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The Cross of Bethlehem II

Will Islamic Jihad Replace Hamas?

On the Askew Mechanics of Justice



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Things are heating up in Gaza. On Saturday, October 29, 2011, it was reported that an IAF strike killed five Islamic Jihad members, four munitions experts and their commander Ahmed al-Sheikh Khalil, in the southern Gaza Strip. The IDF claimed – without providing irrefutable evidence - that the killed men were the cell responsible for launching a Grad rocket at Ashdod in Israel earlier this week.

On Friday, Palestinian sources in Gaza said that Islamic Jihad was behind Wednesday night’s rocket attack on Ashdod, where nobody was hurt. This was apparently an attempt to embarrass Hamas and show the Islamic Jihad rejection of the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap deal.

Flag of Islamic Jihad

Flag of Islamic Jihad

“There is no chance of speaking about a truce now, following such a big crime against leaders of the group. Now we are talking about the suitable response to this crime.” said Islamic Jihad spokesman Abu Ahmed.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri accused Israel of a "serious escalation against our people." The IDF answer over the Hebrew media was: “The Hamas terror organization is solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip.”

If following the Middle East situation for a while, it is impossible not to discern a clear pattern. In the beginning, the PLO (Fatah) was Israel’s archenemy and nemesis. Owning a flag showing its colors was a crime in Israel. Then an agreement was reached between Israel and the PLO, and Hamas immediately emerged as the new Israeli nemesis. Many Palestinians lost faith in the compromising PLO and began supporting Hamas. Much later, Hamas began signing partial agreements with the Zionists. On June 2008, Israel agreed to an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire with Hamas for the Gaza area. Of course, this agreement miserably failed in December 2009, with a bestial Israeli attack on Gaza. Later, on August 22, 2011, the Hamas government in Gaza officially announced that a ceasefire agreement between the factions and Israel had been signed. Following this warming up in the relations, another agreement between Hamas and Israel was announced on October 11, when Gilad Shalit was swapped for over a thousand Palestinians held prisoners by Israel. Almost immediately, the Islamic Jihad responded with the recent attack on Ashdod. Is Islamic Jihad attempting to position itself as the new Hamas, the new leaders of Palestinian opposition to the Zionist conquerors?

The first obvious thing from these recursive events is that violence continues. Despite all the agreements, military violence seems to dominate the life in Holy Land. The second thing is that this Phoenix-Nemesis hybrid (an eternally-reborn nemesis) carries an important message to the leaders of all sides involved.

Both PLO and Hamas have failed in bringing to the Palestinian people fair agreements with Israel. After every agreement,misery continued being the rule in the Palestinian territories. Invariably, Israel makes friends with a small group and then closes a private deal with it (the same is expanded for Israel’s various social contracts in The Cross of Bethlehem). The vast majority of Palestinian people did not see any improvement in their lives as a result of these agreements. If understanding this, the recursive nature of these events becomes clear.

Palestinians are voting. The PLO failed bringing peace and prosperity? Fine, let’s try Hamas. Did Hamas fail? Maybe the Islamic Jihad will be better. Palestinians are not voting for war. They are voting against unjust agreements. They are voting against institutional violence and abuse. They are voting against imposed social contracts. They vote for their rights in the only way they are allowed: through a weapon's crosshairs.

Politics are often defined as “the peaceful solution of conflicts.” However, in all the agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinians we do not see this definition of “politics.” We see in them the continuation of a long war; we see accords in which the side perceived as militarily stronger imposes unfair conditions and limitations which are impossible to accept by the people. The answer is clear: the war goes on, regardless the name of the leading organization. Would the Islamic Jihad compromise on unfair terms with Israel, it would be also replaced. Unless the leaders of all sides understand the sovereignty belongs to the people and thus no agreement taking advantage of the people would be ever accepted, the war will continue.

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