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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What Hamas really wants

This morning's New York Times gives a voice to terror in the person of Ahmed Yousef, who is the 'political advisor' to 'moderate' 'Palestinian Prime Minister' Ismail Haniyeh. After a lengthy diatribe in which Yousef accuses the US and Israel of arming Fatah against Hamas (as if Fatah would otherwise have lived in peace and tranquility with Hamas), Yousef finally gets around to telling us what Hamas wants.
We want to get children back to school, get basic services functioning again, and provide long-term economic gains for our people.

Our stated aim when we won the election was to effect reform, end corruption and bring economic prosperity to our people. Our sole focus is Palestinian rights and good governance. We now hope to create a climate of peace and tranquillity within our community that will pave the way for an end to internal strife and bring about the release of the British journalist Alan Johnston, whose kidnapping in March by non-Hamas members is a stain on the reputation of the Palestinian people.

We reject attempts to divide Palestine into two parts and to pass Hamas off as an extreme and dangerous force. We continue to believe that there is still a chance to establish a long-term truce. But this will not happen unless the international community fully engages with Hamas.
Let's start with the children. Yousef wants to 'get them back to school' but for what purpose? So that they can be taught to murder Jews and wish for death? My children (who, if you read my profile, range in age from 3-23) go to school less than 100 miles from the 'Palestinians.' Depending upon their ages, my children are taught Bible, Mishna, Talmud, English, Math, Science, Language, Citizenship and other religious and secular subjects. None of my children has ever - God forbid - been taught the value of committing suicide or murdering others. Would Yousef be willing to send 'Palestinians' to schools where they learn to be tolerant of others - even those who are not or who do not dress as devout Muslims? Or would Yousef's schools condemn 'Palestinian' children to another generation of hatred, violence, murder and suicide? Yousef doesn't say, but based on what the 'Palestinian' media teach 'Palestinian' children, I think the answer is obvious.

Yousef says that Hamas wants to "get basic services functioning again, and provide long-term economic gains for our people." Again, Hamas' actions belie his words. When Israel left Gaza in 2005, James Wolfensohn and Bill Gates purchased the Gush Katif greenhouses from Israeli farmers for the 'Palestinians.' That should have been an obvious 'long-term economic gain' for the 'Palestinian people.' But the 'Palestinians' who support Hamas used the Gaza hothouses bought for them by Bill Gates and James Wolfensohn by digging weapons tunnels through them instead of for growing food like Israel did. That makes Yousef's words seem rather empty.

Yousef says that Hamas' sole focus is 'Palestinian rights and good governance.' I wonder whether Yousef thinks that 'Palestinian rights' extend to 'Palestinian' Christians and whether they too are entitled to 'good governance.' Today's news would seem to make Islamism Hamas' sole focus and not the rights of 'Palestinians' especially those 'Palestinians' who are also Christians.

It's very nice that Hamas wants to release Alan Johnston and hopefully they will succeed in doing so before Johnston's kidnappers murder him. One can only wonder whether Hamas' 'humanitarian' bent extends to kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit or whether Hamas has other plans for him. Yousef is silent on the issue.

Finally, Yousef talks about Hamas wanting to establish a 'long-term truce.' It's not clear from his article whether Hamas wants to establish that 'long-term truce' with Fatah or with Israel, but for argument's sake, let us assume that he wants to establish it with Israel. The problems with Hamas' truce idea have been well-documented in the past. First, Hamas wants Israel to give up all of the disputed territories in return for the truce, which means that when it ends, Israel will be at the 'Auschwitz borders' (as Abba Eban once called them) when Hamas attacks again as it inevitably will. Second, Hamas' idea of a truce is that Hamas will use the time to regroup and re-arm so that it will be better able to attack a shrunken Israel, which will have been shorn of many of its strategic assets in exchange for agreeing to the truce in the first place. And third, by this time, most people who are familiar with Islam are familiar with the story of the unfortunate Quraish tribe (of Jews) that agreed to a 'hudna' (truce) with the prophet Muhammed. Muhammed violated the hudna by attacking the Quraish as soon as he felt confident he could defeat them, which he did. From this, Muslims learn that it is permissible to violate treaties and truces with 'infidels' (non-Muslims) whenever the Muslims feel that they can defeat the party with whom they made the treaty. Israel would have to be insane to agree to a 'truce' that will be violated as soon as Hamas feels it can defeat Israel.

But then, I have told Yousef that before.

If Hamas wants to play in the political arena, it has to become a political actor. To do that, it must renounce violence, recognize Israel's 'right to exist' and agree to abide by previous agreements between Israel and the 'Palestinians.' When Hamas does that, we can discuss what it wants. Until then, the world should ostracize Hamas.


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