October 4, 2010
A bit of background for those who don't know - Mosab Hassan Yousef was the son of one of the founders of Hamas and worked as an undercover operative for Shin Bet for many years. He converted to Christianity and eventually got out of the region, wrote a book documenting his experiences called Son of Hamas - highly recommended reading. He also maintains a blog which gives a unique and fascinating perspective into the situation in Gaza and the conflict. He recently applied for, and was granted, political asylum in the US.
This is the first part of his latest blog, entitled "The furious insignificance of Hamas", which I hope he won't mind me reproducing here:
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
These words, written four centuries ago, describe Hamas and life in the Gaza Strip today.
People hear news from the Middle East, and they ask me, "Mosab, what is Hamas doing? Where are they going?" And I tell them that Hamas is doing nothing and going nowhere, because Hamas, for all its zealots and college graduates, is ignorant.
This doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous. But the most dangerous thing about Hamas is that it doesn’t know. It doesn’t know it’s going nowhere. It doesn’t know how to build anything more than a little clinic with only one doctor and insufficient medicine, which only gives it a humanitarian face, concealing its true identity.
It doesn’t know how to govern itself, much less a nation. It’s not that its members are uneducated; they’re just ignorant. They have no wisdom or common sense. They are unteachable, unreachable and unimpeachable, because their mind is made up and they will hear nothing except what comes out of their own mouths. Hamas believes it is right and the rest of the world is wrong. That it is righteous and everybody else is bad, because Allah said so.
When I was in the Israeli prison at Megiddo, Hamas behaved like a mini-regime, controlled by thugs and tyrants. The maj’d, its security wing, tortured men until they made up anything, denounced anyone to make the pain stop. And the maj’d were so stupid that they believed the confessions. I read those confessions. They were ridiculous, and virtually all of them were eventually disproved. I remember wondering what it would be like if Hamas ever gained control of the government in Palestine.
I don’t wonder anymore.
Nearly five years ago, they won the elections. When the international community refused to recognize the legitimacy of their victory, a furious Hamas soaked the streets with Fatah blood.
And what have they done with Gaza since then? Nothing. They have built no infrastructure and formed no government departments. They have not advanced Palestinian culture or improved Palestinian society. Prime Minister Ismail Haniya was responsible for the maj’d in prison, and he rules Gaza the same way today.
Everyone is gagged and crippled by fear. For my people in Gaza, Hamas police are like Hitler’s Wafen-SS, Mao’s Red Guard, the Kremlin’s KGB or Ceaucescu’s Securitate. Anyone can be kidnapped and tortured into confessing that they are collaborating with Israel.
In a recent news conference, Abu Abdallah Lafi, a Hamas internal security official, said, "we have arrested many," including women, who he called "a real danger to the unity of the people and their resistance" against Israel. Hamas spokesman Ehab Al-Ghsain boasted that his people had obtained "serious confessions and uncovered many collaborators who stood behind assassinations of some leaders of resistance and implemented policies of the enemy’s intelligence service against our people."
I promise you that all of these “serious confessions" were obtained by unrestricted torture. And the "collaborators" have absolutely nothing to do with the Shin Bet.
Al-Ghsain told reporters that these collaborators planted bombs at training camps and government offices and helped to coordinate IDF raids and assassinations. But I know from 10 years working in the highest levels of the Shin Bet that this is not how Israeli intelligence operates.
Hamas knows nothing of Israel. It does not know how to govern. It does not know how to create or build. It understands nothing about human rights. It knows only how to destroy. Hamas is a colony of hornets in a sack. And Gaza is the sack.
"Nothing is more terrible," said German philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, "than ignorance in action."