbas's Palestinian Authority, or to Mohamed Dahlan. Either way, he wants to bury Hamas in a maze of disfigured compromises.
The Gaza Strip is not part of "Israel" and the Zionist leaders do not want it; if the Egyptians agreed to take it they would get it. However, Netanyahu et al see Gaza as a Hamas base for resistance on behalf of the whole of Palestine and not as an independent statelet. Had the movement accepted that it could have a separate entity and did not arm itself, it wouldn't have been targeted.
Right now, Netanyahu's eye is on using the conditions in the whole region in order to impose what he wants in his conflict with the Palestinians and he has no one else but Mahmoud Abbas as a "partner". Abbas has proven to be the best when it comes to policies that serve the occupation, and there is no use for the principles to which he claims to adhere as long as he offers everything that the occupation authorities want, especially in terms of security.
They want to wipe out Hamas and all of its weapons not only to get rid of the headache that the movement and the Gaza Strip are causing, but also so that it can no longer be a hindrance to the path chosen by Abbas. If it agrees, Hamas would have to accept that it would be the opposition group in an entity called a state, but which has only 12 per cent of historic Palestine and no control over its borders or skies.
This is the reality of the current attack on Gaza and the reality of the conspiracy against Hamas and the Palestinian nation. The Zionists want to use the exceptional circumstances in the region to impose a political solution, or at least a political path, in Palestine that would relieve them of a burden for a long time. As such, it is clear that Hamas is not fighting for the Gaza Strip alone or for the movement itself; it is trying to keep the entire Palestinian cause alive, which insists on freedom and justice and continues its struggle no matter what price it has to pay.
Translated from Al Jazeera net, 21 July 2014
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.