Hamas and the Jewish Settlers

So, some Israelis and Jews didn’t really like the actors’ diagram at the bottom of our “game” web page. They protested what they perceived as a simplistic equation of Hamas=Settlers, which in their view is completely wrong. The short explanation is that we didn’t mean to compare between the two groups, as each one of them has its unique goals and they execute their agenda with different means (not to mention that they don’t necessarily have a single voice to begin with). The reason we highlighted them was that both oppose the two-state solution and do not recognize the other side’s claim for territory or sovereignty. In PeaceMaker, when playing the Palestinian President or the Israeli Prime Minister these groups could present the most persistent opposition to your actions.

5 thoughts on “Hamas and the Jewish Settlers

  1. I think your appreciation of the roles of Hamas and the Jewish settlers in the overall strategic situation is very well-founded. In terms of game play, they are both rejectionists who oppose the player’s goals (at least initially).

    There are other parallels as well; for example, both Hamas and the settlers have a social welfare agenda for their constituents that has a profound impact on their support; each has internal struggles about participation within the political system vs. working outside the system; each views its agenda as realizing God’s will.

    There are also differences, some of which are inevitable given their respective settings. The firm core of Israeli statehood, which comes in part from the talents and drive of Western immigrants during the first half of the twentieth century, has no counterpart on the Palestinian scene. A scene like the evacuation of Gaza by the Israel Government, in which radical Jews were forced to accept a major life-changing decision of the larger society, could not occur yet among the Palestinians.

    As Hamas’ and the settlers’ strategic situations are different, so too are their tactical methods. Which you consider “freedom fighters” and which you consider “renegade terrorists” may depend on your political or religious persuasion; but for a game that must abstract the strategic situation from the political labels, they have a telling symmetry.

  2. And so what happens when, as has happened historically, Hamas no longer finds itself as an ‘outsider’ but in charge of the Government?

    Does the simulation allow the Palestinian player to play a Hamas-style of one-state rejectionism? If not, then how realistic is the ‘simulation’?

  3. In fact, playing the Palestinian side in PeaceMaker puts you in the role of the Palestinian President.Although Hamas won the government elections, in reality, President Abbas leads the Palestinian Authority. The tension and the complex relations between the President and Hamas stand at the core of the simulation.

    I would also like to add that the Jewish settlers are not necessarily “outsiders” as their representatives served in many Israeli governments in the past. In the same way, we don’t really let you be an Israeli Prime Minister with a style of “one-state rejectionism”.

    Lastly, I would suggest you to play the game (if you haven’t) and tell us if you find it realistic and if not – what would be the right way to tweak and improve it. Such feedback is crucial to the success of our product and the social impact we aim to achieve.

  4. the equation of Hamas with settlers is completely wrong.
    Hamas is not rejectionist, it is simply making the transition from a resistance movement to a political party and gradually changing its rhetoric. It has been involved in more truces with Israel than any other resistance groups, and fore more info about Hamas implicit recognition of Israel, read Khaled Hroub’s article “the New Hamas through its Documents” in the Journal of Palestine Studies.
    Also, Hamas is engaged in legitimate resistance against an illegal occupation. Resistance against occupation is a fundamental right under international law. In contrast, settlers lay claim on Palestinian land invoking the Old Testament and God’s will as history and fact. And what arrogance to claim they know God’s will.