In Defence of Hamas and Hezbollah

One of the persistent attacks on Jeremy Corbyn is to portray him as anti-semitic and a friend of terrorists. He has met all kinds of apparently nasty people and has defended both Hamas and Hezbollah. These two organisations are still regarded by the establishment as terrorist organisations. However Jeremy Corbyn is quite right to speak up on their behalf. Their designation as terrorists is meaningless. It is also worth noting that they are very different organisations, working in different countries. They do have some things in common though. The leadership of both tends to be very socially conservative and strict in religious observance. Many of their followers will also fall into this category, but by no means all. For both Hamas and Hezbollah are also providers of social, welfare, health and education services.  But above all both are primarily resistance movements. Which means, like all resistance movements in history, they will when necessary, resist with arms. And this is what the British, American and Israeli establishments most dislike about them.

There are significant differences between the two organisations. Hamas operates solely in Palestine. Like most Palestinians its members are predominantly Sunni Moslems. It was formed to offer a more steadfast resistance to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. An occupation which is illegal under international law and contrary to almost all UN resolutions. Despite this Israel continues to steal Palestinian land. What remains of Palestine in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza is effectively an open air prison. Israel controls just about everything, including the right to travel, both within Palestine and without. Unlike Fatah, which sold away almost all of the Palestinians’ cards with the Oslo agreements, agreements that Israel has never honoured, Hamas refuses to willingly accept Israeli demands for yet more subservience.

For this refusal to accept permanent second class rights in their homeland, Israel has repeatedly tried to obliterate Hamas as a movement, with regular invasions of Gaza and incursions into the West Bank. Israel clearly does not care that in waging war on Hamas their military murders thousands of innocent Palestinians, with their massive reservoir of jet fighter planes, tanks and warships. These Israeli wars are nothing less than the slaughter of innocents. Yet it is Hamas that gets called the terrorist. Welcome to the double speak of the western world!

Hezbollah on the other hand is a purely Lebanese movement. Unlike Hamas, Hezbollah is primarily a Shia Moslem movement. It was formed to represent, protect and advocate for the rights of the Shia minority in Lebanon. The Lebanon is a multi religious country with three main communities. Historically the Maronite Christians have been at the apex of Lebanese society and have dominated the offices of the state and the economy. Second in importance came the Sunni Moslem community, with the Shia more or less at the bottom of the heap. They were among the poorest and least represented people in Lebanon. However over the past decades the Shia have grown in numbers and by many unofficial estimates, due to the lack of any official census, the Shia may well be the largest community in the country. Alas for them they still remain third in the pecking order for state and government positions.

As well as representing and advocating for their own religious community, Hezbollah has always been at the forefront of resistance to Israeli aggression and occupation. It seems to be somehow forgotten but Israel has a nasty record of invasion and occupation of Lebanon. The south of the county has borne the brunt of these illegal invasions and occupations. And the south of Lebanon is where most of the Shia community resides. So it was not surprise that it was Shia groups, the largest and most important of which was Hezbollah, which led the resistance and fight back against Israel. Yet once again as with Palestine the aggressor, Israel gets off with barely a slap on the wrist from the west, while the victims, Hezbollah, get tarred as terrorists.

Absent further Israeli invasions of Lebanon, Hezbollah is most unlikely to get involved in any action against Israel. Its prime concern is the welfare and rights of the Shia community in Lebanon. As such they deserve our support and understanding. As does Hamas. As the main standard bearers of resistance to Israeli aggression, which goes on unabated, and mostly unreported in the west, Hamas will remain in the sights of the Israeli military. We should not be surprised if they from time to time choose to respond in kind.

In both Lebanon and Palestine the real aggressors and promoters of terror is israel and its unrelenting determination to absorb all of Palestine. Time for Justice for Palestine.

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Filed under Israel, Middle East, Palestine

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