Hamas Quiz (Less Detail)

(Less detailed version)
By Jeffrey Rudolph (July 2017)

Mainstream media distortion of Hamas is endemic in the West. In fact, it is common to read the demonstrably false claim that Hamas and ISIS are equivalent entities. Accordingly, the following Quiz is intended to provide needed background and context to understand Hamas.


1. Has Hamas ever deliberately attacked an American target?

-No. According to Kenneth Pollack, former CIA analyst, Middle East expert and former National Security Council staffer, “[H]amas…[has] never deliberately attacked American targets. [However,] The PLO did…”

   “Consequently, it is difficult to suggest that Palestinian terrorist groups are a direct threat to the United States….[T]hey do not constitute the same kind of threat to American interests as al-Qa’ida [or ISIS] and therefore do not merit the same response.” (Kenneth M. Pollack, A Path Out of the Desert: A Grand Strategy for America in the Middle East, Random House, New York: 2008, 170.)

-It is wrong to equate Hamas with al-Qaeda or ISIS. “[Hamas] is not fighting for a world-wide Caliphate. It is a Palestinian party, totally devoted to the Palestinian cause….It did not impose religious law (the ‘sharia’) on the population.” Furthermore “there are churches in Gaza [which] Christians attend…freely, [and] there is a seat in the Gazan legislature reserved for a Christian – that’s night and day from the way ISIS treats Christians…”

   By participating in elections, “Hamas has offered evidence that it is willing to function in a modern state and a democratic system. It has called for coalition governments inclusive of leftist and secular parties. Its government as well as its parliamentary list included women and its first government included Muslim and Christian ministers….[H]amas refuses to denounce Shiites as apostates, and has interacted with them politically. When the relationship with Iran became strained during the Syrian crisis, the disagreement was political rather than doctrinal.” http://www.juancole.com/2016/03/no-mr-netanyahu-hamas-is-not-isil.html

-Hamas does “have a military wing [the al-Qassam Brigades] engaged in armed resistance against the State of Israel, a state that has been ethnically cleansing Palestinians from their indigenous lands…” http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/25362-israel-uses-palestinians-as-human-shields-but-us-lawmakers-condemn-hamas

-For a more detailed version of this quiz, and other quizzes, go to:

2. True or False: Israel supported Hamas in the past.

-True. “For well over two decades after the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, Israel…[supported] the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoot Hamas in Gaza as a counterweight to the nationalist…(PLO). This reached the point where the Israeli military occupation encouraged Brotherhood thugs to intimidate PLO supporters.” (Divide and rule has long been an effective method of colonial domination.) (Rashid Khalidi, The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood, Beacon Press, Boston: 2007, xxviii-xxix.)

-In 2007, the US and Israel not only opposed a Palestinian unity government but, in a failed effort to destroy Hamas, “backed an armed force under Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan, touching off a bloody civil war in Gaza and leaving Hamas stronger than ever.” When the plot failed, Israel, with the support of the US and Egypt, “imposed a blockade designed not only to prevent Hamas from importing weapons, but to punish Gazans for electing it.” The result was devastation for Gaza’s economy. For example, by “2008, 90 percent of Gaza’s industrial companies had closed.”

(Peter Beinart, The Crisis of Zionism, Times Books, New York: 2012, 76. Hereinafter, “Beinart 2012.”)

   “Once Hamas had taken control of Gaza in July 2007, [the blockade left Hamas isolated and destitute]. In this atmosphere, the levels of religiosity and piety inside Gaza increased to the point where Hamas found itself rivaling even more religious groups than itself, namely Salafi, al-Qaeda-oriented Islamists which call for the establishment of an Islamic state with strict and literal application of Sharia rule. Hamas launched massive attacks against them and their followers to the point of almost total obliteration.” (Atef Alshaer, Islam In The Narrative Of Fatah and Hamas; Published in: Narrating Conflict In The Middle East: Discourse, Image And Communications Practices In Lebanon And Palestine, Edited by Dina Matar and Zahera Harb, I.B. Tauris, New York: 2013, 120.)

-“[In 2017,] Gaza is in a state of humanitarian shock, due primarily to Israel’s blockade, supported by the US, the EU and Egypt and now entering its 11th year. Historically a place of trade and commerce, Gaza has relatively little production left, and the economy is now largely dependent on consumption.”

   “Gaza’s debility, carefully planned and successfully executed, has left almost half the labour force without any means to earn a living. Unemployment…is the defining feature of life. It now hovers around 42 per cent…[Seventy] per cent of the population…receive international humanitarian assistance, the bulk of which is food…without which the majority could not meet their basic needs.…[S]uicide [and drug-use and prostitution] rates [are rising]…Gaza’s divorce rate, once just 2 per cent, now approaches 40 per cent…”

   “[N]early three-quarters of Gaza’s inhabitants are under thirty and remain confined to Gaza…Amid such disempowerment, young people have increasingly turned to militancy as a livelihood, joining various militant or extremist organisations simply to secure a paying job.” https://www.lrb.co.uk/v39/n12/sara-roy/if-israel-were-smart (15 June 2017)

-Hamas maintains varying degrees of popularity due to Israel. Israel’s actions have shown “Palestinians that nonviolence and mutual recognition are futile….[H]amas’ greatest asset…is not rockets and tunnels. Hamas’ greatest asset is the Palestinian belief that Israel only understands the language of force….The people of Gaza will win [some] relief [after the 2014 ‘war’] not because Salam Fayyad painstakingly built up Palestinian institutions, not because Mahmoud Abbas repeatedly recognized Israel’s right to exist and not because Bassem Tamimi protested nonviolently in partnership with Israelis. Tragically, under this Israeli government, those efforts have brought Palestinians virtually no concessions at all. The people of Gaza will win some relief from the blockade – as they did when the last Gaza war ended [in 2012] – because Hamas launched rockets designed to kill.” http://www.haaretz.com/mobile/.premium-1.609257?v=F2E00FCD55B7B0599D387420A637B393

3. Which groups committed the following terrorist acts in Palestine to further nationalist goals during the British Mandate period?
3.1 July 22, 1946: Terrorists blew up the King David Hotel in Jerusalem killing 91 persons.
3.2 December 19, 1947: Terrorists attacked a village near Safad, blowing up two houses, in the ruins of which were found the bodies of 10 persons, including 5 children.
3.3 December 30, 1947: Terrorists  attacked the village of Balad al Sheikh, killing more than 60 persons.
3.4 March 3, 1948: Terrorists drove an army truck up to a building in Haifa and escaped before the detonation of 400 pounds of explosives that killed 14 persons and injured 23.

-3.1 The Irgun: Zionist paramilitary group led by future prime minister Menachem Begin. It was classified as a terrorist organization by Israel itself when it became a state in 1948.

-3.2 The Haganah: Jewish paramilitary organization which became the core of the Israel Defense Forces. Members of the Haganah included future prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Ariel Sharon.

-3.3 The Palmach: Elite fighting force of the Haganah. (The Palmach’s last operation as an independent unit was against the Irgun. Perhaps right-wing Jews should not be so smug when they hear of fighting between Fatah and Hamas.)

-3.4 The Stern Gang: Radical Zionist paramilitary group that split from the Irgun in 1940. Future Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Shamir was among its leaders. The “prestate Zionist underground organizations Irgun and Lehi [Stern] executed many suspected Jewish collaborators. They also deliberately bombed crowds of civilians, hid behind their own civilian population, and had maximalist territorial goals. The Irgun and Lehi, the progenitors of Likud, practiced what could be called ‘Judeofascism,’ and, minus the religious fundamentalism, could be compared to Hamas.” http://972mag.com/no-hamas-isnt-isis-isis-isnt-hamas/95957/

-It is not disputed that Hamas has engaged in terrorism — some of it with the clear intention of frustrating peace efforts by other Arab actors. (For example, soon after the 1993 Oslo Agreement signing, Hamas “issued a statement calling the Oslo deal a disgrace and a sellout and urging Palestinians to oppose it. The group, which rejected any compromise with Israel, would devote itself in the coming years to scuttling the reconciliation.” (Dan Ephron, Killing A King: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel, W. W. Norton, New York: 2015, 20.)) However, the relevant point is that now Hamas should be accepted as an important and legitimate Palestinian party. 

-In December 2014, a European Union court removed “Hamas from its terrorist list…” Nevertheless, the EU is keeping Hamas on the list until an appeal process is complete. http://time.com/3637355/european-union-hamas-terrorist-list/

   The inclusion of Hamas on the terrorism list “is clearly politically motivated: Unlike Daesh [ISIS], Hamas has neither targeted nor called for targeting any entity other than the Israeli occupation. Hamas was added to the list of terrorist organizations following the events of Sept. 11, 2001, even though it had nothing to do with this terrorist attack.” http://www.juancole.com/2016/03/no-mr-netanyahu-hamas-is-not-isil.html

-“A [2016] US State Department report says a myriad of Israeli policies — such as continued settlement building and aggressive military operations in the West Bank — are [partly responsible for] Palestinian terrorism [as they create a ‘lack of hope’], while the Palestinian Authority is making substantial efforts to halt such violence.”
http://www.timesofisrael.com/state-department-says-settlements-lack-of-hope-drive-palestinian-violence/  (21 July 2017)

4. True or False: A New York Times reporter witnessed Israeli soldiers intentionally killing Palestinian children in Gaza.

-True. Former New York Times reporter Chris Hedges witnessed and reported the following: “I saw small boys baited and killed by Israeli soldiers in the Gaza refugee camp of Khan Younis. The soldiers swore at the boys in Arabic over the loudspeakers of their armored jeep. The boys, about 10 years old, then threw stones at an Israeli vehicle and the soldiers opened fire, killing some, wounding others. I was present more than once as Israeli troops drew out and shot Palestinian children in this way. Such incidents, in the Israeli lexicon, become children caught in crossfire.” http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/why_israel_lies_20140803

5. True or False: The Palestinian school curriculum incites hatred and anti-Semitism.

-False. “A landmark [US] State Department-funded study has cleared the Palestinians of demonizing Jews in school textbooks but contends that both Israeli and Palestinian teachers use classroom materials that distort the history of the Middle East conflict.” http://forward.com/news/israel/170451/palestinian-textbooks-dont-vilify-jews-new-study-r/ (4 Feb. 2013)

6. Identify the Middle East entities responsible for the following promulgations:
6.1 “Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. This is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase.” “[We aim] at the elimination of Zionism in Palestine.” “The…establishment of the state of Israel [is]…entirely illegal, regardless of the passage of time…”
6.2 “The [entity]…flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan River.”
6.3 “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel.”
6.4 “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” “[We strive] to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine, for under the wing of Islam followers of all religions can coexist in security…”

-6.1 These are portions from the 1968 Palestine National Charter of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Peace/PLO_Covenant.html

   Israel negotiated peace accords with the PLO despite the fact that the 1968 Palestinian National Charter was in force at the time of the relevant negotiations. Clauses from the Charter were rendered void only after the 1993 Oslo Declaration of Principles was signed. (Before the early 1990s, The PLO Charter was regularly denounced by Israelis as an insurmountable obstacle to peace.)


-6.2 This explicit rejection of a Palestinian state was part of Likud’s platform at the time of the 2009 Israeli elections; the elections led to a Likud-led government. While the “Likud Constitution of May 2014…contains commitments to the strengthening of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria, it does not explicitly rule out the establishment of a Palestinian state.” (Despite Likud’s platform and constitution, which contravene international law, Hamas has indicated a willingness to support talks with Israel.)

-6.3 This is a clause of one of Israel’s Basic Laws. (Despite this clause, which contravenes international law, Hamas has shown a willingness to support talks with Israel.) http://www.knesset.gov.il/laws/special/eng/basic10_eng.htm

-6.4 The portions are from the 1988 Hamas Charter. In 2017, Hamas issued a new charter which, inter alia, (i) accepts a transitional Palestinian state in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza (and therefore, indirectly, “accepts that there will be another state entity outside these borders, even if it does not mention Israel”); and, (ii) states that Zionism, not the Jewish people, is the enemy to be defeated as it is responsible for the “occupation of Palestine”. The new charter, which does not explicitly supplant the previous charter, “was announced by the [then] head of the movement’s political bureau, Khaled Meshal…’Hamas advocates the liberation of all of Palestine but is ready to support the state on 1967 borders without recognising Israel or ceding any rights,’ he said.”

   While the Charter is one tool used by Israel to largely refuse to deal with Hamas, similarly odious clauses—provided above—did not prevent Israel from negotiating with the PLO. In any event, would it make a difference to Israeli leaders if a Hamas leader made more conciliating statements? See question 7.

7. Who made the following statements in 2007? “[T]here will remain a state called Israel—this is a matter of fact.…The problem is not that there is an entity called Israel. The problem is that the Palestinian state is non-existent.” “As a Palestinian…I speak…for a state on 1967 borders. It is true that in reality there will be an entity or state called Israel on the rest of Palestinian land.”

-Khaled Meshal: Former Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau. Meshal made similar statements in 2014, as well. (In May 2017, Ismail Haniyeh replaced Meshal as Chairman.)

-A 2009 study by an official US government agency concluded that “Although peaceful coexistence between Israel and Hamas is clearly not possible under the formulations that comprise Hamas’s 1988 charter, Hamas has, in practice, moved well beyond its charter. Indeed, Hamas has been carefully and consciously adjusting its political program for years and has sent repeated signals that it may be ready to begin a process of coexisting with Israel. [And,] As evidenced by numerous statements, Hamas is not hostile to Jews because of religion. Rather, Hamas’s view toward Israel is based on a fundamental belief that Israel has occupied land that is inherently Palestinian and Islamic.” http://www.usip.org/sites/default/files/resources/Special%20Report%20224_Hamas.pdf

-In March 2014, Hamas militiamen continue to “find and stop renegade militants inside Gaza from firing rockets into southern Israel in violation of the ceasefire declared after the end in November 2012 of Operation Pillar of Defence, in which about 150 Palestinians and six Israelis were killed….Israeli officials share the assessment that Hamas is working actively to contain militants from firing into their country. ‘Today we can describe Hamas as a much more…responsible organisation than it used to be a decade or two decades ago — this all in light of their statehood experience,’ says a senior Israel Defence Forces officer…” (Financial Times, 5 March 2014, World News, 4)

-Question 7 demonstrates that Hamas essentially accepts the existence of the state of Israel. Nevertheless, right-wing supporters of Israel argue that “words are cheap,” and Hamas doesn’t keep its word. However, see question 8.

8. Which party, Israel or Hamas, broke the six-month ceasefire that was agreed to in June 2008?

-In June 2008, “Egypt had ­brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas…­[that] was a success: the average number of rockets fired monthly from Gaza dropped from 179 to three. Yet on 4 November Israel violated the ceasefire by launching a raid into Gaza, killing six Hamas fighters.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/feb/03/gaza-tony-blair-betrayal

-While Netanyahu constantly expresses his disgust and mistrust of Hamas, since he became prime minister in 2009 “he has negotiated with Hamas…with far more good will than with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. [N]etanyahu reached at least two written agreements with the Gaza terror group; one in the 2011 deal in return for the kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, and the second confirming the cease-fire that ended Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012.  Netanyahu, who squeezed Abbas hard in exchange for freeing 80 pension-age prisoners who had been sitting in Israeli jails for more than 20 years and who broke up [US-led] negotiations [in April 2014] with the Palestinian Authority over the release of 14 Arab Israeli prisoners, was prepared to give Hamas 1,000 young and healthy terrorists, among them Arab Israelis. While Netanyahu refused to allow Abbas any sign of Palestinian sovereignty in the West Bank, he did not hesitate to recognize Hamas as sovereign in Gaza.” http://normanfinkelstein.com/2014/excellent-commentary-on-hamas-pa-unity-deal/

   “People everywhere wonder why Netanyahu daily denounces Abbas as an ‘inciter’ and ‘sponsor of terror’, while not mentioning Hamas. To solve this mystery, one must understand that the Israeli Right does not fear war, but is afraid of international pressure – and therefore the ‘moderate’ Abbas is much more dangerous than the ‘terrorist’ Hamas.” http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/09/30/abu-mazens-balance-sheet/

-Hamas has demonstrated that it does in fact keep its word. Therefore, Israel knows how to prevent rocket and other attacks from Gaza: enter good faith talks with Hamas. However, it is precisely Hamas’s potential as a serious and independent negotiating partner that threatens “Greater Israel.” Israeli policymakers know that upon proper negotiations, Israel will have to give up land and resources. (As Prime Minister Rabin stated, “Peace has a cost.”) But, right-wing supporters of Israel argue: What about Barak’s “Generous Offer”? See Question 9.

9. Who stated the following in 2006? “Camp David was not the missed opportunity for the Palestinians, and if I were a Palestinian I would have rejected Camp David, as well.”

-Shlomo Ben-Ami: Israel’s Minister of Public Security in 1999, Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2000-2001, and Israel’s top negotiator at Camp David and Taba negotiations. (What Ben-Ami recognized was that Israel in fact offered the Palestinians an unviable Middle East Bantustan — several blocks of West Bank land with huge Jewish settlements in between.)

-The conclusion of questions 6 to 9 is that Israel will not negotiate fairly unless forced by US pressure—for example, in March 1957 Israel was forced to withdraw from Gaza, following the Suez War, after US President Eisenhower applied heavy diplomatic pressure and threatened economic sanctions—or Arab strength—for example, Egypt’s effectiveness in the 1973 war led to Israel’s willingness to negotiate an agreement at Camp David in 1978 which led to a peace treaty in 1979.

-The Palestinians did try a largely non-violent resistance to Israel’s occupation during the first intifada (1987-1993). And, in September 2000, Palestinians again launched a rebellion, the second intifada (2000-2006), which was overwhelmingly nonviolent at its inception. However, in both cases, Israel responded with disproportionate, lethal force.

   It is telling that one of “Israel’s early acts of retaliation [during the first intifada] was to deport the Palestinian-American pacifist Mubarak Awad of the Center for the Study of Nonviolence.” (Norman G. Finkelstein, Knowing Too Much: Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel Is Coming to an End, OR Books, New York: 2012, 114. Hereinafter, “Finkelstein 2012.”)

   The IDF knows that it can only leverage its massive “technological superiority over the Palestinians [if an] uprising [becomes] an armed struggle”. “It is now largely forgotten that the first Hamas suicide bombing [during the second intifada]…did not occur until five months into Israel’s relentless bloodletting.” Essentially, Israel does not fear Palestinian violence, it fears the international pressure that may result from effective, non-violent Palestinian resistance that shows the world the brutal face of Occupation. (Beinart 2012, 70) (Ahron Bregman, Cursed Victory: A History of Israel and the Occupied Territories, Allen Lane, London: 2014, 250.) (Finkelstein 2010, 20)

   From September 2000 to February 2017, “Israel killed 4,868 noncombatant Palestinian civilians, more than one-third of them (1,793) were children and adolescents below the age of 18. Thousands of others, who were also not involved in fighting, have been wounded and permanently incapacitated. Next to none have received their due: compensation from the state that caused their condition.” http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.783329 (April 2017)

10. Who wrote the following after serving six US secretaries of state on Arab-Israeli negotiations? “For far too long, many American officials involved in Arab-Israeli peacemaking, myself included, have acted as Israel’s attorney, catering and coordinating with the Israelis at the expense of successful peace negotiations. If the United States wants to be an honest and effective broker on the Arab-Israeli issue, then surely it can have only one client: the pursuit of a solution that meets the needs and requirements of both sides.”

-Aaron David Miller: Middle East negotiator and adviser on Arab-Israeli affairs at the US State Department for 25 years. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/22/AR2005052200883.html

11. Who said the following? “Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of US partnerships with governments and peoples [in the Middle East and surrounding regions].”

-General David Petraeus: US Army general, former Commander of the US Central Command, and former director of the CIA.

-One reason Arabs are angry is because of the deep psychological damage Israel has caused in Gaza. Consider the words of James S. Gordon, a psychiatrist: “I’ve worked for 20 years with psychological trauma…in Kosovo,…Haiti,…Iraq and Afghanistan… [However,] I’ve never seen psychological devastation [as] intense [as in Gaza].” http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/11/03/gaza-isnt-just-a-physical-wreck-the-psychological-damage-is-even-worse/

12. According to the United Nations 1947 Partition Resolution was the Gaza Strip to be part of the Jewish State or the Arab State

-Arab State. However, after the 1948-9 War, Gaza came under Egypt’s administrative control. And, as a result of the 1967 War, Gaza was occupied by Israel.

-According to Sara Roy, a Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University (and child of Holocaust survivors), Gaza under Israel’s occupation suffered “de-development” as “the native population [was deprived] of its most important economic resources—land, water and labor—as well as the internal capacity and potential for developing those resources.” According to Benny Morris, an Israeli historian, “like all occupations, Israel’s was founded on brute force, repression and fear, collaboration and treachery, beatings and torture chambers, and daily intimidation, humiliation, and manipulation”. (Norman G. Finkelstein, This Time We Went Too Far: Truth and Consequences of the Gaza Invasion, OR Books, New York: 2010, 16-17. Hereinafter, “Finkelstein 2010.”)

13. Whose account of the forced expulsion of Palestinians by Jewish fighters in 1948, on the orders of David Ben-Gurion, was censored from his memoirs?

-Yitzhak Rabin: Prime Minister of Israel, 1992-1995. In July 1948, Ben Gurion gave orders “for the operations in Lydda and Ramleh: ‘Expel them!’ he told Yigal Allon and Yitzhak Rabin — a section censored out of Rabin’s memoirs, but published thirty years later in the New York Times.”
(David Gardner, Last Chance: The Middle East in the Balance, I.B. Tauris, New York: 2009, 161-2.)

   It was as a result of expulsions and fighting that “Approximately 250,000 Palestinians driven out of their homes during the 1948 war and its aftermath fled to Gaza and overwhelmed the indigenous population of some 80,000.” (Finkelstein 2010, 15)

14. When Israel disengaged from the Gaza Strip in 2005, what percentage of the population of Gaza was Jews and what percentage of the land of Gaza was controlled by Israel and Jewish settlers?

-When Israel withdrew from Gaza in August 2005, Jews constituted 0.6 percent of the population (as approximately 8,000 Jewish settlers and 1.5 million Palestinians lived in Gaza) and Israel and Jewish settlers controlled 25 percent of the territory, 40 percent of the arable land and a disproportionate share of the scarce water resources. (Avi Shlaim, Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Revisions, Refutations, Verso, London: 2009, 308.)

-As indicated in question 15, the withdrawal was not intended to enhance peace prospects. In fact, in the year after the withdrawal another 12,000 Israelis settled on the West Bank—hardly a sign of Israeli goodwill.

-In terms of land mass, “the Gaza Strip encompasses just under 1.5 percent of the total area of British Mandate-era Palestine…So, in divesting itself of just 1.5 percent of the land, Israel significantly recalibrated the so-called ‘demographic equation’ (the ratio of Jews to Arabs in the area under its control).” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/11/opinion/seven-lean-years-of-peacemaking.html?_r=1

15. Who made the the following 2004 statement indicating the primary motivation for Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip? “The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process…And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of [the US] Congress.”

-Dov Weisglass: Senior adviser to then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/top-pm-aide-gaza-plan-aims-to-freeze-the-peace-process-1.136686

-Despite the Gaza withdrawal, argued former Israeli foreign minister “Shlomo Ben-Ami in 2005, ‘Sharon’s hidden agenda, which he has been harbouring for years, remains unchanged[:] the confinement of a Palestinian homeland within scattered enclaves surrounded by Israeli settlements, strategic military areas and a network of bypass roads.'” (Beinart 2012, 72-3)

   “[A] separate Gaza Strip is an Israeli invention. In the Oslo agreement, Israel undertook to open four ‘safe passages’ between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Under the influence of the army, Rabin violated this obligation right from the beginning. As a result, the West Bank was [and continues to be] totally cut off from the Strip…” http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/09/30/abu-mazens-balance-sheet/

-“[U]nder international humanitarian law (IHL), Gaza remains occupied, and Israel retains its responsibilities for the welfare of Gaza residents. Israel maintains effective control over Gaza by regulating movement in and out of the Strip as well as the airspace, sea space, public utilities and population registry.” Israel also bars most Palestinians from roughly one-third of the arable land inside Gaza. (Norman G. Finkelstein, Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, UC Press, Berkeley: 2008, xvii.) (Beinart 2012, 77)

   Since Israel occupies Gaza, it’s simpleminded “to analogize Hamas’ rockets — repugnant as they are — to Mexico or Canada attacking the United States. The United States is not occupying Mexico or Canada.” (According even to the US, Israel has been occupying Gaza since 1967.)

   Liberal Zionists “can’t keep saying ‘both sides are to blame.’ Israel is a free country that denies millions of Palestinians their freedom at gunpoint, and has done so since 1967. There is no moral equivalence between the two sides in this conflict.” http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.702155  (8 Feb. 2016)

16. Who stated the following concerning Hamas’s victory in the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections? “The boycott of Hamas after winning a free and fair election in 2006, and subsequent punishment of the people of Gaza, have backfired and the group may be more popular than ever. Polls show that Palestinians voted for Hamas members because of frustration with corruption in the dominant party, Fatah, and because Hamas’ humanitarian efforts and good governance of municipalities had helped people educate and provide for their children amidst a crippling occupation. The same polls show that popular support for Hamas in 2006 was not based on support for the group’s religious or political ideologies. The international community and Israel should have seized on the opportunity to persuade more Palestinians to participate in the political process, which would have done more to undermine extremist ideologies than the current course.”

-Jimmy Carter: President of the United States, 1977-1981. The Carter Center, in partnership with the National Democratic Institute, sent an 85-member team to observe the election which was found to be peaceful, competitive, and genuinely democratic. http://www.cartercenter.org/news/features/p/conflict_resolution/gaza_questions_042108.html

-A “report by the Congressional Research Service noted that the election ‘was widely considered to be free and fair.'” Nevertheless mainstream American Jewish groups “supported an Israeli blockade aimed at undoing that victory via economic pain.” (Beinart 2012, 50, 51)

-In fall 2012, Fatah did poorly in municipal elections across the West Bank. “The old Fatah leadership has already lost most of its moral prestige, having bet it on being able to deliver a state with American and European backing.” “Because of the rift between Fatah and Hamas, there were no elections in the Gaza Strip, and no official Hamas candidates competing in the West Bank.” http://bernardavishai.blogspot.ca/2012/11/what-does-israeli-right-really-want.html http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/21/world/middleeast/west-bank-elections-show-mixed-results-for-fatah.html?_r=0

17. What is the name of the Israeli soldier who was captured on 25 June 2006 by Palestinian fighters in a cross-border raid and was subsequently held as a prisoner in Gaza by Hamas?

-Gilad Shalit: He was probably the world’s best known captive. (Shalit “was released on Oct. 18, 2011, as part of a deal between Hamas and Israel under which over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners were to be freed.”) http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/s/gilad_shalit/index.html

-After the 2006 election victory by Hamas, the US and Israel “quickly moved from a crippling financial siege of the PA [Palestinian Authority], with the aim of bringing down that government, to an escalation of Israeli assassinations of Palestinian militants, and to artillery and air attacks in Gaza that killed and wounded scores of civilians. Hamas had for 18 months observed a cease-fire in the face of these and earlier provocations (other factions were not so restrained, firing rockets into Israel). However, after a major spike in Palestinian civilian deaths and the particularly provocative Israeli assassination of militant leader Jamal Abu Samhadana, whom the PA government had just named to a security post, Hamas finally took the bait and responded with the capture of one Israeli soldier [Shalit] and the killing of others. The predictably ferocious Israeli response—even more killings of civilians, more assassinations, and ground incursions in Gaza…” (Rashid Khalidi, The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood, Beacon Press, Boston: 2007, xv-xvi.)

-“Ignoring immediate Hamas offers of a truce after the 2006 election, Israel launched attacks that killed 660 Palestinians in 2006, mostly civilians, one-third minors.” http://chomsky.info/articles/20121201.htm

-Hamas’s missiles are really “enhanced fireworks. According to UN figures, Hamas fired 5000 missiles and 2000 mortar shells during Protective Edge [in 2014]. Israel’s official number is that Iron Dome deflected 740 of the Hamas missiles. That still leaves [over] 4200 missiles that weren’t disabled. But, according to Israeli reports, only one Israeli house was destroyed during Protective Edge. You can perhaps argue that so few Israeli civilians were killed because Israel has a sophisticated early warning/shelter system. But houses don’t take cover in shelters. How can it be that only one house was destroyed? Because they weren’t missiles, they’re enhanced fireworks…Hamas also perpetuates [the myth of its “missiles” by saying that] armed resistance does work, look at how afraid they are of our missiles.” http://mondoweiss.net/2016/04/norman-finkelstein-on-sanders-the-first-intifada-bds-and-ten-years-of-unemployment/  (April 2016)

18. What are the names of the two Palestinians that were kidnapped from Gaza by Israeli soldiers on 24 June 2006 (i.e., one day before the Shalit capture)?

-Osama Abu Muamar and Mustafa Abu Muamar: Probably among the world’s least known captives. (Israel claimed the brothers were planning attacks on Israel.) http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/mpapps/pagetools/print/news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5112846.stm

-According to Daoud Kuttab, a Palestinian journalist and a former Ferris professor of journalism at Princeton University, Israel holds thousands of Palestinians, “some without charge or trial. Almost all of these prisoners are being held in contradiction to various international laws and treaties, particularly the Geneva Conventions, which regulate the actions of a prolonged occupying power.” http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/23/israels-gamble-in-a-prisoner-swap/#daoud

19. Who made the following 2006 statement when referring to the purpose of economic pressure exerted on Gazans after the election victory of Hamas? “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.”

-Dov Weisglass: Adviser to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/apr/16/israel/print

-The forced diet (i.e., illegal collective punishment) is working as “data from UNRWA, [indicate that] children’s inadequate nutrition is stunting their growth in Gaza.”
http://globalag.igc.org/armedconflict/unrwa_gaza.htm  (28 May 2009)

-In 2012 “An Israeli human rights organization, Gisha, [successfully] sued in Israeli courts to force the release of a planning document for ‘putting the Palestinians on a diet’…” http://www.juancole.com/2012/10/creepy-israeli-planning-for-palestinian-food-insecurity-in-gaza-revealed.html

20. Which US leader said the following on 25 January 2006, the day after Hamas won the Gaza elections? “So the Palestinians had an election yesterday, and the results of which remind me about the power of democracy….And there was a peaceful process as people went to the polls, and that’s positive.”

-George W. Bush: President of the United States, 2001-2009. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=65146

-Bush had a stake in the election as his Administration had demanded them. However, soon after making the statement, Bush supported sanctions against the Hamas government. Apparently, democracy is the right to elect someone the US approves of—Venezuela, Iran, and other countries have also learned this lesson.

21. True or False: Who was the head of the United Nations fact finding mission mandated to investigate the 2008-2009 military operations in Gaza?

-Richard Goldstone: Former judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, former Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and member of the Board of Governors of the Hebrew University. He is not only Jewish but is also a self-declared Zionist who firmly supports Israel as the state of the Jewish people. He identifies the Nazi holocaust as the inspiration for his pursuit of international and human rights law.

   The Goldstone Report found that Israel’s assault was based in a military doctrine that “views disproportionate destruction…as a legitimate means to achieve military and political goals,” and was “designed to have inevitable dire consequences for the non-combatants in Gaza.” Although Israel justified the attack as self-defense against Hamas rockets, the Report concluded that the attack was “a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability.” (Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, 25 September 2009, paras. 63, 1213-14 and 1893.)

22. Which human rights organization reported the following concerning the 2008-2009 military operation in Gaza? “[We] found no evidence that Hamas…directed the movement of civilians to shield military objectives from attacks….In all of the cases investigated…of families killed when their homes were bombed…by Israeli forces…none of the houses struck was being used by armed groups for military activities.…[However we did find that Israeli soldiers] used civilians, including children, as ‘human shields’, endangering their lives…”

-Amnesty International. (Finkelstein 2010, 84-5)

   The war “took thirteen Israeli and fourteen hundred Palestinian lives. Despite Israel’s genuine efforts to limit civilian damage, the war partially or completely destroyed 14 percent of Gaza’s buildings, including sixteen hospitals, thirty-eight health clinics, and 280 schools, some of which were in session when the bombs fell.” (Beinart 2012, 77)

-During the summer 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, the US State Department and Israeli government have “repeatedly claimed that Hamas is using women and children as human shields to protect its weapons and rocket launchers, forcing Israel to massacre innocent Palestinians. [However,] The only evidence Israel has provided for this unsubstantiated accusation is cartoon sketches. [And] even The New York Times has conceded that ‘There is no evidence that Hamas and other militants force civilians to stay in areas that are under attack.’…Ironically, it is Israel that has a well-documented history of using Palestinian civilians, including children, as human shields. In what is referred to as ‘the neighbor procedure,’ Israeli soldiers force Palestinian civilians to approach armed suspects and homes potentially rigged with explosives to protect the lives of soldiers.” http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/25362-israel-uses-palestinians-as-human-shields-but-us-lawmakers-condemn-hamas

   An Amnesty International report on the 2014 war reveals “a pattern of attacks on civilian homes by Israeli forces which have shown a shocking disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians, who were given no warning and had no chance to flee.” http://amnesty.ca/news/news-releases/israeli-forces-displayed-%E2%80%98callous-indifference%E2%80%99-in-deadly-attacks-on-family-homes


Jeffrey Rudolph, a Montreal college professor, was the Quebec representative of the East Timor Alert Network and presented a paper on its behalf at the United Nations. He was awarded the prestigious Cheryl Rosa Teresa Doran Prize upon graduation from McGill University’s faculty of law; has worked at one of the world’s largest public accounting firms; and, has taught at McGill University. He has prepared widely-distributed quizzes on Israel-Palestine, Iran, Hamas, Terrorism, Saudi Arabia, US Inequality, the US Christian Right, Hezbollah, the Israeli Ultra-Orthodox, Qatar, and China. These quizzes are available at, https://detailedpoliticalquizzes.wordpress.com/

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