Pragmatism or Dogmatism: Hamas and the Dynamics of Ceasefire (An Academic Essay from 2010)

Time to dig this one up, in hopes that it can help out with some very skewed discourse following the historic Hamas-Fatah pact yesterday. Check it: Hamas is a political group. Not a nice one. One that has committed atrocities, and one whose rhetoric is often awful. But a political group, meaning: a group with political interests. Meaning: rational. Meaning: interested in power, above all else. Meaning: their rhetoric is just rhetoric and teaches us very little about their actions. Meaning: what’s the best way to ensure that Hamas ceases to carry out atrocities? Meaning: loop them into the political process. Meaning: a Hamas-Fatah deal is GOOD FOR PEACE. Meaning: Good morning, Israeli government. Meaning: The Israeli government doesn’t want peace. (Don’t believe me? Here’s my 8,000 word argument saying as much, from a few years back:

The Leftern Wall

{Foreword: As contrasted to most of my blogs, which are short form, informally written, and not fact-heavy, this piece is an 8,000 word research paper I wrote during my final year at Middlebury College, in 2010, for a seminar on Political Islam. The basic argument, as stated in the conclusion is “that Hamas’ Islamic roots, while offering important frameworks for mobilization, do not determine its policy. Just as votes for Hamas must be largely understood as protest votes, Hamas’ actions must be largely understood as political actions. While Hamas’ rhetoric has been and continues to be radical and violent, its actions, as analyzed through the lens of its participation in ceasefires and lulls, have not lined up with its most radical declarations, and it can thus be concluded that Hamas would find a way to Islamically justify virtually any political position it desired to take. Hamas’ guiding framework can thus…

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