October 30, 2023 Special Dispatch No. 10916

Egyptian Journalist And Writer: With Its October 7 Attack, Hamas Foolishly Repeated The Mistake Made By Al-Qaeda On September 11

October 30, 2023
Egypt, Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 10916

In an October 19 article in the London-based daily Al-Arab, Egyptian Journalist Hesham Al-Nagar lambasted Hamas for its October 7 terror attack in southern Israel, stating that, like other jihadist terror organizations, it behaved "foolishly and rashly" and carried out "reckless military adventures" to gain a momentary victory, without considering the cost in Gazan civilian deaths.

Likening Hamas' October 7 attack to Al-Qaeda's September 11 attacks, Al-Nagar wrote that, instead of reading the international political map and using its strengths to promote the Palestinian cause, Hamas set itself the unrealistic goal of eliminating Israel, just as Al-Qaeda set itself the goal of destroying the U.S. and eliminating Western Society. This impractical notion of eliminating Israel, he argued, is far removed from the mentality or policies of a state, and only provides Israel with an excuse to pound Gaza. He added that Hamas is similar to Al-Qaeda, ISIS and other Salafi-jihadi organizations not only in its recklessness but also in its policies and ideology.

Hesham Al-Nagar (Image: Al-Arab, London)

The following are translated excerpts from his article:[i]

"The Palestinian Hamas movement did not fail in management and governance the way [other] branches of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab countries failed. However, it suffered from stupidity and disconnection from reality, an affliction shared by all other jihadist groups when they wage their battles but ignore the question of the legitimacy or significance of this fighting.

"Unlike other Islamic entities, Hamas has the means to survive in the arena and become an inspiring mass movement, thanks to the justice of the cause it defends and the generous support it receives from many parties. [But] this Palestinian movement did not take advantage of the characteristics that make it unique. It was taken over by ideological affiliations and considerations of regional alliances, which brought it to the brink of deterioration and regression that characterize many Islamic and jihadist elements around the world.

"The recent events, which led to a war whose repercussions for the Gaza Strip front and other fronts are still unclear, gave rise to a series of comparisons between this Islamist-oriented Palestinian movement [Hamas] and other jihadist entities like Al-Qaeda. Many felt that Hamas, which is rooted in the Muslim Brotherhood, repeated the sin of Al-Qaeda, which is part of the Salafi-jihadi movement, namely its September 11 attack on U.S. soil. This [attack] provoked the U.S. and gave it an excuse to invade Afghanistan, after the Taliban [which controlled Afghanistan at the time] refused to surrender the planners of the attack… eliminate [Al-Qaeda's] leaders and allow it no foothold in its Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

"These scenarios seem to be repeating themselves in a new arena. The unprecedented organized attacks launched by the elite units of Hamas' military wing, the Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, on  Israeli targets on October 7 made an impact similar to that of the September [11] attacks on the Americans. Israel [now] wants to eliminate Hamas and its control [of Gaza], and is determined to eliminate and exterminate the leaders of this organization.

"This event is unlike the previous ones, in which Israel's retaliatory [action] was confined to punishing Hamas and causing it to regret [its actions] and suspend its occasional and limited attacks for a long time. This time, Tel Aviv has clearly been dragged into a harsh conflict, after which the situation will not go back to the way it was, due to the blow suffered by [Israel's] image, the deflation of its military and security arrogance, and the existential danger in which it found itself [on October 7].  According to statements by Israeli officials, this will prompt it to  continue its counterattack until Hamas is eliminated.

"As a matter of fact, this Palestinian movement [Hamas] managed to achieve what Al-Qaeda set out to achieve with its attacks on the U.S. more that two decades ago, [attacks] that were unprecedented in the history of global jihad… [Hamas] managed to deceive the entire experienced Israeli intelligence apparatus and the skilled Israeli army. But, ultimately, it [only] secured itself a place on the roster of organizations devoid of rationality and wisdom, which sought to achieve something big and score some points, without considering its implications and repercussions…

"While the Israelis did not believe that Hamas would dare to precipitate another war, which would cause the Palestinians to turn against it, the movement decided that ongoing war was to its benefit, and that what it had failed to achieve by keeping quiet could be achieved by playing with fire. Hamas, which is a branch of the global Muslim Brotherhood, betted on the intervention of the international community and of regional forces, as happened in the four previous wars in which Israel set out to eliminate it.

"Hamas did not consider the fate of the Palestinians, leaving them to be targeted by Israeli fire from the air, sea and land. It did not change its ways, even though it has repeatedly caused the destruction of [Gaza's] water, power and sewage infrastructures, and given rise to scenes of children's bodies being pulled out from under the rubble and of families uprooted and fleeing from their homes.

"Despite the fact that Israel caused terrible destruction to Gaza and its people, to all the Palestinians and their cause, and to Hamas itself, Hamas – which, like all other jihadi movements, lacks any rational thought – did not refrain from boasting about the results of its massive attack and presenting it as a glorious battle and a historic victory. [In this it is similar] to Al-Qaeda, which still celebrates the attacks of September 2001, and to the Egyptian Al-Gamaa al-Islamiya, which celebrates the assassination of President Anwar Al-Sadat in October 1981.

"Hamas was praised for the courage and bravery of the perpetrators of its great military operation, which was recorded as a historic achievement on its part. This brings it closer, in terms of its decision-making and conduct, to the classic jihad fighters, who are not remotely interested in the suffering they cause to peoples and the devastation that they bring to the regions and countries they themselves control, or co-rule.

"As is typical of the jihadists, Hamas did not invest in infrastructure, rehabilitation or building shelters for the residents, and at the same time made clear its intention to carry out plans that would lead to retaliation and the destruction of everything that had been built. This movement, which stunned the world by establishing a formidable military force in just a few years, rushes ahead with ill-advised military adventures, for it understands that the burden of reconstruction will be borne by Arab countries, international organizations and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah…

"Hamas employs force without regard for any diplomatic objective, and without any horizon for a stable settlement, because it believes that the solution lies in the elimination of the Israeli entity, although this cannot be realized. [This is] similar to Al-Qaeda's plan to destroy the U.S and Western civilization. That is why other parties [are forced to] intervene in order to heal the wounds left by the [Hamas'] adventures and to protect the Palestinians and their rights by proposing realistic initiatives and solutions [to the conflict] such as the two-state solution.

"The Palestinian movement [Hamas] did not learn from the lesson and experience of the Salafi- jihadi factions, even though it was able to take advantage of the uniqueness of the arena in which it operates and achieve an independent identity as a legitimate resistance movement. The stupidity and frivolity of the movement's leaders caused it to be compared to ISIS, and prompted the U.S. to give Israel financial and military aid and greenlight its collective punishment of the Palestinians and its disregard of humanitarian law, the laws of war, international treaties and religious principles.

"Hamas did not learn from the long history of the Arab struggle with Israel, which was subject to a balance of power both in cases of victory and in cases of defeat, because Israel never fought alone: ​​the West, led by the U.S., was always by its side. The resistance led by Hamas did not take into consideration the need for balance, even relative [balance], via-a-vis the Palestinians’ options and their ability to endure, especially in the Gaza Strip. Moreover, by continuing the sacrifice with no political returns, it has exhausted the [Palestinian] people, rather than the enemy.

“Hamas has missed golden opportunities to improve its performance and to increase the Palestinian achievements on the ground, through acts of resistance that are not related to axes and to ideologies, and which would unite all the Palestinians around a shared mode of operation and a

"In the Al-Aqsa Flood operation, Hamas sought to humiliate Israel and to trample upon its pride, while taking advantage of Israel’s severe internal crisis. [It was also motivated by] a desire to embarrass the Arabs, against the backdrop of progress towards a peace agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

"Hamas also sought to demonstrate, 50 years after the Egyptian victory in the October 1973 war, that it is capable of carrying out a similar action.  It did this in order to strengthen its position in the Arab world and prove that Hamas and Iran can jointly inflict a military defeat on Israel, thus embarrassing the Arabs who have made peace agreements with it.

"While Egyptian President Anwar Al-Sadat went to war with Israel for the sake of making peace and restoring land, Hamas refuses to negotiate within a framework that recognizes the existence of Israel and the two-state solution, and seems to have no interest in making peace… Hamas' conduct belongs to the approach, thinking and tactics of the jihad organizations, and in particular Al-Qaeda, which have nothing to do with the concepts, methods and operating frameworks of states. This brings Hamas into an endless zero-sum struggle, due to its very desire to destroy Israel, and while Israel strives to eliminate it and paralyze its capabilities, it causes damage and destruction in Gaza."


[1] Al-Arab (London), October 19, 2023.

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