Can ‘Khamas’ Be Wiped Out?

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Omar Ahmed

Jumada' al-Ula' 17, 1445 2023-12-01

News & Analysis

by Omar Ahmed (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 53, No. 10, Jumada' al-Ula', 1445)

Image Source - Pixbay Free Content

Historically, ambitious endeavors to eradicate abstract concepts have rarely materialized successfully, as seen in the wars against crime, drugs, poverty, and in recent decades, terrorism. The ongoing genocidal campaign by the zionist entity against the Palestinian people in Gaza is no exception.

This devastating yet inevitably doomed war is being waged against the Palestinian resistance in the face of the US-backed colonial-settler oppression and continued colonization of the West Bank.

Following the Hamas-led Operation Al-Aqsa Storm on October 7, which has been framed as Israel’s 9/11, the occupation regime and pro-zionist politicians in the US have openly called for the destruction of Hamas, often accompanied with genocidal rhetoric, implying indiscriminant operations against the people of Gaza.

For example, former UN Ambassador, and 2024 Republican presidential candidate Nimarata “Nikki” Haley wrote on November 5 in the New York Post that “Hamas must be destroyed,” arguing that: “the most important thing we can do right now is help Israel eliminate Hamas, as fast and as fully as possible.”

Last month the former Governor of South Carolina also called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “Finish them,” and also addressed supporters on the campaign trail that among Washington’s priorities when it comes to the occupation state, is that it must “Eliminate Hamas, not weaken them — eliminate Hamas.”

Similar unhinged comments were made by other voices in the US political mainstream. “Do whatever the hell you have to do to defend yourself. Level the place,” Senator Lindsey Graham told Fox News, while lawmaker Marco Rubio posted on X: “Hamas must be eradicated & Israel must respond DISPROPORTIONATELY to this & to any futures attacks from any enemy.”

While Israel’s endgame in the current conflict is centered on bringing about another nakba, with Gazans being displaced into Egypt’s Sinai and the seizing of Gaza’s offshore gas fields, the official objective is the total defeat of Hamas. Netanyahu has even recently vowed to “stand firm against the world if necessary” while foreign ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon has called for the “complete and unequivocal defeat of the enemy, at any cost.”

In spite of the Qatari-brokered truce and limited prisoner swap deal, the absence of violence is unlikely to last for long, especially given that the Netanyahu regime has stressed that it will “continue until we achieve all of our goals.”

Yet many observers have expressed doubts about whether Israel can realistically carry out its objectives. Writing in the New Arab, Samuel Ramani says “When hostilities in the Gaza Strip resume after a short-term ceasefire, the Israeli army will be forced to engage in urban warfare,” which has and currently is, proving costly for the occupation forces.

Writer Tareq Baconi describes Israel’s aims as “an impossible goal” given that it misunderstands Hamas as primarily a vast and popular social movement.

“Hamas is an ideology. It is a movement that is committed to the liberation of Palestine. That ideology within Hamas is cloaked in an Islamist (sic) garb, but that ideology is not limited to Hamas,” he added. This is an important point to consider, given that the Palestinian resistance although coordinated is an umbrella of different factions, with Hamas being the largest, a key faction solely committed to armed struggle. Palestinian Islamic Jihad and PFLP also are part of Al-Aqsa Storm among others, plus factions operating in the occupied-West Bank. Thus, “Even if Hamas were to disappear, new Palestinian armed groups would likely continue to emerge to fight Israel’s occupation.”

Furthermore, there is a regional dimension to the conflict, with the Axis of Resistance, consisting of Lebanon’s Hizbullah, Yemen’s Ansarallah, Iraq’s Hashd Al-Shaabi, Syria and Iran. Red lines have been invoked and the northern front with Hizbullah is already active, while the southern front has been targeted by Yemen.

Nevertheless, Iran’s Leader, the Rahbar, Imam Sayyed Ali Khamanei has already written off the occupation state in its war on Gaza, having declared: “the defeat of the zionist regime (Israel) in Gaza is a fact.”

Despite its overwhelming firepower and US support, the occupation army “has so far failed” in achieving the stated objectives of destroying Hamas. Danny Danon, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN and a member of Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party in parliament is of the opinion that “If the government will not deliver what it promised which is the eradication of Hamas, I am sure it will not be accepted - not by the public and not by the political system.”

As war in a Clausewitzean sense is best understood as a tool of politics, any failure in achieving political aims means the war has been lost. The last major war lasting just over a month between Israel and an irregular force, was against Hizbullah in 2006.

The inability to curtail Hizbullah’s operational capabilities and to disarm or destroy them proved to be a significant failure – and a political victory for Hizbullah. As domestic pressure mounts and international criticism, boycott movements, and diplomatic threats intensify, Israel is on the brink of losing the political will again to sustain its engagement in the conflict.

Perhaps the only modern case study whereby a state successfully eradicated a “terrorist” group was that of Sri Lanka against the separatist Tamil Tigers, ending 26 years of conflict by annihilating the group, using scorched earth tactics and standing accused of war crimes. In the final phase of the long civil war, in 2009, some 20,000 people were killed.

As the current death toll in Gaza rapidly approaches this grim milestone, it is unlikely that Israel will be able to replicate the outcome of an absolute victory. The different terrain and environment, combined with relentless resistance and resolute political will demonstrated by the Palestinian factions, along with the backing of formidable regional allies, leaves Israel with few options in how to achieve its objectives. The suggestion of a nuclear option, alluded to by the heritage minister, Amichai Eliyahu reflects both zionist desperation and their criminal nature.

At present, the numerous and ongoing atrocities and massacres committed by the occupation forces serve as a potent recruitment tool for future generations committed to the liberation of Palestine.

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