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I am new here, therefore I would like to ask for pointers regarding this question. The brutality of the oct 7 attack on Israel astonished me, and as more and more forensic evidence and testimonies come in addition to the original Hamas videos, I am left with questions whether the behavior demonstrated is the official line of Hamas.

I am aware that the subject is very touchy and traumatizing, and I wouldn't post it on bicycles or aviation SE, but unfortunately political ideologies and their implementation often lead to loss of life, therefore it seems to me that it is well within the scope of this stack to discuss it.

The linked CNN video has disclaimers, and I tried to keep my opinions out of the question, in fact, I claim complete ignorance and I truly try to understand what caused the behavior described in the linked CNN video.

While political science can be considered humanistic / social science, I think it's highly relevant to ask questions and try to analyze political ideologies and tactics, even if sometimes we cant get a direct perspective into the decision making process of statesmen or terrorist organizations, but rather need to figure out their intentions from letters, speeches and international agreements.

So, what makes this specific question opinion-based, and how could I improve it?

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Well, I'll repeat what I originally commented:

Who knows the answer to what orders were or strategy?

Well... Hamas leaders, the Hamas terrorists who did the atrocities. And the IDF having access to captured prisoners.

You can expect no honesty of the first lot. The second are dead. And the third will not grant prisoner access to journalists, at this time, except on their own terms.

This means that no one posting answers is likely to be accessing sources known to, and verifiable by, the public.

Now, give it some years to study this, interview people, memoirs, formal academic studies? Sure. Some light may come out. But not right away, not under wartime information control.

What do we learn?

Another problem is how much we are likely to learn about a community's general civilian population by examining the deeds of an, extremely pathological, subset of its members.

If we had knowledge of a policy by Hamas' leadership, we could be discussing that. Without that, I fear the conversation will devolve into a general discussion of "Palestinian society". Or "Islam". Which might be on topic for a psychology/sociology site, but not a political one. And with all the risks of finger-pointing that goes with it.

How much, for example, would a discussion of the actions of the Abu Ghraib or My Lai perpetrators tell us about American society in general?

Quite a lot, according to the more rabid American detractors. But is that really the case? Or would it just be an opportunity to vent some stereotypes?

Not that I think some of the members of Palestinian society reflect very well from celebrating these types of events. As in the videos circulated by Hamas regarding your user namesake. As in the idiots who were filmed celebrating 9/11. Or Kuwait 1990. There is some pathology going on, but that doesn't make it a subject for this site, IMHO.

Just to be clear: I do think the atrocities were planned and/or were condoned by the leadership. They happened and were not coincidental. But that is only my opinion and I think the only things people are liable to bring to the table on this Q will be more opinions.

If we had better sources available, yes, no problem with this question. The lack of them means we will end up with opinion-based answers.

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    If 1st sources were the only types of analysis available, archeology would be impossible and no criminal conviction would ever be possible without a confession. Outcomes can be judged to be intended if (1) they are prevalent and (2) there is no evidence of efforts to prevent them or to punish them after the fact. Nov 20, 2023 at 18:54
  • Yes, as I have commented on the original Q, I do think the atrocities were planned or condoned. They happened and were not incidental. But neither you or me have any hard data. And... archeology happens years after, which has very little bearing to asking these questions within a month, before academics have studied them. Nov 20, 2023 at 18:56
  • @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica kidnapping of children - check. hamas admits it and negotiating about them. in addition,we have forensic evidence about and the videos from hamas.at this point denying and claiming we dont have evidence is, well... seems like denial despite all the information coming in. which - I understand. it's an ugly business. but we're doing a disservice to everyone trying to ignore it. Nov 20, 2023 at 21:12
  • @ForShaniNicoleLouk I think the question has drifted away a bit from its initial premise: To quote the first version: What part mutilation and sexual assault plays in Hamas' policy? According to this recent CNN video Hamas terrorists engaged in sexual assault and mutilation of their victims, among them 13-14 year old girls. But was this part of the plan, were they given instructions to do so? And if yes, for what purpose? And if no, were those terrorists condemned by their organisation? That is what my answer is replying to. Nov 20, 2023 at 21:19
  • Not the current version: Not the current Is mutilation, sexual assault and kidnappings of minors a part of Hamas' ideology or do they oppose it? That's a different, more focussed question. The title can be answered: they don't seem to oppose it. The details, about their exact ideology: back to my objections: We do have evidence to the acts. But we can only speculate as to their purpose, which, IMHO, had a large anti-Semitic component to it. Nov 20, 2023 at 21:29
  • To put it another way: do you expect to get someone with a publicly-verifiable smoking gun that quotes Hamas leaders saying: "Go forth, kill and mutilate. This will accomplish X!" If not, what do you expect to hear? Nov 20, 2023 at 21:34
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    "How much, for example, would a discussion of the actions of the Abu Ghraib or My Lai perpetrators tell us about American society in general?" Well, checking, that at least some perpetrators in both cases got convicted and comparing it to Hero of Russia medal after Alkhan-Yurt massacre tells me something. Nov 21, 2023 at 14:35
  • @TadeuszKopec Good point. Perhaps in a year or so we can ask what Hamas did to commemorate, or punish, those massacres. That would be on topic. And, yes compare giving out medal awards to demotions and jail time. But honestly that will time to sort itself out, it's, again, too early to be asking that Q. And it is also not the Q that was being asked about here. Nov 21, 2023 at 22:16
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An opinion is a belief that isn't necessarily based on facts or knowledge.

There are a lot of platforms in the internet where one can share their opinions. And discuss it further. SEs isn't one of them because we are more interested in sharing factual knowledge, and discourage a debate. (In fact, answers here aren't even supposed to refer to other answers here - a rule though that is not strictly followed in Po.SE - and should independently stand on its own merits).

Something that is factual can be verified. So when people make some claim here, we (in my opinion) require them to cite some reputable sources or an expert so that we can verify the claim and attest for ourself that it is factual. This is even more helpful when the answer is some form of deductive reasoning.

For example, when you claim that "Some media or Israeli politicians says Hamas' ideology promotes torture and savagery", we can verify that statement is factual by checking the mainstream media (or other sources) for reports of such statements.

But if you ask, "Is mutilation, sexual assault and kidnappings of minors a part of Hamas' ideology or do they oppose it?", in the absence of verifiable information, you are likely only to get opinions.

You can see that in the comments (including mine) and the answers - none of them offers an explanation that clearly answers your question satisfactorily - yes or no - nor do they state something relevant on Hamas' ideology that can be corroborated. All of them approach the answer indirectly, deriving opinionated reasoning from some other unrelated political facts - offering their own political analysis (which you feel should be allowed).

I see that you haven't marked any of the answer as 'accepted' yet. Probably because none of them are truly satisfactory.

But I am sure if I were to offer a political analysis listing all the brutalities that Hamas has done and then stated that the action of Hamas suggests beyond doubt that mutilation and sexual assault is part of their ideology, you would accept that as an answer because it conforms with your opinions that you have accepted as a fact. (Please not that I am just pointing out a common psychological fact about us all, and not attacking you). Yet, my own "analysis" would be flawed and limited by the lack of verifiable public information available about Hamas. While the reasoning behind my analysis may be sound, it may not necessarily be correct as it is still based on limited data. (For example, as you asked, we do not know if Hamas has punished anyone for raping teenagers. If they have, that fact would make my "political analysis" totally wrong, however reasonable it may have sounded).

In other words, we prefer factual answers to opinionated political analysis (based on sound reasoning), and thus questions that can be answered factually too are encouraged over open-ended questions.

And if the current lack of public information, as in the case of your question, will invite only speculative answers - I have often recommended that such questions be allowed to simmer till more public information is available. But, at the same time, I have also suggested that speculative answers to such questions be just deleted. (Otherwise some use this opportunity to just push their propaganda or turn the question into a discussion / debate).

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I see it was closed twice. And I did vote to close it first time around. My thinking then was along of Italian Philosopher's, but more precisely I recalled all the semantic games that Hamas has played with their definition of civilian. So, it seemed pretty unlikely they'd admit to mutilation, rape etc., especially of minors:

Is mutilation, sexual assault and kidnappings of minors a part of Hamas' ideology or do they oppose it?

Most of the rest of your Q however is asking other questions, relating to Oct 7.

But was this part of the plan, were they given instructions to do so? And if yes, for what purpose?

And if no, were those terrorists condemned by their organization? Were they acting against or in accordance to the values of their covenant and the line of the Hamas leaders?

There's no easy way for me check which checkbox I chose back then (the displayed reason is based on the majority of votes), but possibly I might have gone for 'Needs more focus'.

I see the version I voted to close was a bit shorter, but was even more focused on whether that was part of the plan, which IMHO is the least answerable with uncontroversial evidence:

What part mutilation and sexual assault plays in Hamas' policy?

According to this recent CNN video Hamas terrorists engaged in sexual assault and mutilation of their victims, among them 13-14 year old girls. But was this part of the plan, were they given instructions to do so? And if yes, for what purpose? And if no, were those terrorists condemned by their organisation?

And I did try to ask myself about one issue that Hamas was less likely to outright deny it happened (why they burned so many), but there were no answers to that one either, so it seemed pretty unlikely they'd be answering most of the questions you've asked. (Unless you expect answers to come from that guy in Israeli captivity that the IDF has posted the interrogation thereof. Problematic source, because Israel officially sanctions torture.)

I don't take these to hard/personally, my own Qs have sometimes been closed when people think data available is only too approximate, e.g.

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  • i understand. i just try to understand modern day terrorism and it's unfortunate effects on European politics. Nov 24, 2023 at 10:24
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    @ForShaniNicoleLouk: well, you can look at PVV's recent victory/surge as an answer to that. Nov 24, 2023 at 21:15
  • very disappointing how people can so easily manipulated by extremists, be it terrorists or right-wing politicans. Nov 25, 2023 at 14:48

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