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Haniyeh’s lesson that the Brotherhood’s Munir and his friends won’t learn

Head of Gaza's political bureau Ismail Haniyeh meets Director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate Khaled Fawzy in Gaza on 3 October 2017 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Head of Gaza's political bureau Ismail Haniyeh meets Director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate Khaled Fawzy in Gaza on 3 October 2017 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

In Egypt, stricken more by its elites than by its army, some really believed that they were in the process of overthrowing the coup, no matter how much blood was shed. In Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh and Hamas decided to practice politics, even if it meant them swallowing a bitter pill so that the rest of the Palestinians in the territory did not have to taste the bitterness of a harsh life.

What happened was that Gaza suffered with no water, no electricity and no public services, while the Muslim Brotherhood was defeated in neighbouring Egypt after the army staged a coup, and thus Hamas lost its regional allies. There was no way for the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement to move forward; it had to choose compromise or suicide, so Hamas chose politics and life.

The movement retreated but did not run away. It backed down but did not flee. It reached an understanding, but did not collude. It recognised its weakness but was not stubborn. It had moral and political reasons to carry on, and “theoretically” we cannot blame Hamas. Moving forward meant destruction for the Gaza Strip and its people, so the movement chose its people, even at the expense of its own reputation and the interests of its allies who did not help the group when it most needed them.

In Palestine, no one has the mythical Sword of Antara or his wisdom, but they insist and continue their stubbornness and valour until the last drop of blood is shed by the youth. They are even criticising Hamas and its realistic approach, considering the current situation to be a setback, retreat and surrender.

Read: Hamas and the difficult questions

What is happening in Gaza is not in the best interest of the Hamas leaders, the cause or even the interests of the Palestinians in the long run. However, continuing its resistance efforts without any capabilities or allies would be enough to destroy the Gaza Strip, its people and its leaders with death, arrest, displacement, hunger and thirst. Hence, Hamas chose the lesser of two evils based purely on political logic and little else.

The resistance movement made a mistake when it left militancy and took up a political position, but it has proved that it is well-qualified to do both. There is no consolation for those who have no fight, no politics, no mind or anything else.


Ibrahim Munir and his Brothers are better off learning from Hamas’s lesson that withdrawing at the right time is a show of strength. They should learn that making the right decision at the right time is the epitome of politics, not continuing to repeat slogans that have no place in reality, and that poor victims believe and sacrifice their lives for the sake of nothing.

Take your “bitter pill” and look for a decent and appropriate settlement for the thousands of displaced people in the world who are not sheltered by the European capitals and who do not have a roof over their heads to shelter them from the harsh winters ahead. You are much better off looking for those who share some of your discontent within the regime rather than boasting about ignoring the mediators who approach you. You are acting as if this is a source of pride but, I swear to you, it is a source of pity in your situation.

I say this with the full knowledge that my words will fall on deaf ears, blind eyes and closed hearts and minds. I have hope that my “venting” will be heard by one of their “loners” who is wise or understands.

As for Hamas, this is not the end of the movement. It has not cast aside its weapons; it has not recognised Israel; and it has not chosen an easy peace. Haniyeh and his colleagues have never been ones to embrace oppressors, but they have been forced into this. They did not persevere stubbornly. This happens in politics, with big and small parties, and has happened to numerous nations and countries that are stronger, more powerful and better armed than Hamas.

Despite this, when the waves crashed on the movement, it was not Al-Sisi or the Noor Party, and the pictures of Al-Sisi that were trampled by the people after the Egyptian media got their shots of journalist Amr Adeeb and his wife with the Hamas leaders, are nothing but a phase in the conflict. Tomorrow is another day.

This article first appeared in Arabic in Arabi21 on 5 October 2017

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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