While it governed the Gaza Strip, Hamas’ entire existence is the “eradication of Israel” and “Jewish people” – meaning to wipe them out of this planet.
Hamas and Palestinians are two different things altogether. Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, is essentially the Palestinian militant group which has been designated by the US as a terrorist organization in October 1997. While it governed the Gaza Strip, Hamas’ entire existence is the “eradication of Israel” and “Jewish people” – meaning to wipe them out of this planet.
Unlike the Palestinian Authority, which controls the West Bank and is led by President Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to exist. While there were about 2 million Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank is home to some 3 million Palestinians and nearly 700,000 Jewish settlers. That’s why Abbas says the policies and actions of Hamas “do not represent the Palestinian people”.
After Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections on 25 January 2006, Ismail Haniyeh was nominated Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority, establishing a unity government with Abbas’ Fatah. However, the government collapsed with the outbreak of a violent conflict between Hamas and Fatah, which led to the terror group seized control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007.
Abbas then appointed Salam Fayyad as Prime Minister in Gaza, but Hamas did not recognize the dismissal of Haniyeh and continued to rule the Gaza Strip. Even though there were two prime ministers, the international community recognized Abbas’ appointee as the legitimate government. Since the breakup, Hamas controls Gaza and Fatah controls the West Bank.
Make no mistake – even though the election in 2006 was carried out as a result of the death of longtime Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, and the 2005 Israeli withdrawal of troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip, Hamas had won with only 44% of the vote. As children make up roughly half of Gaza’s population, it means only a fraction of Palestinians had voted for Hamas.
Little did the Palestinians realize the type of radicalization and disasters that Hamas would bring to them – including the Gaza War of 2008–2009, the 2014 Gaza War and most notably the 2023 Israel-Hamas war. Thanks to Hamas, Israel will take over “security responsibility” in Gaza – indefinitely – after the current war with Hamas ends, leaving other administration to Abbas’ Palestinian Authority.
Given the horror of what Hamas unleashed on Oct 7, the Arab World has little expectation that the terror group, which was a spinoff of the Muslim Brotherhood, would survive. Only a few countries have openly expressed their support for Hamas, including its biggest sponsor Iran as well as Qatar, which has hosted Hamas chief Haniyeh since 2012, and Algeria, Iran, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey and Malaysia.
Compared to Qatar and Iran, Turkey’s support is more “political” than financial or military. Its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, supports both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. The Turkish president wanted to become the mediator between Israel and Hamas but failed and has since hardened his stance against Israel. In truth, neither the Israelis nor Hamas trust the Turkish intermediary services.
Likewise, another leader who had tried to score political brownie points by globetrotting using taxpayers’ money was Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. He had travelled to Saudi Arabia for the ASEAN and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit, before jetting to UAE, Qatar, Egypt and Turkey seeking support from Arab leaders to stop Israel’s relentless assault on Gaza.
Amusingly, while the Arab governments overwhelmingly support the Palestinians, none of the Gulf states have explicitly supported the Islamist militants Hamas – except Iran and Malaysia. But unlike Erdogan’s rhetorical support, Anwar’s outburst of support was not only confined to the terror group but personally to its chief Haniyeh, who had flown into Malaysia to meet him previously.
PM Anwar has refused to condemn Hamas’ terrorism because according to his hilarious and twisted logic, Hamas was elected by the Palestinians. He conveniently forgot that the last election in Gaza was in 2006 and Hamas had won only 44% of the votes. He could not or deliberately refuse to distinguish between the Hamas terror group and innocent Palestinian people.
To put it in perspective, Hamas is just like the PAS Islamist party which had won some state elections and ruled over Kelantan, Terengganu, Perlis and Kedah. But just because PAS is ruling those four states, it does not mean the policies and actions of the religious extremist party represent the Malaysian people. Another nine states had rejected PAS due to its radicalism and extremism.
For Anwar to say Hamas’ terrorism cannot be condemned because it was elected by the Palestinians is the same as saying PAS’ extremism cannot be condemned because it too was elected by the Malaysians. However, Hamas was voted for by only 44% of Palestinians (less if included the entire population of Palestinians), the same way PAS had won only 30% of total votes in the Nov 2022 General Election.
But there’s a bigger – and dangerous – problem with Anwar’s obsession with protecting Hamas. Already used as a terrorist safe haven in the region due to visa-free travel, Malaysia under the leadership of Anwar Ibrahim could see the country slapped with economic sanctions – the first of its kind – as the defiant PM insists that the Southeast Asian nation will continue its relationship with Hamas irrespective of US pressure.
The US House of Representatives’s Hamas International Financing Prevention Act, which was approved 343 to 46 on November 1, empowers Washington to impose sanctions on foreign persons, agencies and governments that assist Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or their affiliates. In essence, Malaysia and even Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim could be targeted.
And the genius Anwar had admitted on the international stage about his undivided support and close relationship with terrorist chief Haniyeh. Caught with his pants down, he said today (Nov 7) that Malaysia will not recognise unilateral sanctions in response to the proposed US law. What grass has Anwar been smoking lately? It doesn’t matter whether he recognises the sanctions or not.
All countries sanctioned by the US and its allies similarly did not recognise the long-arm jurisdiction. Yet, the effect of such sanctions has proven extremely damaging. Russia, even China, has opposed the American’s unilateral sanction but the practice has severely harmed the Russian economy as well as Huawei’s survival. So, who is Malaysia to say it isn’t afraid of the US sanctions?
Anwar said – “I will not accept any threats. This action is unilateral and not valid because we as members of the United Nations only recognize decisions made by the UN Security Council”. Sure, tell that to the Marines. If he is not afraid, he should prove it by boycotting the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Week 2023 in Francisco from Nov 11 to 17.
After all, the US is the biggest supporter and weapons supplier of Israel, who in turn has been bombing Gaza to oblivion. Like his former boss Mahathir Mohamad, Anwar tries very hard to promote himself as the hero of Palestinians. But unlike the ex-premier, who decided to boycott the 1993 APEC Summit over minor disputes with the West, Anwar has no balls to boycott APEC over the massacre of Palestinians.
It’s not hard to understand why the Malaysian leader has to attend the summit. The US is Malaysia’s third-largest trade partner. Last year alone, both countries’ bilateral commerce totalled about US$77 billion (RM359 billion), with Malaysia enjoying a trade surplus of US$31.3 billion (RM146 billion). With national debts of RM1.5 trillion, Anwar still has to play ball and rub shoulders with Joe Biden.
Still, Washington may decide to sanction Kuala Lumpur anyway just to punish the Anwar administration. Already, the country has received three démarches, or diplomatic notices, from the US Embassy for refusing to recognise Hamas as a terrorist group. While a diplomatic note is considered normal, getting repeated notices is considered a diplomatic threat.
Actually, the US’ focus is the support shown by Malaysia towards Hamas, and not the strong rhetoric calling for an end to the conflict or ceasefire, or the condemnation of Israel, and certainly not for immediate humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians. Anwar, unfortunately, is now trapped with his moronic political stunt – unable to backtrack his declaration of support for the terror group without losing face.
In the same breath, the European Union too might reconsider its economic relations with Malaysia. Anwar’s stance is problematic due to previous reports that uncovered a training programme in Malaysia from 2012 that trained Hamas fighters how to fly powered parachutes. Hamas terrorists used powered gliders to launch a devastating attack on a music festival in Israel on Oct 7.
Malaysia would be in deep trouble even if Europe and the US imposed a small sanction on palm oil. India, having shifted its support from the Palestinians to the Israelis, could slash its imports of palm oil from Malaysia if Washington proceeds with the sanction. Tesla’s multi-billion-dollar investments, which Anwar has been bragging about, could also be suspended or cancelled.
Panicked, Anwar compared Hamas to Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress’s push to end apartheid in South Africa. He had no idea that unlike Mandela, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for non-violent resistance, Hamas killed more than 1,400 Israelis and took around 240 people hostage. Heck, he had even compared Gaza bombardment to the Hiroshima destruction.
The self-inflicted diplomacy crisis – and potentially economic and currency crises – has already seen how the opposition Perikatan Nasional uses the golden opportunity to pressure the prime minister to become more extreme and radical by accusing him of being apologetic to the Zionist regime. He could just restrict his support for the Palestinians just like other Arabs, but he couldn’t resist digging his own grave simply because Hamas and ABIM, a radical movement he co-founded, were cut from the same cloth – the Muslim Brotherhood. – Finance Twitter