The Truth About Hamas

Hamas is not a partner for peace. We need to stop pretending it is, writes Stephen Hoffman.

One of the most naive refrains I constantly hear on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the idea that Hamas in its current incarnation is an organisation that is a peace partner for Israel.  This view is equivalent in its stupidity to those who still believe despite all the evidence to the contrary that the earth is flat. People with these views are either politely called ‘eccentrics’ or given the more fitting name ‘crackpots’. We should therefore give those who advocate Hamas as a partner the same treatment, rather than treating their claims as credible, as a number of people currently do.

It is important to remember that Hamas is not part of the solution for peace in the Middle East, but is in fact part of the problem. One only has to see Hamas Charter that it has not repudiated, to be reminded that its raison d’etre is destroying Israel and it makes numerous statements that highlights this.  For instance. in 2006 Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said, “Hamas will not change a single words in its covenant  [which is calling for the destruction of Israel] “. These words have been backed up by numerous other statements from leading Hamas officials including Mahmoud Zahar who stated in 2011 that ” Palestine is Islamic, and not an Islamic emirate, from the river to the sea, that unites the Palestinians. Jews have no rights in it, with the exception of those who have lived on the land of Palestine before World War 1″. This followed on from statements that Zahar made in 2010 that “Hamas must lay the foundation for a tomorrow without Zionists”. One doesn’t have to be an expert on international relations to see that Hamas is hellbent on ending Israel’s very existence. Since any peace between Israelis and Palestinians involves Israel remaining as a country in the Middle East, there is no way that Hamas in its present form can be seen to be interested in peace.

Hamas does not act by mere words though, it actively tries to destroy Israel through violent terror including suicide bombings, car bombs, bus bombs and launching thousands of rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip, all with the intention of terrorising Israeli civilians and killing as many of them as possible.  During the second Intifada that started at the turn of the millennium, Hamas launched numerous terrorist attacks including suicide bombings at towns across Israel. Many Israeli civilians died from these attacks. Again these terror attacks were backed by statements from Hamas officials, including from Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh who said “This is the time for the third uprising… Resistance will continue through suicide missions”.  From this once can clearly see it is committed to vile acts of terror that significantly harm the peace process.
In addition, it has been in charge of the Gaza Strip since Israel pulled out of it in 2005. During this time Gaza has become a playground for numerous international terrorist groups, which has led to a situation where since 2005 over 8,000 rockets have hit Israel from the Gaza Strip. Either in firing these rockets, smuggling in the weapons materials that make the firings of these rockets possible or allowing them to be fired on territory they control, Hamas is directly responsible. This is certainly not the actions of a group interested in peace. Indeed, it cares more about endangering the security of Israelis, then taking practical steps to build a Palestinian state could live side by side with Israel.

Hamas is also a virulently anti-semitic group whose charter quotes from the notorious anti-semitic Tsarist forgery The Gilad_Shalit_on_Hamas_posterElders of Zion. In addition, many of its members indulge in Holocaust denial. For example, Ismail Haniyeh stated in 2011 that “The Jews are the most despicable and contemptible nation to crawl upon the face of the Earth”. These are not the rantings of just one Hamas official either. In fact, in 2011 Hamas’s former Minister for Culture, Attal Abu Al-Subh said, ” We cannot agree to a programme that is intended to poison the minds of our children… Holocaust studies in refugee camps is a contemptible plot”.  It is no surprise therefore that most of the money Hamas’s spends on education is on materials that preach hatred against Jews. Clearly, this is not a group seeking to accommodate with Israel, which would involve difficult compromises by both sides. Instead, Hamas is intent on removing any semblance of the Jewish faith in the Middle East. Consequently, there is no way that Israel can talk to Hamas as a peace partner. Would you after all seek to negotiate with a person who is intent on killing you, by asking them how would you like to kill me? So why should Israel endanger its very existence to a group who wants to destroy the peace process.

Some try to compare talking to Hamas as the UK did with the IRA/Sinn Fein. The comparison is completely inaccurate. For a start, whilst the IRA was a disgusting terrorist group, which has the blood of many UK civilians on it hands, it never called for the destruction of Britain and the British people. Contrastingly Hamas calls for the destruction of Israel and all the Jewish people living in Israel. The IRA through its political wing Sinn Fein has shown signs that it is seeking to end violence. All wings of Hamas still actively target Israeli civilians.

It is time that the sanitisation of Hamas stopped. Hamas is a disgraceful anti-semitic terrorist organisation, which harms the chances of peace between Israelis and Palestinians, which are in the interests of both peoples. Hamas has currently not shown any evidence that it is changing its ways and until it does we should not promote or give credibility to this group, at the expense of moderates in the region. If some people continue to whitewash Hamas’ crimes in the misguided belief that they are promoting peace, they are in fact harming it by giving succour and credibility to an extremist group that has hate not peace in its heart.

Stephen Hoffman is a campaigns officer at the Zionist Federation. He tweets as @thehoff102

6 COMMENTS

  1. What’s your point here Stephen? Israelis and Zionists are always calling to label Hamas a terrorist organisation, because some of their tactics include terrorism. It’s all done in the discourse of ‘we want peace but they’re preventing it’ which, I’m afraid, though I sympathise with the effects of Hamas’ work on the Israeli citizenry, isn’t progressive. You write well and intelligently, but why don’t you write a suggestion for a successful peace negotiation instead of continuing the unfortunate habit of complaining about everyone else that is so typical of Zionism?

  2. It’s true, Hamas have shown no desire to make peace with Israel and are unlikely to do so any time soon. (Indeed, as the current situation keeps them in power in Gaza, why should they? Making peace would be very much against their interests.) On the other hand, it must be said that the Likud party governing Israel also shows no intention of making peace in return. I think it’s fair to say that *neither* side in this conflict is a ‘partner for peace’ at the moment.

    It can’t go on for ever, and sooner or later, Israelis and Palestinians are going to have to learn to live with one another. Someone will have to recognise that and make the first move towards peace. At present though, neither side shows any inclination of being willing to do so.

  3. Hugo as I am sure as someone who has read the backbencher there have been a number of views on Israel, a lot of them not favourable. What’s wrong with showing someone from a Pro Israel view. Is that not allowed for you. Surely the Backbencher showing all points of view should be commended. As someone who is a Zionist, like many I support the two state solution and support a Palestinian state side by side with Israel. That two state solution by the way is supported by over 60% of Palestinians and Israelis. What I will never do though is pretend that groups like Hamas as some who spend their every waking moment trying to attack Israel are nice groups. They are not and this is what this article intends to show. Perhaps Hugo bother reading the article and comment on Hamas, rather then using this article to confirm your own ill informed prejudices. How prey is it desperate to point out the vile nature of Hamas? Its certainly not nutty its the truth. Oh and by the way recent studies have shown most Palestinian people have grown tired of Hamas and its popularity has decreased. I will tell you one thing though people are fed up of people like you claiming to support the Palestinian cause and in the process criticising anyone who realises that supporting Hamas or the BDS movement actually harms the Palestinians. I certainly am not worried about Zionism or the state of Israel, which I believe is flourishing.

  4. “Stephen Hoffman is a campaigns officer at the Zionist Federation.”

    – A nice balanced view then eh. I feel unclean after reading this drivel. The British public for once are beginning to totally loath the idea of Zionism and are awakened to the Palestinian cause. This blog post stinks of desperation that Zionist nutters like you must now be feeling.

    • I don’t think the British Public give a damn about most thing, Middle East politics included. Ask a random member of the General Public what the definition of Zionism is and they probably won’t have a clue or will spout something along the lines of your comment. I doubt you even know what it stands for.

      Unlike Stephen, I’m not in favour of a two state solution as it has been proposed on many occasions. The “Palestinians” already have their own state. It’s called Jordan.

      I do agree that HAMAS aren’t a partner for peace but then again nor are the PA (PLO, FATAH whatever you want to call them). Abbas and before him, Arafat would say one thing in Arabic and another in English. The Arabic utterings are their true intention. To replace Israel with a Palestinian state but unlike HAMAS theirs would be a semi-secular state with Marxist underpinnings.

      The chances of Israel successfully making peace with any of the various players in the region are zero simply because all of these groups and sects within Islam hate each other almost as much as they hate Israel and Jews. This is nothing new and has been the case since Islam was forced on the region by Mo 1300 years ago.

      Religion of Peace and tolerance it ain’t. About time everyone stopped pretending it is.

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