The Belgian political class is perhaps more characterised than any other in Europe by its denial of what is currently happening in the Middle East. This has been particularly true since the pogrom of 7 October, which seems to have moved people far less than Israel’s response. In recent weeks, there has been one appalling and revolting comment after another:
Israeli bank Hapoalim has estimated the cost of the current military operation against Hamas at 27 billion shekels (€6.5 billion). This is equivalent to 1.3% of Israel’s GDP in 2022. Other sources consider this amount to be an underestimate: it will have to be at least double that, given the damage caused, reconstruction, compensation and aid for the most vulnerable sections of the population.
Among the arsonists fanning the flames of the Israel-Hamas conflict that is about to devour the Middle East and perhaps the world, Recep Tayyip Erdogan occupies a major place. President of a large Muslim nation, a member of NATO and calling for its integration into the European area, he has issued a resounding and sinister proclamation. On 26 October, three days before the centenary of the Republic founded by Atatürk, Erdogan declared before his country’s parliament: “Hamas is not a terrorist group, it is a group of liberators protecting their land!
Surrounded by European Union countries that consider the Palestinian Islamist organisation to be terrorist, Switzerland continues not to apply sanctions to Hamas, nor to ban its leaders from its territory. But since the attacks on 7 October, the Federal Council (government) has decided to use the word “terrorism” to describe the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood. It has also announced that it is going to carry out a “detailed analysis of financial flows” to the Middle East, a very Swiss way of saying that the government intends to control the sources of funding for Hamas.
In addition to its homemade rockets, Hamas has been receiving Iranian Fajr-5 rockets with a range of 75 kilometres for the past two years. Iran also supplies Hamas with Russian Kornet anti-tank missiles. Some missiles of the same type are also believed to have been acquired in Libya.
Rien ne prédestinait la Force Al-Qods, unité d’élite du Corps des Gardiens de la révolution iranienne (Pasdarans) et l’Organisation mondiale des Frères musulmans à se rapprocher. Pourtant, des documents issus des archives secrètes du ministère iranien du Renseignement révèlent l’inconcevable : des tractations ont bien eu lieu entre ces deux organisations, d’apparence rivales, pour faire face à leurs ennemis communs.
Iran is clearly behind the Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel on 7 October. Beyond the traditional Sunni-Shiite divide, the Iranian mullahs and the Palestinian Islamist movement have one thing in common: the Muslim Brotherhood and its doctrine of political Islam. Here are some explanations.
Since 7 October and the bloody attack by Hamas on Israeli soil, little has been said about the situation of Israeli Arabs, also known as “Arab citizens of Israel”. According to the latest demographic data, they represent 21% of the Israeli population, descendants of the 160,000 Palestinians who remained (or were not expelled) in the territory granted to Israel in 1948. As for the right to nationality, it was not until the late 1960s that they gained access to it.
Today, although they enjoy the same rights as the Jewish population, including the right to vote, they are still victims of discrimination. Already fairly badly regarded, recent events have made Israeli Jews even more wary of them. The situation is particularly complex because most of them still share very strong links with the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Friends or family members who chose to leave or were forced to do so during the exoduses of 1948 and 1967.
The war in Gaza threatens to disrupt natural gas production in the eastern Mediterranean. This would be a huge blow to Israel and Egypt’s ambitions to become a hub for LNG supplies to Europe, at a time when the EU is looking for alternatives to Russian gas.
The Islamologist Lorenzo Vidino, an eminent specialist on the Muslim Brotherhood in the West, produced, in October 2023, as part of the program on extremism at George Washington University, a report entitled ”Verbatim: What European Security Services Say About the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe”. Exclusive extracts.