How a Thirty-Year Alliance with Iran Allowed the Rise of Hamas

Dec. 24 2019

Officially formed in 1987—at the beginning of the first intifada—Hamas was built on a Muslim Brotherhood network that had existed in the Land of Israel since before 1948. Sean Durns presents a brief history of the group, arguing that it truly came into its own when it won the support of Tehran:

[In the 1970s], the Brotherhood began filling a void left by the Fatah-dominated PLO, which was busy carrying out terrorist attacks abroad from its home base in Lebanon and later from Tunis. . . . The year 1989, however, enshrined Hamas’s ascent. Beginning in January, Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) sought to wrest control from the Unified National Leadership of the Uprising, which served as the principal organizing body during the intifada.

Perhaps most importantly, on November 16, 1989, Hamas announced that it had formed an alliance with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Relations between the two would wax and wane over the next three decades, but Tehran’s support has been crucial to Hamas’s power. Without Iranian largesse, it is unlikely that Hamas would have survived, much less grown to mount a full-scale challenge to Fatah, eventually seizing the Gaza Strip after besting the older movement in 2006 elections.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: First intifada, Hamas, Iran, Muslim Brotherhood, Palestinian terror


The Right and Wrong Ways for the U.S. to Support the Palestinians

Sept. 29 2023

On Wednesday, Elliott Abrams testified before Congress about the Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018 to withhold U.S. funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA) so long as it continues to reward terrorists and their families with cash. Abrams cites several factors explaining the sharp increase in Palestinian terrorism this year, among them Iran’s attempt to wage proxy war on Israel; another is the “Palestinian Authority’s continuing refusal to fight terrorism.” (Video is available at the link below.)

As long as the “pay for slay” system continues, the message to Palestinians is that terrorists should be honored and rewarded. And indeed year after year, the PA honors individuals who have committed acts of terror by naming plazas or schools after them or announcing what heroes they are or were.

There are clear alternatives to “pay to slay.” It would be reasonable for the PA to say that, whatever the crime committed, the criminal’s family and children should not suffer for it. The PA could have implemented a welfare-based system, a system of family allowances based on the number of children—as one example. It has steadfastly refused to do so, precisely because such a system would no longer honor and reward terrorists based on the seriousness of their crimes.

These efforts, like the act itself, are not at all meant to diminish assistance to the Palestinian people. Rather, they are efforts to direct aid to the Palestinian people rather than to convicted terrorists. . . . [T]he Taylor Force Act does not stop U.S. assistance to Palestinians, but keeps it out of hands in the PA that are channels for paying rewards for terror.

[S]hould the United States continue to aid the Palestinian security forces? My answer is yes, and I note that it is also the answer of Israel and Jordan. As I’ve noted, PA efforts against Hamas or other groups may be self-interested—fights among rivals, not principled fights against terrorism. Yet they can have the same effect of lessening the Iranian-backed terrorism committed by Palestinian groups that Iran supports.

Read more at Council on Foreign Relations

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy