No one can deny that Hamas has had a connection with the Muslim Brotherhood since its foundation in 1987. Hamas, as a movement, does not deny its ideological and historical links with the Muslim Brotherhood. On the contrary, it often highlights these links at any chance it can and it should have the right to feel a sense of pride in its connection to the Muslim Brotherhood, whether emotional or ideological.
The Muslim Brotherhood was among the first groups in the Arab world to fight a real war in Palestine [for the sake of its liberation] and its members have been through many historical encounters that have been deemed worthy of documentation even among its worst enemies. In fact, Hassan Al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, placed the Palestinian cause at the forefront of the group’s issues and it was this dedication that eventually led to his assassination in broad daylight.
The Muslim Brotherhood is not a small and marginal movement, nor is it an ordinary organisation by any means. It is an extensive organisation with a network of many branches throughout the entire world and it is involved in many humanitarian and moral causes. Thus, it is very rare to find an institution that does not have some minor affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood; in fact it is often stronger than many of the repressive regimes it encounters, which are frequently threatened by even a minor hiccup. For this reason, the individuals who are calling on Hamas to end its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood do not actually wish Hamas well, whether they admit this or not. In fact, those who wish this upon Hamas are asking it to strip itself of its final shield of protection and stand there, bare and vulnerable to all threats.
No one can deny that Hamas is an authentic Palestinian resistance movement, one that does not intervene or interfere in Egyptian affairs or any others for that matter but it must be noted that Al-Sisi’s government’s problem with Hamas does not stem from its shared ideological roots with the Muslim Brotherhood but from its classification as a Palestinian resistance group against the Israeli military occupation. The Egyptian government would have accepted nothing Hamas has done so long as it continued to fight the illegitimate Israeli occupation. Hamas, as an organisation, is not particularly concerned with pleasing this system or that, and as long as it continues to launch rockets, build tunnels and resist, its enemies will continue to encourage hostility and the siege against it.
Fatah has long made the mistake of using Hamas’s ideological connection to the Muslim Brotherhood as something that should be considered a setback for the group and it is on this basis that it has encouraged outsiders to go against Hamas. Fatah’s actions towards its rival are neither nationalistic nor moral. Due to Fatah’s political stupidity on this subject, Hamas has garnered more and more international support.
What distinguishes Hamas from other groups is that it does not interfere in the affairs of other states or institutions and that it does not use its strength or its capabilities unless they are focused on combatting the Israeli occupation, no matter who provokes them. Hamas has been able to achieve a balance of power in its relationships with outside forces regardless of its Brotherhood roots and has managed to remain immune to the region’s many difficult realities.
Translated from Al Resalah newspaper, 21 December, 2014
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.