Title: Unmasking Hamas’s Hidden Tactics: Shedding Light on the Distorted Narrative
The recent devastating attack by Hamas on Israeli civilians, known as the ‘Black Sabbath,’ left the world in shock. Despite Hamas’s long history of violence, their true character and tactics have remained largely hidden from public view. This lack of information has not only biased search engine algorithms, but also shaped the perception of Hamas as a national resistance group fighting against Israeli oppression. It is essential to unmask these hidden tactics to gain a comprehensive understanding of the situation.
The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has revolutionized human discourse. Complex algorithms now determine the information we consume, from search engine results to AI-driven chatbots. However, the algorithms that drive this process are susceptible to bias, which distorts the narrative. While some research has explored potential AI biases, other factors contribute to this distortion.
Three significant sources of bias have contributed to masking Hamas’s true character. First, there has been a dramatic deterioration in Israel’s standing within the discursive universe over the past decades. The delegitimization of Israel as a colonial-apartheid state has fueled the belief that Israel suppresses and eliminates Palestinians. The dominance of the neo-Marxist, critical theory paradigm in social science has further exacerbated this bias, limiting alternative perspectives on the issue.
Second, the true nature of Hamas’s tactics and strategies has been concealed. Few reports have drawn parallels between Hamas and ISIS, despite similarities in their modus operandi. The military wings of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) have followed the footsteps of Abu Musab al Zarqawi, a Palestinian terrorist who founded the Islamic State. Hamas has adopted his savage techniques, justifying extreme violence through Islamic teachings detailed in the Jurisprudence of Blood and Management of Savagery. These writings provide an Islamic basis for acts of brutality such as beheadings and burnings.
Third, Hamas exploits the concept of embedding, turning civilians into human shields. While some commentators have acknowledged this practice, it has not received systematic attention. The doctrine of embedding, influenced by Brigadier General S. K. Malik’s The Koranic Principle of War, allows asymmetrical groups like Hamas to use non-combatants as a shield, leveling the playing field in conflicts against Western armies obligated to follow humanitarian laws. During the 2006 Lebanon War, Hezbollah successfully deployed this tactic, housing military assets among civilians and refusing to differentiate between civilian and terrorist deaths. Israel’s adherence to International Humanitarian Law has led to reputational damage.
Another aspect that demands scrutiny is the parasitic nature of Hamas. The diversion of international support funds to build a sophisticated military complex in the Gaza Strip is widely known. However, the full extent of this parasitic enterprise and its corruption needs systematic study. Interestingly, elite Hamas and PIJ members reside in luxurious areas like Rimal, often overlooked in discussions that lament the destruction of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure.
Lastly, a pervasive strain of performative and elimination antisemitism propagated by Iran has influenced the discourse surrounding Hamas and Israel. Iran produces extensive antisemitic content, spread in multiple languages, with the common message of the inherent danger Jews and Israel pose to humanity. Calls to destroy Israel are widely circulated, with Ayatollah Khamenei even calculating the exact day of Israel’s demise based on verses from the Quran. This ideologically driven antisemitism should be considered when examining Hamas’s atrocities on the Gaza border communities.
Given these biases and distorted narratives, it is crucial to address the imbalance. Correction measures should include a comprehensive study of Hamas’s origins and tactics, increased awareness of the embedding strategy, a focus on the parasitic nature of the organization, and an understanding of the performative and eliminationist antisemitism perpetuated by Iran. By shedding light on these hidden tactics, we can create a more informed and balanced discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
[Note: The author, Ofira Seliktar, is a Professor Emerita of Political Science at Gratz College, Pennsylvania, and was previously a Scholar in Residence at the Middle East Research Institute, University of Pennsylvania.]
Keywords: Hamas, hidden tactics, distorted narrative, AI algorithms, biased discourse, Israel, colonial-apartheid state, critical theory, ISIS, embedding, human shields, parasitic organization, corruption, antisemitism, Iran, performative, eliminationist, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Ofira Seliktar.