Did Hamas bury the Palestinian cause forever?



Yahya Sinwar, center, appears during a ceremony at Yarmouk stadium on May 24, 2021, in Gaza City. (Source: Laurent Van der Stockt/Getty Images)

Does Hamas’s unprecedented offensive in autumn 2023 spell definitive political disaster for the Palestinian cause?

Will Palestine ever exist as a state? As a fragmented territory with no united political authority and a population spread over 70 years, it seems unlikely that the two Palestinian territories – the Gaza Strip and the West Bank – will ever form a single, unified state? With a narrow strip of land with an extensive coastline adjacent to Egypt and a landlocked West Bank territory adjacent to Jordan, Palestine’s future as a state may be hopeless.

It is therefore profoundly wrong and dangerous to regard Hamas as representing Palestinian resistance, for two reasons. Firstly, Hamas is a reactionary political group, a terrorist organization, guilty of war crimes, and largely serves the interests of Iran. Hamas does not represent the entire Palestinian population. It is morally and factually absurd to equate the entire Palestinian population with this violent and barbaric group. Equating Hamas with the desire for a Palestinian state does considerable harm to Palestinians. Hamas does not represent the Palestinian “resistance”, but rather the armed wing of a detestable foreign power – the Iranian state – and a radically anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic group.

The real problem is whether the Palestinian cause, already hopeless in our eyes, has not been completely and definitively discredited by the barbarity and war crimes of a specific paramilitary group, Hamas.

It should be remembered that Fatah, for example, had already committed such a long-term strategic error. The massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics contributed to the lasting discrediting of the Palestinian cause. What’s more, following the September 11th attacks, Fatah had to abandon the use of “terrorist” methods to avoid being associated with Al-Qaeda. It is quite possible that the Hamas attack will definitively assassinate the Palestinian cause: the military “success” of this terrorist group would then lead to a collective disaster for an entire people.

Even more profoundly, Hamas represents a form of Islamism that claims to be “defending” a cause that may already be lost because of it. In all likelihood, Palestine will never be a state. Hamas represents at best a barbaric group, but by no means the future of Palestine.


Cite this blog post
Baudry Pierre (2023, December 15). Did Hamas bury the Palestinian cause forever? Deciphering international politics - religion, economics and international affairs. Retrieved April 14, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.58079/tl3q

Baudry Pierre

Ph.D. CNRS/EPHE (Paris), Assistant professor.

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