The theory that Israel helped create Hamas and supported it in its early stages has been discussed and supported by various sources, including statements from former Israeli officials.
1. Brig. Gen. Yitzhak Segev’s Statement
Brigadier General Yitzhak Segev, who was the Israeli military governor in Gaza in the early 1980s, told a New York Times reporter that he helped finance the Palestinian Islamist movement. He stated that this was done as a counterweight to the secularists and leftists of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Fatah party. He mentioned that the Israeli government provided him with a budget for these activities.
2. Avner Cohen’s Insights:
Avner Cohen, a former Israeli religious affairs official who worked in Gaza for over two decades, expressed regret, stating, “Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation.” He warned his superiors not to support Palestinian Islamists against Palestinian secularists, but his warnings were not heeded.
3. David Hacham’s Reflections:
David Hacham, a former Arab affairs expert in the Israeli military who was based in Gaza in the 1980s, reflected on the situation, acknowledging that a mistake was made in the approach towards Hamas. He noted that at the time, the long-term consequences of these actions were not fully considered.
These accounts suggest that during the 1980s, there was an Israeli strategy to support Hamas as a means of undermining the secular PLO and Fatah. This strategy, known as “divide and rule,” aimed to create divisions within the Palestinian resistance movement. However, this strategy eventually backfired, as Hamas grew stronger and more militant, leading to an escalation in conflict and violence, including multiple wars between Israel and Hamas in the years that followed.