Theocracy as Political Practice – Part 2


Now, Hamas is curious in that it has almost no political power since it controls no formally recognized state, and exercises this only within the narrow confines allowed to it as a result of a peace process controlled by Israel with US backing. Until a real Palestinian state joins the United Nations, it has very little negotiating power since it cannot formally deal with other states or exchange ambassadors.

It’s founding principles are Islamist and anti-Zionist. It rejects the notion of Israel because it sees Israel as a foreign entity imposed on Palestine by western powers. The Zionist immigration of non-Palestinian Jews was officially encouraged and promoted by Britain, so the later foundation of the State of Israel is seen by them (as well as other Palestinians) as a colonization and usurpation of their political rights.

Though their founding charter is unashamedly Islamist and quotes Koranic scripture as a justification of its political existence and declared policies, in recent practice it has generally accepted negotiating a peace with Israel but has been frustrated by forces within Israel that prevents the process from proceeding per agreement. Hamas attacks have not been against religious targets but against secular ones meant to provoke a political response. It has not practiced religious segregation (how could it?) or any other hallmarks of theocracies so it has not been theocratic in its actions at all. Its anti-Zionist rhetoric is directed against the state of Israel, not Jews (or religion) in general.

We can judge them further once they are able to exercise political power within a truly recognizable state. But so far, this still appears far from happening.

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