Fatah is right – Hamas is to blame for the war in Gaza

It’s time we called out the woke left’s neo-imperial belief that Israel is to blame for everything.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill
chief political writer

Topics Politics World

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So, there you have it: Fatah is now taking a more grown-up line on the Gaza war than most of the woke left. Where Western radicals are still running around damning Israel as a uniquely barbaric state that is carrying out a genocidal pillage of Gaza, Fatah says that, actually, a certain terror army called Hamas bears vast moral responsibility for this calamity. It was Hamas’s ‘adventure’ of 7 October that lit the fire of this war, this ‘horrific and crueller [Nakba] than the Nakba of 1948’, Fatah says. It’s true – so why can so few in the West see it?

Fatah is the party of Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority based in the West Bank. It has rarely seen eye to eye with Hamas. In fact, they have a bloody history of rivalry. Now they’re at it again. Abbas has appointed a new prime minister, Mohammad Mustafa, and this has ticked off both Hamas and Islamic Jihad. We weren’t consulted, they wail. In a stinging reply, Fatah said: ‘Did Hamas consult the Palestinian leadership… when it made its decision to carry out the “adventure” of last 7 October, which led to a catastrophe more horrific and crueller than the Nakba of 1948?’

Ouch. And it gets harsher. ‘Those who were responsible for the return of the occupation to the Gaza Strip and [who] caused the Nakba which our Palestinian people live… have no right to dictate national priorities’, Fatah fumed. There it is, the R-word – Hamas is responsible for the present disaster in Gaza. It’s a significant moment. As the Jerusalem Post says, this marks the ‘first time in which a formal Palestinian voice has blamed Hamas for the disastrous outcomes of the 7 October massacre’.

What’s hilarious – or horrifying – is that if a Fatah official were to say any of this on a ‘pro-Palestine’ demo in London or LA, he’d be rounded on by the mob, possibly punched, and denounced as an apologist for Israel and a Zio-cuck. This isn’t a hypothetical. Counter-protesters who have correctly branded Hamas as terrorists or damned them for bringing war to Gaza have been insulted and even assaulted by these hate marchers masquerading as peace activists. It seems it’s safer to criticise Hamas in Palestine than in Westminster or Brooklyn. What’s going on?

It has been a chief aim of the West’s ‘pro-Palestine’ set to absolve Hamas of responsibility for the war in Gaza. Everything is Israel’s fault, apparently. Even Hamas’s own pogrom. As those overeducated radicals at Harvard infamously said on 7 October, the day of the anti-Semitic slaughter, Israel is ‘the only one to blame’ for the violence (my emphasis). Israel is ‘entirely responsible’ for what’s happening, said the Ivy League midwits. Such craven absolution of Hamas was widespread in the days after the pogrom. All violence is ‘a direct result of Israel’s apartheid regime’, said the Democratic Socialists of America.

Fatah’s attack on Hamas fatally punctures these patronising Western fantasies about Israel being the only blameworthy entity in the region. Actually, says Fatah, Hamas made decisions and took actions that had a predictable consequence: the return of Israeli forces to Gaza. It’s been five months but I’m still shocked that educated Westerners seemed to think that people should be free to rape, kidnap and butcher Jews with impunity. Let’s cut the crap: when they throw their hands in the air over Israel’s response to the racist atrocity visited on it by Hamas, that’s what they’re really saying: ‘Let yourselves be killed, Jews. What’s the big deal?’

Everyone who understands cause and effect, everyone who exists on the adult plane of morality and responsibility, knows full well that if you invade a neighbouring nation and slit the throats of its men and violate the bodies of its women there will be consequences – severe ones. It’s good Fatah is finally holding Hamas responsible for the horror of Gaza, but really it’s only stating the blindingly obvious: start a war, get a war. And yet our own bourgeois left seems utterly impervious to this fundamental truth of life. Instead, it has been partaking in a five-month orgy of the most rank victim-blaming, where even on the day Jews were being murdered it was essentially saying to them: ‘It’s your own fault, you know.’

The emerging chasm between Fatah’s view and the woke view is striking. Fatah, for all its faults, still lives in the universe of realpolitik. A universe where actions have consequences. The woke of the West, in contrast, have abandoned such old-world politics in favour of the cosmic ideology of identitarianism in which there are only ‘oppressors’ and ‘victims’, and the former are responsible for everything while the latter must be blamed for nothing. It is testament to how far they’ve tumbled down the rabbit hole of the new racialism that they can only understand the Israel-Hamas war through their patrician ideology that sees ‘white people’ (Israel) as conscious actors and ‘brown people’ (Palestine) as hapless victims.

This is the double racism of so-called Palestine solidarity. First, there’s the racism of their fevered obsession with the world’s Jewish state. And second, there’s the racism of their hyper-infantilisation of the Palestinian people, their ironically neo-colonialist treatment of this ethnic group as so fantastically child-like that they can be held responsible for nothing, even what they do. Their priestly absolution of Hamas, even of responsibility for its own pogrom, is not ‘progressive’ – it is a nauseatingly imperious stance whose treatment of Israel as the only morally culpable party in the Middle East smacks both of anti-Semitism and anti-Arabism. Hating the Jews and pitying the Palestinans is one double whammy of arrogant Western chauvinism.

Fatah might be uncomfortable with the treatment of Palestinians as lesser racial creatures incapable of moral decision-making, but Hamas is not. It has enthusiastically embraced the narrative of Israeli culpability and Palestinian fragility. ‘We are the victims’, said one of its leaders shortly after the 7 October pogrom. ‘Therefore, nobody should blame us for the things we do.’ Hamas loves the moral absolution it has been granted by the West’s activist class. It gets to pose as blameless, even as it murders Jews, while Western radicals get to pose as the saviours of a morally primitive people from the clutches of the Middle East’s evil adult: Israel.

The people who lose out are the people of Gaza, who are suffering terribly in a war Hamas started and which it refuses to end by returning the hostages and surrendering to Israel. It seems both Hamas and its woke absolvers are content to see Gazans sacrificed to their own vanity. After all, what are a few thousand dead Palestinians in contrast with Hamas feeling important and the West’s bored bourgeoisie getting to puff themselves up as saviours of the world from the menace of the Jewish State? Those who pose as blameless so often bear the most blame.

Brendan O’Neill is spiked’s chief political writer and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. His new book – A Heretic’s Manifesto: Essays on the Unsayable – is available to order on Amazon UK and Amazon US now. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

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