Here is the full history. Israel supported Hamas for a long time because
they were a force against the PLO and Palestinian Nationalism. Yes, it's very entertaining to see Israel reaping the benefits of aligning itself with Hamas. My next topic will be how Israel supported Iran in the Iran-Iraq war. You know, quite frankly, Israel deserves what it gets after trying to interfere in the political struggles of other people in the region to serve it's own selfish political goals. Since you people have a problem with reading, I went through and <b>bolded</b> some stuff but you should read it all.
The Hamas organization is an outgrowth, really a formal outgrowth, of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was a transnational organization founded in Egypt, which established branches in the '30s and '40s in Jordan and Palestine and Syria and elsewhere. And the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood was founded by a man named Said Ramadan, actually the father of Tariq Ramadan. Said Ramadan was one of the founders of the Brotherhood, who was the son-in-law of its originator, Hassan al-Banna, and he established the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan and in Jerusalem in 1945. And it grew rapidly during the '40s and was, not surprisingly, a very conservative political Islamic Movement that had a lot of support from the Hashemite royal family of Jordan and from the king of Egypt.
This movement, as it began in the '40s and '50s, ran up <b>against the emerging tide of Arab nationalism</b>, and really the story of Hamas and the story of the Muslim Brotherhood is a continual battle for the last 50 years between Arab nationalists and the Arab left on one hand, and what I would call the Islamic right on the other hand. <b>So the Hamas movement, as it grew out of the Muslim Brotherhood, found itself in the 1960s fighting Arab nationalism in all of these countries, including Egypt.</b>
When Fatah was founded in late 1950s and began taking action against Israel in guerilla warfare in the mid-60s, <b>Hamas was -- or the Muslim Brotherhood was strongly opposed to Fatah.</b> They grew out of the same movement. The Palestinian Fatah organization was founded really out of the League of Palestinian Students, that was a Muslim Brotherhood organization. But the nationalists broke away, and people like Khalil al-Wazir, and Salah Khalaf, and Yasser Arafat and the Hassan brothers, who founded Fatah, broke away from the Muslim Brotherhood in the late 1950s.
And by 1965, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt launched its second attempt to kill Nasser at precisely the same time that Nasser was supporting the Palestinian national movement and Fatah against Israel in the areas surrounding the Israeli borders on the Egyptian front. So the Egyptian authorities arrested a man and put him in jail in 1965, named Ahmed Yassin. <b>Ahmed Yassin, of course, is the founder of Hamas.</b> He was, in turn -- we'll get to the end of the story -- was killed by Israel a couple of years ago. But in 1965, he was put in jail by the Egyptian authorities. And then, two years later, of course, when Israel occupied Gaza and the West Bank and, of course, the Sinai peninsula <b>after the 1967 War, the Israelis released Ahmed Yassin and a number of other Muslim Brotherhood leaders.</b>
And starting in 1967, the <b>Israelis began to encourage or allow the Islamists in the Gaza and West Bank areas, among the Palestinian exiled population, to flourish.</b> The statistics are really quite staggering. In Gaza, for instance, between 1967 and 1987, when Hamas was founded, the number of mosques tripled in Gaza from 200 to 600. And a lot of that came with money flowing from outside Gaza, from wealthy conservative Islamists in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. But, of course, <b>none of this could have happened without the Israelis casting an approving eye upon it.</b>
And during these years, during that 20-year span, the <b>Hamas organization was a bitter opponent of Palestinian nationalism, clashed repeatedly with the P.L.O. and with Fatah, of course, refused to participate in the P.L.O. umbrella.</b> And just as during the '50s and '60s, the <b>Muslim Brotherhood fought against the Nasserists, the Baath Party, the communists and the rest of the Arab left, in the 1970s and '80s, the Muslim Brotherhood fought against the Palestinian national movement.</b> Now that's not even a surprise, you know. In 1970, when the king of <b>Jordan launched his massive counter-offensive against the Palestinians there in that event called Black September, the Muslim Brotherhood was a strong supporter of the king and actually backed his effort</b>, which resulted in thousands of Palestinians killed in a virtual civil war in Jordan.
So there's <b>plenty of evidence that the Israeli intelligence services, especially Shin Bet and the military occupation authorities, encouraged the growth of the Muslim Brotherhood and the founding of Hamas.</b> There are many examples and incidents of that. But there were armed clashes, of course, on Palestinian university campuses in the '70s and '80s, where Hamas would attack P.L.O., PFLP, PDFLP and other groups, with clubs and chains. This was before guns became prominent in the Occupied Territories.
Even that, however -- there's a very interesting and unexplained incident. <b>Yassin was arrested in 1983 by the Israelis. On search of his home, they found a large cache of weapons. This would have been a fairly explosive event, but for unexplained reasons, a year later Yassin was quietly released from prison. He said at the time that the guns were being stockpiled not to fight the Israeli occupation authorities, but to fight other Palestinian factions.</b>
That and other incidents gave rise to -- a number of diplomats and intelligence people who I interviewed, saying that <b>there was plenty of reason to think that the Israelis were fostering the growth of Hamas.</b> And, of course,<b> Yasser Arafat himself, in a famous quote to a newspaper reporter a number of years ago, explicitly described Hamas as, quote, "a creature of Israel." And he said that he discussed this with Yitzhak Rabin during their Oslo process. And Rabin told Arafat that it was "a fatal error" for the Israelis to have encouraged the growth of Hamas. The theory of it, of course, was that Hamas would be a force against Palestinian nationalism. And I think it's clear that it ended up, to a shocking degree, backfiring against overall Israeli policy.</b>
Well, the United States, of course, has had one constant, that it was a major supporter of Israel and considered Israel an ally, so <b>anything that looked like Palestinian nationalism was seen as a threat to Israel</b>, and the United States, as you might expect, like Israel, refused to even discuss or admit the existence, during those early years, of Palestinians as a force or Palestinian nationalism.
But, of course, the other big ally of the United States in the Middle East was Saudi Arabia, and <b>Saudi Arabia was the main engine and source of support for the Muslim Brotherhood throughout the entire Middle East</b>. So I don't think there's any question that the <b>United States was happy to see the growth of the Islamic Movement in those early years.</b>
The clearest example of this is when Nasser finally died in 1970 and <b>Anwar Sadat took over as president of Egypt, he had no political base</b>. And so, <b>Sadat encouraged the Muslim Brotherhood to come back to Egypt</b>, and they did, beginning in 1971. Said Ramadan led a Saudi-supported delegation to meet with Sadat. The Brotherhood came back into Egypt and began to organize, with Sadat's official encouragement, and <b>certainly with the knowledge and support of the United States, a powerful political constituency for the Islamists in Egypt</b>. And they not only created mosques, but took over al-Azhar, the main center of the Islamic thought in Cairo and, really, in the world, some people would say, and became a major political and religious presence in Egypt, as well.
Not only that, <b>the United States and Israel, apparently with Jordan's help, too, encouraged the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria in a virtual civil war that began in the 1970s. There were training camps in Jordan and in Lebanon, supported by King Hussein and by the Israelis, with full knowledge of the United States, to train Muslim Brotherhood commandos to try to destabilize the Syrian regime. So the Muslim Brotherhood was a sort of an underground force that was roughly allied, to a significant degree, with America's allies in the Middle East. And the Syrian Civil War, the Lebanese Civil War, the Jordanian Black September Civil War, many of these conflicts that all revolved around control of the Middle East and, in a larger sense, control of the Middle East oil resources, pit the United States against anything that looked like a nationalist force.</b>