Can Hamas let go of its ideology?

Hassan Al Mustafa
Hassan Al Mustafa
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There are continuous Egyptian efforts to ensure that the prospective agreement for a truce extending for five years between Israel and Hamas is successful, during which military actions on both sides would cease.

Hamas’ inclination for peace with Tel Aviv, even if temporary, came as a surprise to many, especially since the movement strongly believes in the “demolishing Israel” and in “the historical Palestine” according to its ideological principles. Nevertheless, it seems that the complexities of the political reality have forced it to revise its ideals, even if temporarily.

This revision must be exploited in order to create a dynamic and practical debate with the goal of reaching a comprehensive solution which may lead to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, in line with the decisions of the United Nations and the Security Council.

Some might rightfully ask, can Hamas rearrange its ideological outlook, which is the outcome of the Muslim Brotherhood's beliefs, in a way that it can get rid of the core ideal of a caliphate and the sole domination of power? Can the five-year ceasefire change the movement's behavior, making it a partner in a real future peace process, or is it a mere tactic to reinforce strength and build a massive arsenal?

These questions are based on the views of a wide spectrum of observers who recognize that armed political Islam organizations such as Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad cannot change or give up their ideology; hence they practice deceit and buy time so they must be targeted on the security and military levels and not given any chance.

In his article entitled ‘Hamas and the Five-Year Deal’, Abdulrahman al-Rahsed expressed his surprise at what he called the “political skill” of Hamas. He pointed at the political “wit” of these Islamist organizations and their ability to adapt – even if temporarily – for the sake of bigger interests.

This is due to the fact that they are not mere jihadist military organizations that do not have an agenda with field balances and calculations but they are organizations which have a political mindset that uses the gun to their advantage. They are organizations that seek power in the world, not with goals for the hereafter. They want to fulfill interests on the ground and not just fight and die. They care about wins and losses, even if they differ in estimating their worth!

The worldly dimensions of these movements represent a loose trait that one can use to infiltrate them and cause real changes – even if slow – if they manage to tame them and link them to a network of economic, security and political interests that they can’t easily get out of. This is of course without neglecting other solutions which must work in parallel. Efforts should not be limited to one solution as if it’s the magic wand!

It’s a process that resembles walking barefoot on the edge of the knife or dancing with the wolves. However, Hamas' acceptance of the five-year truce offers an opportunity to be engaged in peaceful action, especially that it is part of the complex Palestinian reality. On the other hand, pressure must be exerted on Israel to stop its military operations and its settlement activities, to accept the Arab peace initiative and comply with UN resolutions, otherwise all efforts will turn futile, armed confrontations will erupt again and the river of blood will continue to flow.

This article is also available in Arabic.


Hassan AlMustafa is Saudi journalist with interest in middle east and Gulf politics. His writing focuses on social media, Arab youth affairs and Middle Eastern societal matters. His twitter handle is @halmustafa.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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