In spite of saturation press and media coverage of the Gaza conflict, rarely are Hamas's objectives put in historical perspective. Hamas are not Palestinian nationalists but Islamists. Governments and pundits talk about the need for an end to violence and a 'diplomatic solution ': sit down and talk. But Hamas, an acronym for Islamic Resistance Movement, simply does not have a negotiating position, short of the annihilation of Israel and the subjugation of Jews to Muslim rule, as per its Charter.
Even the UK Hamas representative Azzam Tamimi makes clear that Hamas does not want a truce in order to aspire to a more peaceful life for Gazans, whom it cynically exploits as victims and human shields. He admits that Hamas only wants Israel to capitulate to its pre-conditions. Hamas would then steal a march over Fatah by appearing to be the only Palestinian force which could gain concessions from Israel - and so be better placed to wage the next war, or intifada.
Hamas is the local Gaza branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Its ideology has two dominant features: Islamic imperialism and extreme hatred for Jews, routinely broadcasting calls for genocide. Thus it shares certain characteristics with ISIS, the jihadist terrorist army sweeping across Syria and Iraq, and Boko Haram, who are terrorising northern Nigeria and kidnapping Christian schoolgirls.
Founded in Egypt in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna, a teacher, the Muslim Brotherhood was directly inspired by the rise of Nazism, as well as Mohammed's campaign against the Jewish tribes of Arabia in the Koran. By the late 1940s the German-funded Brotherhood's membership had rocketed - if you'll forgive the pun - from 800 to 500,000.
The movement only ever targeted the Jews and other non-Muslims - and more specifically, the Jews of Egypt.
This campaign was set off by the 1936 uprising in Palestine directed against Jewish immigration and initiated by the notorious Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini. Between 1936 and 1938 the Brotherhood organized mass demonstrations in Egyptian cities under the slogans "Down With the Jews!" and "Jews Get Out of Egypt and Palestine!" Leaflets called for a boycott of Jewish goods and shops. The Brotherhood's newspaper, al-Nadhir, carried a regular column on "The Danger of the Jews of Egypt," which published the names and addresses of Jewish businessmen and (allegedly) Jewish newspaper publishers all over the world - attributing every evil, from communism to brothels, to the "Jewish danger."
The Jews of Egypt were repeatedly called on to publicly disassociate themselves from Zionism.
In June 1939 bombs were planted in a Cairo synagogue and Jewish homes, but this was as nothing compared to the violence to come. In November 1945, just six months after the end of the Third Reich, the Muslim Brotherhood carried out the worst anti-Jewish pogroms in modern Egypt's history, when demonstrators penetrated the Jewish quarter of Cairo on the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. They ransacked houses and shops, attacked non-Muslims, and torched the synagogues. Six people were killed, and a hundred more injured. A few weeks later the Islamists' newspapers "turned to a frontal attack against the Egyptian Jews, slandering them as Zionists, Communists, capitalists and bloodsuckers, as pimps and merchants of war, or in general, as subversive elements within all states and societies," as Gudrun Krämer wrote in her study The Jews in Modern Egypt 1914-1952 .
The rest is, as they say, history. More riots erupted in 1948, thousands of Jews fled, discriminatory laws were introduced against non-Egyptians and in 1956, a third of Egypt's original 80,000-strong community were expelled and dispossessed. After 1967, hundreds more Jews were interned and expelled.
The pitiful status of Jews in Egypt today would gladden the heart of any Hamas supporter: the country is almost judenrein, and the few dozen fearful Jews still living there - almost all converts to Islam or married to non-Jews - 'know their place'.
It is not for lack of trying that Hamas failed to subjugate the Jews of Israel: the formidable defence system known as Iron Dome, successfully intercepting 90 percent of rockets aimed at Israel's population centres, has thwarted Hamas's objectives for now. Israel's ground forces have prevented a mega-terror attack by uncovering the existence of Hamas's vast network of cross-border tunnels. By the time you read this, Hamas might have agreed to a more 'permanent' ceasefire - once its rocket stockpile becomes depleted or its leadership decimated. And then Hamas will prepare for the next round.
The West needs to understand that there is no compromise with Hamas short of it being disarmed, overthrown and replaced by a more responsible government. As long as Hamas rules Gaza, peace between Israel and the Palestinians will be no more than a short interlude between wars. Permanent peace will remain as elusive as a trail of rocket smoke.