Palestinians: US Weakness Facilitates The Rise Of Jihad And Fundamentalism
By Khaled Abu Toameh/Gatestone InstituteMarch 19, 2022
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Like many Palestinians and Arabs, the Iranian-backed Hamas movement that controls the Gaza Strip sees the Russia-Ukraine war as evidence of the weakness of the Biden administration and the end of the status of the US as the world's sole superpower.
The timidity of the Biden administration and the perceived decline of the US in the international arena are good news for Hamas, whose leaders are hoping that this will pave the way for them to achieve their goal of replacing Israel with an Islamic fundamentalist state.
Musa Abu Marzouk, a member of the Hamas "politburo," said recently:
"The Russia-Ukraine war indicates that the era of America's unipolar role has ended. America is unable to decide on war against Russia, and therefore the US will not be a decision-maker in international politics..."
The Hamas leader seems predictably optimistic about the prospects of killing Jews and eliminating Israel under a weakened US. Abu Marzouk is so excited about the perceived decline of the US that he believes that now Hamas and the Palestinians can start talking about the "future" of the Middle East.
What future does Hamas and many Palestinians foresee?
The Hamas leaders deserve credit for being transparent about their ambitions and for reminding the world that Hamas remains committed to its 1988 Charter, which explicitly and unambiguously calls on Muslims to wage jihad (holy war) to displace both Israel and the Jews.
The charter expresses hatred of Jews by quoting a hadith (saying) attributed to the prophet Mohammed:
"The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say: O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him." (Article 7).
In the charter, Hamas defines its slogan as follows:
"Allah is its goal, the prophet (Mohammed) its model, the Koran its constitution, jihad its path and death for the sake of Allah as the loftiest of its wishes." (Article 8).
The charter lays out the strategies and methods of Hamas as follows:
"The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection. No one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it." (Article 11)
Articles 13 of the Hamas Charter states "There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad."
Last year, Hamas leaders celebrated the US "defeat" in Afghanistan and said it too was a sign of the weakness of the Americans in general and the Biden administration in particular.
In a phone call to congratulate the Taliban "foreign minister" on the "victory" after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Haniyeh, the Hamas leader who is currently based in Qatar, expressed hope that the Taliban will support the Palestinians in their war on Israel.
Another Hamas official, Sami Abu Zuhri, also expressed joy over the US "retreat" in Afghanistan.
The statements of the Hamas leaders show that they see the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and failure to take tough measures against Russia as signs of weakness and retreat. As far as Hamas is concerned, the weaker the US the greater are their chances of fulfilling their goal of replacing Israel with an Islamic state.
Palestinian political analyst Akram Atallah also appears to comprehend the perception that the standing of the US has dramatically diminished as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war. Washington's image in the Arab world has been battered to the point at which even its allies are beginning to challenge its policies and decisions, Atallah said.
He pointed out that the United Arab Emirates abstained on a US-led resolution to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine at the United Nations Security Council, due to the Gulf state's frustrations over the Biden administration's weak response to recent drone and missile attacks on Abu Dhabi by Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi militia. Atallah also pointed out that Saudi Arabia recently rejected requests from the US to increase its production of oil in order to reduce prices.
"This reflects the self-confidence of the two [Arab] countries and their ability to challenge and contradict the demands and interests of the US... When two Gulf countries refuse to support the US, this means the image of America in the region is deeply tarnished, and that there is a changing mood. We are not only facing countries that may rediscover their strength, but also rediscover American weakness. Does America understand that the world is changing and that the wings of an eagle are weakened by factors of natural erosion and time?"
Hassan Asfour, a former Palestinian Authority minister, wrote that he too believes that the US has lost its "central" role in the Middle East. Asfour pointed out that Biden, in his State of the Union speech, did not make any reference to the Iranian nuclear issue and the negotiations in Vienna about reviving the 2015 nuclear deal. "It did not stop here," Asfour added.
"Biden in his speech ignored the Afghanistan issue, especially in light of the confused US withdrawal. He was also cautious not to talk about relations with China so as not to provoke it. Biden's speech confirms with full clarity the loss of a consistent strategic vision with regard to central issues globally. This is a sign of the loss of the prestige of the great country [the US]. Biden's speech was a message of a historical recognition of the upcoming political defeat and the beginning of the birth of a new international order."
Hani al-Masri, a prominent Palestinian political analyst, wrote that America's "retreat can be seen in several areas in the world, such as what happened in the shameful withdrawal from Afghanistan and its quest to reach an agreement with Iran."
Ahmed Issa, former Director General of the Palestine Institute for National Security Research, said that the current war shows that Israel can no longer rely on the US to play an influential role in the international arena.
The Americans need to understand that no matter how many gifts they give to the Palestinians, that will not stop Hamas and many others from continuing to hate the US, looking on it as an enemy and chanting, "America is the Great Satan!"
Some Arabs hate the US because of its support for corrupt Arab dictatorships and its war against Islamist terrorist groups. Others see the US as a country that represents the anti-Muslim "infidels" in the West.
The only way for the Americans to deal with these Muslim extremists is by not showing any sign of weakness or appeasement. The weaker you are and the more you try to appease them, the bigger their appetite becomes to fight against the US.
Fayez Abu Shamala, a political analyst from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, also sounded optimistic regarding the growing weakness of the US and its allies. He wrote:
"Today, NATO stands unable to protect its allies and is facing a rising Russian power. Some NATO countries want to be liberated from American hegemony. The coming days will bring many surprises. We, the Arabs and Palestinians, have nothing to do but watch events with great caution and ponder how to exploit the developments."
Such voices coming from the Palestinians corroborate claims of the erosion of the US standing, especially among the Arabs. They are responding to an anemic US under the Biden administration that has forfeited its credibility as well as its capacity to stand behind its allies and friends.
This US approach does not bode well for the future of the region. The pattern of weakness and inaction are being interpreted as a sign of cowardice posing as "caution," and as a green light to pursue jihadi and terrorist schemes and establish yet another Islamic fundamentalist state.