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Boogie with the Bogeyman? Legitimizing Hamas

06/08/2005

Children's stories are filled with bogeymen, but those bogeymen are not real. History is filled with bogeymen; all too many of them are very real: Hitler and Nazism, Stalin and the KGB, Pohl Pot in Cambodia, Pinochet in Chile, Mao Tse Tung, the Argentine regime and many others. Those regimes really did have men who came and took away children and parents by the thousands and millions, but good behavior was no guarantee of immunity. It is hard to understand in retrospect, how these vicious characters and movements could be accorded diplomatic honors and considered "respectable" by the statesmen of the world, but it happend nonetheless, and it is happening again right now. For those who want to understand, follow the current career of the Hamas, an up-and-coming real live bogeyman. You are watching history in the making.

The Hamas is a terror group, but it is a terror group of a very special kind. The problem is not simply violence nor even non-recognition of Israel. Their stated goal is to prevent peace and to spread race hatred. Their entire program is based on unabashed racism. To appreciate what this group is about, one must read their charter:
----QUOTE ----


Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it."

"The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. "

"There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors."

For a long time, the enemies have been planning, skillfully and with precision, for the achievement of what they have attained... With their money they stirred revolutions in various parts of the world with the purpose of achieving their interests and reaping the fruit therein. They were behind the French Revolution, the Communist revolution and most of the revolutions we heard and hear about, here and there. With their money they formed secret societies, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, the Lions and others in different parts of the world for the purpose of sabotaging societies and achieving Zionist interests....

... They were behind World War I, when they were able to destroy the Islamic Caliphate, making financial gains and controlling resources. They obtained the Balfour Declaration, formed the League of Nations through which they could rule the world. They were behind World War II, through which they made huge financial gains by trading in armaments, and paved the way for the establishment of their state. It was they who instigated the replacement of the League of Nations with the United Nations and the Security Council to enable them to rule the world through them. There is no war going on anywhere, without having their finger in it.

World Zionism, together with imperialistic powers, try through a studied plan and an intelligent strategy to remove one Arab state after another from the circle of struggle against Zionism, in order to have it finally face the Palestinian people only....

... The Zionist plan is limitless. After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.

Leaving the circle of struggle with Zionism is high treason, and cursed be he who does that....
---- END QUOTE ----
(emphasis added)
(see http://www.mideastweb.org/hamas.htm )

From the above it is clear that the Hamas are opposed to peace. They are opposed to democracy, since the French Revolution is one of the "sins" of the "Zionists" according to them. They are spreading a fantastic, warped and dangerous version of history, embodied in their charter, in their schools and indoctrination programs. Negotiations, according to them, are a waste of time.

Therefore, it is astonishing to read that there are "respectable" people proposing to have dialog with the Hamas. What dialog can there be with an organization that insists that negotiations are a waste of time? What decent people would traffic with a group that cites the forged Protocols of of the Elders of Zion? Nonetheless, against all logic, Hamas is now in vogue. Even more ironically, the Hamas vogue is based on faith in "democracy."

According to a Reuters report:
----QUOTE ----


[US] Officials said they may be open to contacts with some Hamas political affiliates and left open the possibility of dealing with the group if it gave up weapons and ended violence, in contrast to past calls for its total dismantlement.

U.S. officials and diplomats cast any shift as pragmatic: Hamas-funded social services are popular with many Palestinians; it is winning local races and was expected to make a strong showing in newly postponed parliamentary elections, and some Hamas-backed politicians and affiliates are seen as moderates.

The shift also follows a behind-the-scenes push by European allies, including Britain and France, for Washington to drop its call to dismantle Hamas completely. European officials warned Washington that
doing so would be a "disaster" for Palestinians who benefit from Hamas aid, sources said.


----END QUOTE ----

(see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MewNews/message/27571 )

The reason the US must respond to the European "push" is clear. If the US doesn't take the lead, the implication is that the Europeans will do it. When Hamas (inevitably, as is asserted) comes to power, the US will no longer be able to influence events. It is not clear why the US decides who should be allowed to run in Palestinian elections. If the Palestinians want to elect or appoint leadership it is their business. But if they are electing people to the Palestinian National Authority, they could only be choosing people who accede to the Oslo accords from which the PNA draws its legitimacy. The Hamas has not accepted the Oslo accords. They cannot.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw insisted:
---- QUOTE----


"Our policy is clear," Straw said at the start of the meeting. "We will have no dealings with the leadership of Hamas or other such organisations unless and until they wholly renounce violence and they renounce their charter calling for the destruction of the state of Israel."

----END QUOTE----
"Our policy is clear," said Straw. Everyone who remembers Mr. Nixon's "Let me make one thing perfectly clear," knows that in politician language that means, "our policy is totally confused, and what I am about to say is a lie."

It is a lie, because in fact British diplomats have been meeting with Hamas politicians:

---- QUOTE ----


Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, admitted that diplomats had met newly-elected leaders from the
organisation at least twice since its political wing seized a number of key seats in the West Bank and Gaza last month.

---- END QUOTE----

(See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MewNews/message/27597 )

So they would not meet with leaders, but they did anyhow. That much is "clear."

The most monstrous ideas can be rationalized in the face of "political reality." The Hamas may win elections, the Hamas is the "wave of the future," so we need to "go with the flow. What a disaster it would be indeed if the Palestinians lost the Hamas social services! Much better to perish in a holy war with Israel then to give up the essential services of the Hamas, such as their wonderful "education" system.

The simple solution, that occurs to nobody, is for European countries and the US and Israel to provide these "social services" that Hamas provides. It really is not absolutely essential for little children to "learn" that the Zionists and the Freemasons started World War II, and it would not be a disaster if children were not being taught that the Zionists are responsible for the French Revolution. What would be the point of a truce or nonviolence, if the time is used to educate a generation on hate?

Replacing the "social" role of the Hamas would seem to be an essential step in supporting Palestinian democracy and making peace possible. Instead however, everyone is more than content to throw up their hands and say, "we have to deal with the Hamas." They are quite happy to legitimize the Hamas and to discuss with Mayors elected by Hamas how they can use European aid to teach children about the Zionist conspiracy in their schools.

We should remember that the Palestine National Authority is an interim body, not a Palestinian state government. The PNA was created as a result of the Oslo Interim Agreement. Its purpose is ostensibly to represent the Palestinian people in negotiations with Israel. What possible role could the Hamas play in these negotiations?

The campaign for Hamas is accompanied by shameless disinformation and purposeful misdirection. The centerpiece is the constant repetition of the idea that a Hamas victory in the legislative elections is inevitable, so everyone must resign themselves to the democratic choice. There doesn't in fact, seem to be very much chance that Hamas could win elections in the PA, though they might become a force to reckon with. A recent poll shows:
---- QUOTE ----


A total of 47.0% of the polled sample said that they would vote for the Fatah bloc in the legislative
elections while 27.8% said they would vote for HAMAS.

---- END QUOTE ----
(see: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MewNews/message/27383)

Of course, if the Hamas become an international contender with recognition from the Europeans and Americans, they will have chalked up a considerable political achievement. So the insistence that "we have to deal with Hamas because they are becoming a political power" is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Again, nobody discusses the possibility of constructive action to stop the Hamas, such as funding alternative opposition to the corrupt Fatah. Like Medieval villagers faced with a plague, the world has thrown up its hands and collectively says "God wills it."

A second, most persistent bit of misinformation is that Hamas is interested in peace with Israel. Those who have read the Hamas charter should be skeptical of this persistent rumor, but many are swallowing the bait. Khalid Amayreh reports in Al Jazeerah :
---- QUOTE ----


Hamas says it is being approached by European representatives seeking dialogue on the resistance movement's role in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.
...
Hamas leaders have consistently said they will be willing to forge a long-term peace with Israel if the latter agrees to withdrawal from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

---- END QUOTE ----
(see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MewNews/message/27599 )
In fact however, Hamas has never said they would make peace with Israel at all. It is simply untrue. They said they would agree to a "Hudna," a truce of convenience. Given their charter, how could they possibly make peace? Indeed, as Amayreh notes:
---- QUOTE----


Hamas said it could not formally recognise Israel for religious reasons.

---- END QUOTE----
Of course Hamas could not recognize Israel, because their charter states that Palestine is a holy Waqf of the Muslims. Peace is against their religion. How could they make a "long term peace"? What is a long term "peace" - like a longer version of the Molotov - Ribbentrop pact? So what exactly is there to talk about with this group, which states in principle that negotiations are a waste of time, and that anyone who leaves the circle of Jew-haters is a traitor?

Another dubious idea, voiced both by the United States and Britain, is that if the Hamas were to give up its weapons, it should be accepted as a partner for "dialog." The reasoning is that there are "good" Hamas people and bad Hamas people, and that Hamas has a political wing and a military wing. Quoting from the Reuters report again:
---- QUOTE ----


There is "a big difference" between people who "may be members of organizations but are not terrorists, versus terrorists, people who have blood on their hands," McClellan said in March.

---- END QUOTE ----
It is like saying you will not negotiate with the Wehrmacht or the SS, because they are violent, but it is OK to negotiate with Goebbels or von Ribbentrop, because they are just politicians, and don't have "blood on their hands."

It seems that every outrageous group goes through a phase when people insist that if only they are allowed to enter society, they will moderate their views. The Daily Star writes:
---- QUOTE ----


...The greater the stake that groups such as Hamas and Hizbullah have in the political process, the less likely they are to disrupt it. The British dialogue will hopefully give the international community a better sense of the political situation on the ground and better understanding of these groups' aims. And in the face of the challenges of the 21st century, this kind of diplomatic, nuanced and reasonable approach is desperately needed

---- END QUOTE ----
This is the nuanced and diplomatic approach that was tried by Mr. Chamberlain on Mr. Hitler. Other names for it are "moral bankruptcy" and "appeasement," but it is much more polite to say it is "nuanced" and "reasonable." You may well wonder, what is nuanced about the Hamas program and what is there left to understand?

The Daily Star was not alone in presenting the civilizing benefits of the "political process:"
---- QUOTE----


There is now a realization that they (Hamas) do have a role to play ...that if you can bring them into the political fold, then you'll be marginalizing the military elements of those groups," said a European diplomat.

---- END QUOTE ----
So, if you empower a violent and racist group, according to that logic, it will get weaker militarily. In that case, why not make Osama Bin Laden president of France? Saddam Hussein should likewise be returned to power in Iraq. Once he is power, surely he will moderate his views, and marginalize the "military wing?"

Another source of folly however, are the Americans themselves. America has talked itself into the idea that "democracy" is a cure for everything, and they have increasingly confused ideas about what might constitute "democracy." "Democracy" for some Americans, apparently consists only of allowing people to vote. If the people chose Fascism or racism, then it is somehow sanctified :
---- QUOTE ----


A senior administration official said: "We're not acquiescing. We do not deal with ... terrorists." But he added: "How do you pursue this without limiting democratic choices?"

---- END QUOTE ----

( Quotes from Reuters report: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MewNews/message/27571 )

How could a group that enshrines racism in its charter be a "democratic choice?" How could support for "democracy" be perverted into support for racism and holy war? Why should there be a dilemma at all?

Leaving aside the paper-thin rationalizations, it is clear why the Europeans are so anxious to support Hamas. The peace process, such as it is, between Israel and the Fatah, is very much a province of the USA, and the Europeans have been shut out. If the Hamas becomes a leading player, Europe will insert itself as the "bogeyman tamer" of the Hamas, and will, so they think apparently, become indispensable. Only the US has real leverage with Israel and the Fatah. There, the Europeans have nothing to offer. However, they may have the illusion that they can "deliver" the Hamas, as they are "delivering" their patrons, the Iranians, which would make them the unique arbiters of peace in place of the Americans. Of course, that would be the end of Palestinian democracy and of Palestinian PM Mahmoud Abbas, whom the Europeans seem to view as an American and perhaps Israeli "protege," and it would probably be the end of the possibility of peace in the Middle East for many generations. It would not be the first time that short-sighted and selfish diplomacy produced long term disaster.

The consensus of opinion is that after the disengagement there will be a third Intifada. That is now the optimistic view. The pessimistic view is that there will be no disengagement. The Hamas and Islamic Jihad are working very hard on this effort, pounding Gaza settlements with senseless mortar attacks that kill Palestinian workers, and the Palestinian Authority is powerless to stop them. SInce the Hamas is rewarded for their efforts by pious calls for dialog and promises of legitimacy, they will continue and expand their program. Support for disengagement in Israel has now plummeted to 50% according to a recent poll. Sharon my blame right-wing demonstrators, but the obvious truth is that Israelis do not want to retreat and create a "Hamastan" in Gaza, which is apparently exactly what will happen. If there is no disengagement, isn't it likely that Abbas and perhaps the Fatah will be consigned to the scrap book of history?

Perhaps after all, it is a waste of time to look for any logic or reasonable motives in the reasons why countries support the Hamas. Perhaps, like other groups of its type before it, or like the Crusades, Bolsehvism, Fascism, Hula Hoops or cars with tail fins, for that matter, the rise of Hamas is just one of those great mysteries of history, an "idea whose time has come."

Ami Isseroff


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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000356.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

by Moderator @ 10:13 PM CST [Link]

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Replies: 4 comments

Can I suggest that the answer to this is to explain that without Israeli cooperation after the withdrawal from the OT's, that Palestine will slowly descend into abject and irreversible poverty? Don't attack Hamas, instead simply state the consequences of supporting Hamas. If the Palestinians choose to go down that route, that frankly is their business. Israel has an obligation to get out of the OT's and enable the Palestinians to have the opportunity to create a state. It has no obligation to ensure that is democratic or peaceful, nor does Israel have the capacity to do that.
If Hamas does form the future government of Palestine, then the Palestinians have to live with consequences of that decision. The Palestinians are sentient beings capable of making rational choices.
Hamas needs to be challenged simply on every occassion with the question, "How will you deliver peace and prosperity for the Palestinians with the Israelis as your neighbours?" Their answers should enlightening. But to ask this question in appropriate forum, Hamas needs to be given some status.
Many years ago I watched a powerful TV drama in Germany in which a Germany free of foreigner workers was envisaged. It certainly took the wind out of the sails of those wanting to evict the Gastarbeiters. Perhaps Israel should do something similar "What If Hamas Forms the Government",and broadcast it to the Palestinians. Hamas needs to be responded to intelligently, force at this moment does the opposite.

Posted by Rod Davies @ 06/09/2005 11:23 PM CST

The threat of Hamas is real. But the threat that Sharon represents to the Palestinians is also real. The Palestinians view the Israeli actions as a threat to their existence and the Israelis respond with a similar concern. The basic confrontational approach on both sides grows hotter with the passage of time. There is no prospect of a peaceful settlement in the offing.

What is needed is a cooperative program that will demonstrate that Jews and Areabs can cooperate and learn to live together. Joint communal projects, e. g. water supply, can be initiated and carried out before the matter of borders is settled. So can programs for employing Palestinians in Israeli industries bring about a start of cooperation and freindship.

Bringing enemies into peaceful contact can reduce the emnity and set the ground for more extensive collaboration. Contiued beliggerence on both sides will bring only catastrophe

Posted by ELCHANAN @ 06/10/2005 12:47 AM CST

Hamas will remain out of the fold while it supports terror and its manifesto states clearly, that they will never recognize Israel's right to exist. While it is true that the US, in their naivety towards their perception of the Middle East, are convinced that democracy in the Middle East will solve almost everything. They have tried some form of pseudo-democracy in Iraq after the invasion and it seems that they have failed miserably. The odds are that they will be in Iraq for a very long time.

There are no democratic Arab regimes in the Middle East. There are not much signs of Arab countries adopting a democratic form of government. There are signs that the US will try to ram democracy down the throats of the Palestinians and this will defeat their object if they were to succeed. The winds of change, because of US pressure in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, could result in weakening Abu Mazen's position and laying the door open for the election of Hamas by an overwhelming majority in Palestine. The Palestinians are tired of Fatah and its tradition of corruption and cronyism. The so-called free elections that have been postponed for the moment could result in Hamas getting more support from the Palestinian electorate. Eventually elections will be held and time is not playing in Abu Mazen's favor. Hamas stand a good chance of winning the elections. What will happen then? Will the US cancel democracy and force these elections to be considered null and void despite the fact that Hamas was democratically elected? What should Israel do? Will there be a total break down of communication between Israel and the newly elected government of Palestine with a Hamas majority?

It is doubtful whether the US, European Union, UN and even Israel will harden their attitude and refuse to negotiate with Hamas. What could happen under these conditions is that Hamas may become more violent and utilize terror in order to gain legitimacy. This scenario will not be an easy one to solve. It is unlikely that there would be an international boycott against the Hamas ruled Palestinian Authority. On the other hand, the Palestinians are weak economically and their infrastructure has to be rebuilt. They are in dire need of financial help, and in order to gain international aid, Hamas may show signs of pragmatism and shelve their anti-Israel manifesto. It is quite possible that an international conference under some umbrella of the Quartet will reconvene to bestow legitimacy on Hamas.

Posted by Shimon Z. Klein @ 06/13/2005 11:25 PM CST

In essence Palestinian leadership seeks to return to a pre-Tanzimat position. The PNA represents the Ayanes class, seeking to reaasert the feudal role of the ruling class. While Hamas seeks to reassert the status of the Ulema.
Neither has much relevance in the 21st century, but if the Palestinian people cannot produce a leadership capable of defining another path then there is not much Israel can do, nor any other country or alliance. It's European parallel would be a return to the 17th century.
Regardless of which group the Palestinians choose, the rest of the world must make a choice whether, on the basis of it's policies, to engage or not.
Both Palsetinian leadership groups are able to maintain their position so long as Israel remains in occupation / control of the bulk of what would constitute a Palestinian state. Were Israel to withdraw from these areas, then Palestinian leadership would be faced with a dilemma. It can either recognise the realities of the 21st century and seek to develop policies that are a rational response to its circumstances. Or it can seek to maintain that a return to the pre-Tanzimat period is achievable. In the latter scenario, it must logically lead to a re-run of the 1967 war, with even more catastrophic consequences for the Palestinian people.
IMO Israel must engage with the Palestinian people and articulate these options, and seek to gain a rational response from them.

Posted by Rod Davies @ 06/14/2005 12:32 PM CST


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