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.
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.
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.
Whatever barbaric atrocities they commit against Israel, the Palestinian jihadists of Hamas remain heroes in the eyes of the Arab-Islamic Street. These fanatical and savage terrorists are seen as an army for the liberation of Palestine by the majority of people in the Arab world. They are seen as soldiers who “fight in the way of Allah: they kill, and they are killed”, because “Allah has bought the believers, their persons and their goods in exchange for Paradise” (Koran, verse 111 of sura At-Tawbah).
Victims of an irrational reading of reality, the overwhelming majority of Arab populations imagine that they are surrounded by Jews and their atheist accomplices who are constantly plotting against the Ummah, the nation of Islam. This plunges them into a veritable paranoia!
After all the hatred and barbarity that has been unleashed on Israel, and the bloody response of the Israel Defense Forces that has claimed several thousand civilian victims in Gaza, can we imagine any way out of the current conflict other than the destruction of Hamas? In other words, the total crushing of its military structures and the dismantling of the politico-religious diktat it has installed in Gaza.
As we wrote in these columns the day after the attacks on 7 October (Screen Watch, n° 38, October 2023), putting Hamas out of action is not only imperative for Israel’s security, but also for the honour of the just cause of the Palestinian people, so sullied by Hamas’s bloody crimes.
Officially founded in December 1987 by the Muslim Brother Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and two of his acolytes, Hamas has introduced Islamist fanaticism and suicide attacks into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, the roots of the terror practised by this Islamist movement, which lays claim to the Muslim Brotherhood, go much deeper into the history of the region. Its first mentor was Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who collaborated with the Nazis during the Second World War. This was followed by Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, who sent his men to Palestine to fight against the Jews in 1948. And even more recently, Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, spiritual guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, urged Muslims from his al-Jazeera platform to take over from Hitler, who “administered the first divine punishment to the Jews” to “punish them for their corruption”.