In the context of Egypt’s efforts to secure a long-term ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, it is implicitly recognized that what is happening in Gaza is not part of the tragic conflict that is supposed to revolve around the Palestinian cause.
The “Palestinian Cause” is the broad headline of a tragedy that some believe may blur the distinction between its human aspect and its political manifestations, an issue where security measures may be more important than existential challenges like the right of return.
When Hamas came into being, it was neither part of the Palestine Liberation Organization, nor was it suitable for it, since it was a movement that combined religious and political dimensions. Even his ideological membership abroad did not allow him to come to an understanding with other resistance factions. So it couldn’t hide or obscure the fact that it was separate from the rest.
It is about the political project of the movement, which was not patriotic, although the liberation of Palestine was its declared aim. Prior to its quarrel with the Fatah movement, Hamas had introduced ideas beyond the political realities of Palestine into the debate. Such ideas could still arouse emotions, as was the case with the slogan “From the river to the sea” and other mantras related to historical Palestine.
At that time, Hamas appealed to those who were angry about the Oslo Process and to its Palestinian supporters. The deal, which reduced President Yasser Arafat from a historical leader to governor of a province with no sovereignty, fell outside the popular Palestinian imagination of a mixture of human suffering and armed struggle.
The Palestinians felt that their leadership had wasted precious time struggling to maintain their identities and regain their rights.
However, due to its ideological affinity, Hamas was not the appropriate national response to the Oslo Process. It put a strain on Palestinian efforts, which was reflected in divisions over what it wanted to achieve with arms. This confused the Palestinians, who fell out over who was part of the Islamic resistance movement or who was against it.
If you stood by it, you strayed from the Palestinian nationalist compass, and if you stood against it, you were perceived as an opponent of the resistance. Hamas is not solely responsible for this delicate and complex situation. The Palestinian Authority, based in Ramallah, shares responsibility. It might even be the one who paved the way for all of the failures that the Palestinian cause has seen and the effects of which have been in the interests of the Zionist settler project.
However, Hamas, which is against the Oslo Accords, has not brought the Palestinians any closer to their cause. Instead, it widened the gap between them and this cause, as Hamas had been an armed front for Iran from its inception. Thus, it took the worst possible step in replacing the Zionist project with the Iranian project. When the Iranians claim Hamas as their army, they are not exaggerating.
In its membership of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Hamas is similar to Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen and the people’s mobilization forces in Iraq. When Ismail Haniyeh was waging his most recent war against Israel from Doha, he received orders directly from Tehran.
Therefore, any indirect dialogue between Israel and Hamas promoted by Egypt must necessarily have Iran as a party, if not the most influential party. What Iran wants and hopes is implemented by Hamas so far that it is the postman between the two enemies and one of the two belligerents in the showdown.
Hamas represents Iran in its conflict with Israel and has nothing to do with the Palestinian cause. It can be seen as an Iranian armed militia operating in the context of a regional conflict. It has become clear that the participation of the Palestinians is necessary for the circle of Iranian hegemony to expand and for Iran to appear on a scale beyond its real dimensions. Iran, sponsor of gangs and financier of death squads, no longer talks about its geographical borders, but about the limits of its ideological reach.
The Egyptian position, while incorporating some political wisdom, does not serve the interests of the Palestinian cause. Hamas has replaced Palestine and Israel can no longer be held responsible for what it does to the Palestinians, the people and the country.