Sunday, August 31, 2014

Hamas v. Israel

By Mathew Goldstein

Bill Creasy, in the most recent edition of WASHLine, expressed concern that Hamas is sometimes being unfairly vilified with what he characterizes as hyperbolic language more typically found in comic books.  Hamas leaders are capable for speaking for themselves. So if we want to accurately understand Hamas without exaggerated oversimplifications or denialisms then we should attend to what they say about about their methods and goals when they speak to Islamic audiences.

On On December 8, 2006, several months after becoming Hamas’ leader, Ismail Haniyeh spoke to thousands of worshipers at Tehran University in Iran, calling for the next intifada against Israel. “We will never recognize the usurper Zionist government and will continue our jihad-like movement until the liberation of Jerusalem.”

On December 14th, 2010, Haniyeh spoke at a rally to mark the 23rd anniversary of the Hamas terror group’s founding. ”Palestine is from the sea to the river, from Rosh HaNikra to Rafah. The siege will not change our belief, wars don’t cause people give up resistance and resistance leaders. We will not recognize!  We will not recognize!  We will not recognize Israel!”

On September 18th, 2011, in the wake of the Palestinian bid to gain recognition in the United  Nations, Haniyeh reiterated his refusal to recognize Israel. “We repeat today that we are with the establishment of a Palestinian state on any liberated part of Palestinian land that is agreed upon by the Palestinian people, without recognizing Israel or conceding any inch of historical Palestine.”

On December 14th, 2011, Haniyeh addressed more than 100,000 Hamas supporters gathered in Gaza City’s al-Katiba to celebrate the 24th anniversary of Hamas’ creation. This was his message of violence to the audience: “The Hamas movement will lead Intifada after Intifada until we liberate Palestine – all of Palestine, Allah willing.”

On January 10, 2012 Haniyeh gave a sermon during which he declared "The land of Palestine, oh brothers and sisters, is an Islamic waqf, as decreed by the second caliph, Omar ibn Al-Khattab. We shall not relinquish the Islamic waqf on the land of Palestine, and Jerusalem shall not be divided into Western and Eastern Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a single united [city], and Palestine stretches from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, and from Naqoura [Rosh Ha-Niqra] to Umm Al-Rashrash [Eilat] in the south."

On February 12, 2012, Iranian Preisdent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad invited Haniyeh to his country just in time for the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in 1979. During a speech to his Iranian supporters, Haniyeh called again for a violent confrontation against Israel. “The resistance will continue until all Palestinian land, including al-Quds (Jerusalem), has been liberated and all the refugees have returned.” Also, he said “The gun is our only response to [the] Zionist regime. In time we have come to understand that we can obtain our goals only through fighting and armed resistance and no compromise should be made with the enemy.”

On October 19, 2013, Haniyeh called for an end to peace negotiations with Israel, warning that Hamas fighters are preparing for a liberation campaign against Israel.  “Thousands of fighters above ground and thousands of fighters underground have been preparing in silence for the campaign to liberate Palestine.”

On January 13th, 2014, the Hamas’ government celebrated 13,000 graduates from the Hamas youth paramilitary camps, designed to encourage Gazan teens “to follow in the footsteps of the suicide martyrs.” Haniyeh congratulated the participants at the graduation ceremony. “This is a generation which knows no fear. It is the generation of the missile, the tunnel and suicide operations.”

Khaled Mash’al, another Hamas leader, in a speech on December 7, 2012 said "First of all, Palestine – from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, from its north to its south – is our land, our right, and our homeland. There will be no relinquishing or forsaking even an inch or small part of it. Second, Palestine was, continues to be, and will remain Arab and Islamic. It belongs to the Arab and the Islamic world. Palestine belongs to us and to nobody else. This is the Palestine which we know and in which we believe. Third, since Palestine belongs to us, and is the land of Arabism and Islam, we must never recognize the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation of it. The occupation is illegitimate, and therefore, Israel is illegitimate, and will remain so throughout the passage of time. Palestine belongs to us, not to the Zionists."

A similar attitude can be seen in the streets of towns cities around the world during some of the rallies against Israel.  Here are some of the July rallies in the United States where one of the slogans repeated by the attendees, appearing on signs, or declared by speakers, was "from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free": July 7 San Francisco, July 9 2014 New York City, July 11 in Milwaukee, July 12 Chicago and San Francisco, July 17 South Bend, IN, and Boston, July 18 San Diego, July 19 Fort Lauderdale, FL, July 23 Miami.

Could Hamas one day reach a peace agreement with Israel?  Hamas would need to replace, or abandon, it's abhorrent covenant titled "The Charter of Allah: The Platform of the Islamic Resistance Movement" first.  Hamas is currently insisting on an airport and a seaport in Gaza.  Without solid assurances that they will not use such facilities to prepare for another attack on Israel, it is in no ones self-interest to see such facilities functioning in Gaza while Hamas governs there.  Well, no ones other than wealthy Hamas leaders such as Khaled Masha'l who has become a billionaire.  Hamas is currently not popular among Palestinians.  Mahmoud Abbas is more popular and also more reasonable and pragmatic.  The focus should be on the Palestinian Authority and the people living in Gaza, not on defending the reputation of Hamas.

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