Blowback: How Israel Went From Helping Create Hamas to Bombing It

Segev later told a New York Times reporter that he had helped finance the Palestinian Islamist movement as a “counterweight” to the secularists and leftists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Fatah party, led by Yasser Arafat (who himself referred to Hamas as “a creature of Israel.”)

“The Israeli government gave me a budget,” the retired brigadier general confessed, “and the military government gives to the mosques.”

“Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation,” Avner Cohen, a former Israeli religious affairs official who worked in Gaza for more than two decades, told the Wall Street Journal in 2009. Back in the mid-1980s, Cohen even wrote an official report to his superiors warning them not to play divide-and-rule in the Occupied Territories, by backing Palestinian Islamists against Palestinian secularists

They didn’t listen to him. And Hamas, as I explain in the fifth installment of my short film series for The Intercept on blowback, was the result. To be clear: First, the Israelis helped build up a militant strain of Palestinian political Islam, in the form of Hamas and its Muslim Brotherhood precursors; then, the Israelis switched tack and tried to bombbesiege, and blockade it out of existence.

theintercept Blowback: How Israel Went From Helping Create Hamas to Bombing It