Saturday, November 11, 2023

Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices

Under Ottoman rule, Islam had spread through the Middle East, but there was significant poverty. The Muslim Brotherhood arose as a social organization to benefit Arabs and help encourage improved religious experience. The British control and then the state of Israel significantly upended life in Palestine. Many people lived was refugees, hoping to some day return or be compensated for their land. Hamas grew out of the Muslim Brotherhood. It advocated a more conservative religious practice and grew to encourage violent resistance to Israel.

The author of this book was the son of one of the founders of Hamas. He had great respect for the Islamic ideals of his father. However, he became deeply disturbed as the group began to advocate violence. He had gone to a Christian school and gradually began to adopt Christianity. He and his family had been targeted by Israel numerous times. At one time, they proposed he be a secret agent for Israel. He had imagined being a double agent, but gradually warmed towards working with the Israelis. He served as a spy in order to help prevent violence. However, he eventually soured of it. He didn't like causing the deaths of others (even if the others were planning to be suicide bombers.) He also felt he could not live normally. Eventually, he left to the United States.

The middle east conflict is complicated. There are some perverse incentives involved. Palestinian leaders can benefit from international aid and prestige by not accepting peace. Hardliners would rather keep things in the current state than give up anything for peace. The war is fought as much in the realm of public opinion as on the battlefield. The leaders of Hamas were willing to let civilians die just to make it appear "bad" in the media. (He even documents some "staged" attacks.)  Jews were persecuted in Europe. Now they are persecuting in the Middle East. Palestinians have been persecuted by the Israelis. However, when given some autonomy, they fight amongst themselves. There are internal challenges among the people that must be addressed for true peace.  

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