by Larbi Sadiki — An Al Jazeera Excerpt
Excluding Hamas from current and future Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations is an exercise in futility.
Sidelining Hamas in any process to craft genuine peace between Israelis and Palestinians is a glaring omission tantamount to ignoring an elephant in the room. Whether it is Obama’s or the UN’s negotiating room, pretending something of that size absent is an exercise in futility. Hamas is definitely an elephant with many tales. Telling some of these tales recounts the Islamist movement’s rise to power against all odds.
A movement under ‘siege’
Like Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas exists in a world that does not want it and in which it is ‘wanted’, a world some might argue it does not also want. It is lumped with the bogeymen and ‘demons’ of world politics on whom are blamed ‘terror’ and the state of ‘structured chaos’ in the Middle East, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, amongst other hotspots. Hamas is no angel and there are no angels in politics. Indeed, part of the problem lies not only in the political strategies Hamas occasionally deploys, but also in the excessive secrecy surrounding most of the movement’s activities.
Understandably, Hamas’s siege mentality is owed to it being consistently the target of Arab, Israeli and Palestinian espionage activities as well as serious attempts to eliminate it from the political stage and liquidate its military and political commanders.
However, because of secrecy the world knows little about the movement’s internal institution-building, diversity of opinion, consultative processes, and voting procedures. Along with neo-Orientalist depictions making it reducible to a ‘militia’ or ‘terrorist’ organisation, Hamas’s own secrecy and miscommunication have solidified in Western public opinion stereotypes of hostility to peace and embrace of violence for the sake of violence.
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