One of Israel’s key demands of Palestinians is that the Jewish state be recognized as legitimate. This month the Palestinian terrorist group HAMAS published a revised charter that purports to show the organization has moderated because it dropped the call for Israel’s destruction contained in its original 1988 charter. The new charter contains flowery language about democracy and civil rights “for all,” and makes no mention of the Muslim Brotherhood, even though in the 1988 document it defined itself as a wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. Despite these superficial changes the fundamental goals of HAMAS have not changed.
For decades the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and HAMAS (an Arabic acronym for Islamic Resistance Movement) have played a good cop-bad cop routine on the world stage, with PLO as the “good cop” and HAMAS as the bad. While the PLO has engaged in endless negotiations to “resolve the Palestinian issue,” HAMAS has conducted a virtually non-stop campaign of terror. The West’s efforts to broker a solution highlight the absurd fantasy of this political dance, for how could the PLO ever broker any kind of agreement with Israel while HAMAS plainly rejects all peace efforts? And how are we to take the PLO seriously when its operatives raise their children to be suicide bombers?
Who speaks for the Palestinians, the PLO or HAMAS? The answer is “Yes.”
The old charter of HAMAS said “Israel will… continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it…” The new charter aims to “liberate Palestine and confront the Zionist project.” What’s the difference?
The charter makes plain that HAMAS considers all of Israel to be Palestine. It refutes history by claiming that Jerusalem is Palestine’s capital, and claims, “Its Islamic and Christian holy places belong exclusively to the Palestinian people and to the Arab and Islamic Ummah.” It ignores the fact that Jerusalem was a city 2,400 years before Christ and that Islam didn’t surface until 3,000 years later in the seventh century A.D.
Article 9 calls for armed struggle.
Article 10 calls for “commando action”.
Article 15 calls it a duty of the “Arab homeland” to eliminate Zionism in Palestine.
Article 19 says the creation of Israel was and remains “illegal.”
Article 21 rejects “all solutions which are substitutes for the total liberation of Palestine.”
In these particulars, the PLO Charter is scarcely different from the original HAMAS document and the latest one as well. The determination of HAMAS to ultimately occupy all of Israel is reiterated repeatedly in sections 21 through 27, concluding:
27. A real state of Palestine is a state that has been liberated. There is no alternative to a fully sovereign Palestinian State on the entire national Palestinian soil, with Jerusalem as its capital.
Articles 13 and 14 of the PLO Charter call Palestine and Palestinians “an integral part of the Arab nation,” and that Palestinian “liberation” and “Arab unity” are complementary goals. It makes “Arab existence itself” dependent on the Palestinians’ success in defeating Israel.
But in fact, the entire notion of a distinct “Palestinian” people is a fiction, as acknowledged by late PLO leader Zahir Muhsein:
The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct “Palestinian people” to oppose Zionism…
In backhanded fashion, HAMAS interior minister Fathi Hammad acknowledged the same thing. In this case, he was appealing for help from Saudi Arabia and Egypt on the basis that Palestinians are actually just Saudis and Egyptians:
Personally, half my family is Egyptian. We are all like that. More than 30 families in the Gaza Strip are called Al-Masri [“Egyptian”]. Brothers, half of the Palestinians are Egyptians and the other half are Saudis.
But he also makes clear for HAMAS what is explicit in the PLO charter, i.e. to wage jihad against Israel on behalf of all Muslims:
Al-Aqsa and the land of Palestine represent the spearhead for Islam and for the Muslims. Therefore, when we seek the help of our Arab brothers, we are not seeking their help in order to eat, to live, to drink, to dress, or to live a life of luxury. No. When we seek their help, it is in order to continue to wage Jihad.
The new HAMAS document nominally accepts a state of Israel based on the 1967 borders (a proposition Israel rejects), but makes clear that the ultimate goal has not changed:
20. Hamas believes that no part of the land of Palestine shall be compromised or conceded, irrespective of the causes, the circumstances and the pressures and no matter how long the occupation lasts. Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea…
One of President Trump’s main complaints about the Palestinians is that they raise their children “in a culture of hatred.” Trump met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas this month and Abbas told him, “I affirm to you that we are raising our youth, our children and grandchildren, in a culture of peace.” But as the Washington Free Beacon noted, during the last two weeks of April alone, the PA held events celebrating suicide bombers and other terrorists, including a rally with school children.
So welcome to the new boss, same as the old boss.
While the new HAMAS charter makes fluffy references to “free and fair elections” and tolerance “of other creeds and religions,” HAMAS is clear that achieving a Palestinian state necessitates the utter destruction of Israel.
Despite its endless posturing, the PLO shares this goal. No parsing of words can deny this fact. Unless and until HAMAS and the PLO explicitly and conclusively recognize Israel’s right to exist, negotiations to create a two-state solution are pointless. But as is plain from their guiding documents and overt behavior, they really aren’t interested in that anyway.