Expert Commentary on Hamas and Israel

Some superb insights as to what is happening in Israel now:

The is no shortage of commentary on what is now happening in the Middle East. Some is much better than that of others. Plenty of keyboard warriors have also weighed in on the situation. So we need some caution as to who we rely upon to give us expert and accurate perspectives on all this.

One commentator who is superlative here, and more than qualified to speak on such matters is Rev. Dr. Mark Durie. He has numerous books and articles on Islam and related topics. For those who do not know much about him, he says this in part on his site:

Mark Durie is a pastor and academic. He writes and speaks on a wide range of topics which include the connection between faith and culture, freedom of religion, the persecution of religious minorities, particularly non-Muslims living under the Islamic sharia, the origin and history of Islam, and discipling new Christians….


Mark is a Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and a Senior Research Fellow of the Arthur Jeffery Centre for the Study of Islam. His publications on religious topics include The Qur’an and its Biblical Reflexes, Which God?, The Third Choice, and Liberty to the Captives. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages.


A graduate of the Australian National University and the Australian College of Theology, he has held visiting appointments at the University of Leiden, MIT, UCLA, UC Santa Cruz, and Stanford and also held a variety of positions during the 1980’s and 1990’s at Melbourne University. He was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 1992 for his work in linguistics.

Here is a review of one of his books that I wrote:

Mark Durie has just penned an 8-part series of the situation in Gaza. The titles are these:

  1. What is Hamas?
  2. Why does Hamas think it will win?
  3. Who supports Hamas?
  4. Who are the Palestinians?
  5. What is the occupation?
  6. Is antisemitism part of the problem?
  7. What are the rules of war?
  8. Some concluding thoughts about the future.

He is daily posting them on his website. This series is superb, and I recommend that everyone carefully read each piece. Let me feature a few quotes from each one that has thus far appeared. Also, a piece he wrote just before this series is also worth quoting from. So I offer a few paragraphs from that as well:

After the Hamas Deluge

First, this is not a struggle against all Muslims. It would be a grave mistake to conclude from the exuberant joy of some Muslims this past week that all followers of Islam support Hamas. On the contrary, the obvious repeated failures of radical Islam in our time have caused a great many Muslims to distance themselves from radical expressions of Islam. Today the majority of Iranians resent their government having made jihad Iran’s top export; polls have shown that there are many in Gaza who dislike Hamas’ iron rule; and in the aftermath of the Hamas massacre, many Muslims across the Middle East have taken to social media to condemn what Hamas has done.


Second, as long as Hamas holds the reins in Gaza, a negotiated peace will be impossible. This, the biggest massacre in one day of Jewish civilians since the Holocaust, has made that crystal clear. No amount of diplomacy can overcome this fact.


The goals of Hamas are laid out in a document known as the Hamas Charter, which was adopted in August 1988. There is no evidence that Hamas has renounced or retreated from even a single line of their covenant.


Hamas’ most fundamental goal is to implement Islam fully and strictly. The Charter states about Hamas, that “Allah is its target, the Prophet is its example, and the Qur’an is its constitution. Jihad is its path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes.”


The Charter also makes clear that a core goal of Hamas is the destruction of Israel. It cites the words of the founder of the Brotherhood, Hassan Al-Banna: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it.”


The mission to destroy Israel is conceived of as a sacred calling. Thus the Charter is full of quranic verses referring to warfare against disbelievers in Islam. However, destroying Israel is but a means to achieving the overarching goal of the full implementation of Islam, which is thought to be impossible as long as non-Muslims rule in Muslim lands.


The genocidal future envisaged by the Hamas Charter has been repeatedly praised in the sermons of Hamas preachers. For example on April 7, 2023, Sheikh Hamad Al-Regeb said the Jews will only be defeated by weapons and terror, and then he prayed repeatedly, “Oh Allah, enable us to get to the necks of the Jews” (i.e. to cut their throats or behead them).


The October 7 attacks were successful from several perspectives:


-They were designed to show that the Israelis are not untouchable or invincible, but they can be outsmarted and defeated.


-They put a spanner in the works of the Abrahamic Accords, which were threatening to achieve a rapprochement between Israel and some Arab states.


-They were designed to set off a fierce response from Israel, with many Palestinian casualties. Hamas is counting on this to turn Islamic states against Israel, and win more international support for the Palestinian cause.


-Victory is contagious: the plan is that this show of strength will inspire others to run to the aid of Hamas.


-There were also emotional benefits around restoring Muslim pride. In this vein, the head of Al-Azhar University in Egypt declared, “The Azhar proudly salutes the Palestinian people who have just restored our confidence, vitalized our souls and breathed life into us after we had thought it was gone forever.” Likewise an Australian Muslim, Imam Ibrahim Dadoun was shouting with joy as he preached on the street in Sydney after the massacre, his phrases punctuated by roars of ‘Allahu Akbar’ from the enthusiastic crowd: “I’m smiling and I’m happy. I’m elated. It’s a day of courage. It’s a day of happiness. It’s a day of pride. It’s a day of victory! This is the day we’ve been waiting for!”


The attacks on October 7 will lead – and already have led – to many Muslim casualties. This is of course a great tragedy. However, this was intentional, and is calculated to increase support for Hamas.


We have been told by the Israelis that around 1,500 jihadis who came in from Gaza were killed in Israel over the ensuing days. There are also many casualties in Gaza bombardment, and even more Gazan casualties will result if Israeli ground troups enter Gaza. All in all, thousands of Gazans will die as a result of Hamas’ attack.


Hamas knew this. Indeed they are counting on it. Hamas complains about Palestinian casualties, while deliberately taking actions which increases these casualties. How can this be?


First, it is part of Hamas’ ideology that every Muslim killed in the war against Israel is a martyr who will attain paradise. This is something that, in their view, every Muslim should aspire to. From Hamas’ perspective, Muslims are fortunate to die in this way.


Second, Hamas counts on Gazan casualties to increase sympathy and support for their cause. They want to drive a wedge between Israelis and Muslims everywhere, and the best, proven way to do this is by causing many, many Muslim casualties at the hands of the Israelis. Hamas is deliberately sacrificing its own people for the sake of what they believe will be certain victory. (This is also the reason why Hamas is known to hide and shoot off rockets in Gazan schools, even though this endangers Palestinian children.)


When Jews forged their new national identity as Israelis, they left the labels “Palestine” and “Palestinian” to the Arabs, who took these to refer to an Arab identity in opposition to Jewish Israel. The word “Palestine” came to signify the illegitimacy of a Jewish presence.


Over time, the narrative developed that only Arab Palestinians are the indigenous, original inhabitants of Palestine. The PLO leader, Faysal al-Husseini expressed this perspective as follows in 2001:


“If you are asking me as a Pan-Arab nationalist what are the Palestinian borders according to the higher strategy, I will immediately reply: ‘From the river to the sea.’ Palestine in its entirety is an Arab land, the land of the Arab nation …”

This strategy for presenting the Palestinian cause appealed to ideas about decolonization: the Arabs were claimed to be indigenous, and Jews were said to be alien colonizers.


In an Islamization of history, Palestinian leaders also projected an Arab Palestinian identity back in time to assert that today’s Palestinians are the original inhabitants of the region. Several leaders have even asserted that Jews have no historical roots in the region at all, and the Palestinian presence goes back thousands of years.


In an inversion of history, Palestinian leaders have referred to Jesus as a “Palestinian” freedom fighter or martyr, who was persecuted by the occupying Romans, making Jesus a kind of prototype of Palestinian resistance, and his crucifixion an anticipation of present-day Palestinian suffering.


“Occupation” is a term meant to delegitimize Israel. It implies that Israel is an alien military force occupying the region. From an Islamist perspective, it is in reality the non-Islamic character of Israel that makes it illegitimate.


Much of the Middle East was Arabized as a result of conquest and occupation by Muslims, a dominance which continues to this day, and has cause great suffering, even in the past few centuries, to the surviving indigenous peoples, who have included Copts, Greeks, Yazidis, Syrians, Armenians and Assyrians. From an Islamic perspective, the conquest of the Middle East by Muslims was a good thing. The word used in Arabic for these conquests is futuh, which means ‘opening’ or ‘liberation’. In most cases, Islamic imperial conquest was final and permanent….


The Arab nations have forced the Palestinians to become a permanent refugee nation, and this for the purpose of opposing Israel. This is not motivated by compassion for the Palestinians. It has been a cruel and damaging policy, locking generations into ‘refugee’ status.

Thank you Mark for this incisive and comprehensive overview of the current situation. We look forward to the final three articles in this series, and further writings and podcasts on this situation. We are forever in your debt. Bless you sir.

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4 Replies to “Expert Commentary on Hamas and Israel”

  1. Thanks Bill for all this info. I am just reading through Jeremiah now and the brutality from Israel’s enemies God describes of what will happen
    to the Isradlites if they continue to ignore God and worship idols is so true of what has just happened. We need another Elijah to show who is the one true God so maybe those two witnesses will turn up in the near future. I still think the conflict at the moment is about who should inhabit the Holy Land but let’s see what Dr Durie has to say.

  2. Thanks Bill for the extensive quotes from Mark Durie. I’ve valued his writings in the past. They give us a more accurate picture of what is happening in the conflict., especially the underlying motives of Hamas. Christians can’t expect a terrorist group to keep to the rules of war. Tragically as always, it’s the innocent civilians who suffer so much.

  3. “From the river to the sea” – a Genocidal demonic chant to remove the State of Israel and Jews from the map.

    But that is not the root of the current conflict. Jew-hatred existed long before the modern State of Israel was formed in 1948, largely due to the influence of the Koran with its many Jew-hating passages. And don’t forget what the Nazi holocaust did shortly before 1948!

    And its not just Israel and the Jews. Islam is rabidly against western culture and democracy – as can be increasingly seen in Europe, America and Australia. Have a look at this short video clip for jut one recent example:

  4. As a boy, I once dreamed I was in a room full of snakes, unsuccessfully trying to keep myself out of harm’s way somewhere near the ceiling… Middle Eastern geopolitics is full of the serpent-ghosts of a host of past ancient, mediaeval and modern empires… Anyone who seriously thinks there is a quick fix to the present conflicts knows nothing of the facts of Middle Eastern history and religions.

    Even from the Medina days of Muhammad’s career as a prophet and military leader, Islam was strongly anti-Judaism, as the Jewish Diaspora communities of the countryside near Medina in North Arabia soon found out to their sorrow. It is no accident that modern Pan-Arab nationalists were singled out by Herr Hitler and his Nazis to receive the status of “honorary Aryans”.

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