Worth noting Hamas given license to operate by #Israel in '79 -- because pols wanted "anybody but Yasser Arafat!" https://t.co/o4r0IbYPRG— Jim Clancy (@ClancyReports) December 14, 2015
I've seen this claim before from Israel haters, so I checked it out.
Unsurprisingly, it is not true.
The first hint comes from the fact that Hamas is celebrating its 28th anniversary, but Clancy is referring to an event from 1979 - 8 years before Hamas was founded..
All of these stories come from a quite good 2009 article by Andrew Higgins in the Wall Street Journal. The title seems to be what caused the Israel haters to have a field day: How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas. Based on that title, articles in other anti-Israel media like WRMEA
In Gaza [after 1967], Israel hunted down members of Fatah and other secular PLO factions, but it dropped harsh restrictions imposed on Islamic activists by the territory's previous Egyptian rulers. Fatah, set up in 1964, was the backbone of the PLO, which was responsible for hijackings, bombings and other violence against Israel. Arab states in 1974 declared the PLO the "sole legitimate representative" of the Palestinian people world-wide.Some moves that Israel made clearly backfired in hindsight:
The Muslim Brotherhood, led in Gaza by Sheikh Yassin, was free to spread its message openly. In addition to launching various charity projects, Sheikh Yassin collected money to reprint the writings of Sayyid Qutb, an Egyptian member of the Brotherhood who, before his execution by President Nasser, advocated global jihad. He is now seen as one of the founding ideologues of militant political Islam.
Mr. [Avner] Cohen, who worked at the time for the Israeli government's religious affairs department in Gaza, says he began to hear disturbing reports in the mid-1970s about Sheikh Yassin from traditional Islamic clerics. He says they warned that the sheikh had no formal Islamic training and was ultimately more interested in politics than faith. "They said, 'Keep away from Yassin. He is a big danger,'" recalls Mr. Cohen.
Instead, Israel's military-led administration in Gaza looked favorably on the paraplegic cleric, who set up a wide network of schools, clinics, a library and kindergartens. Sheikh Yassin formed the Islamist group Mujama al-Islamiya, which was officially recognized by Israel as a charity and then, in 1979, as an association. Israel also endorsed the establishment of the Islamic University of Gaza, which it now regards as a hotbed of militancy.
Brig. General Yosef Kastel, Gaza's Israeli governor at the time, is too ill to comment, says his wife. But Brig. Gen. Yitzhak Segev, who took over as governor in Gaza in late 1979, says he had no illusions about Sheikh Yassin's long-term intentions or the perils of political Islam. As Israel's former military attache in Iran, he'd watched Islamic fervor topple the Shah. However, in Gaza, says Mr. Segev, "our main enemy was Fatah," and the cleric "was still 100% peaceful" towards Israel. Former officials say Israel was also at the time wary of being viewed as an enemy of Islam.
Mr. Segev says he had regular contact with Sheikh Yassin, in part to keep an eye on him. He visited his mosque and met the cleric around a dozen times. It was illegal at the time for Israelis to meet anyone from the PLO. Mr. Segev later arranged for the cleric to be taken to Israel for hospital treatment. "We had no problems with him," he says.
In 1987, several Palestinians were killed in a traffic accident involving an Israeli driver, triggering a wave of protests that became known as the first Intifada, Mr. Yassin and six other Mujama Islamists launched Hamas, or the Islamic Resistance Movement. Hamas's charter, released a year later, is studded with anti-Semitism and declares "jihad its path and death for the cause of Allah its most sublime belief."So Israel supported Islamist charities - indeed, as a counterweight to the Fatah terror group - at a time when the Muslim Brotherhood had not yet emerged as a terror threat.
Israeli officials, still focused on Fatah and initially unaware of the Hamas charter, continued to maintain contacts with the Gaza Islamists. Mr. Hacham, the military Arab affairs expert, remembers taking one of Hamas's founders, Mahmoud Zahar, to meet Israel's then defense minister, Yitzhak Rabin, as part of regular consultations between Israeli officials and Palestinians not linked to the PLO. Mr. Zahar, the only Hamas founder known to be alive today, is now the group's senior political leader in Gaza.
In 1989, Hamas carried out its first attack on Israel, abducting and killing two soldiers. Israel arrested Sheikh Yassin and sentenced him to life. It later rounded up more than 400 suspected Hamas activists, including Mr. Zahar, and deported them to southern Lebanon. There, they hooked up with Hezbollah, the Iran-backed A-Team of anti-Israeli militancy.
Many of the deportees later returned to Gaza. Hamas built up its arsenal and escalated its attacks, while all along maintaining the social network that underpinned its support in Gaza.
In fact, if you claim that Israel's support of Mujama al-Islamiya translates into "Israel helped create Hamas," then you have to say that the US helped create Al Qaeda. After all, Al Qaeda also started as a Muslim charity, Maktab al-Khidamat, which at one point opened 33 fundraising offices in the US under the name "Services Bureau." These charities received tax exemptions and, apparently, official recognition. (Not to mention the CIA's role in funding the mujahadeen, again without the benefit of hindsight.)
Imagine the outcry from the hypocritical Jim Clancys of the world if the US or Israel would shut down an Islamic charity before any ties to terror were known! Yet these moral midgets now claim that Israel is responsible for Hamas terror by not being clairvoyant in the 1970s.
Perhaps Jim Clancy can inform us of which charitable organizations exist today that will become fronts for terror organizations in eight years, so we can shut them down now, since according to him it is so damned obvious.
Despite Clancy's obvious disregard for the truth, there is a lesson here that he and many like him will never accept. As the WSJ article notes, Israeli leaders at the time were willing to overlook troubling signs about Sheikh Yassin and early Muslim Brotherhood-inspired Islamism partially because of Israel's desire not to seem Islamophobic.
That is a mistake that should only be made once - but the rest of the world has not yet learned from it.
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