By Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute—
One of the arguments that is being raised against the British government’s recent decision to designate Hamas an extremist terrorist organization is that the Gaza-based movement, which does not recognize Israel’s right to exist, has changed and now supports the establishment of a Palestinian state next to Israel.
Opponents of the UK’s decision claim that in 2017 Hamas “softened its stance on Israel by accepting the idea of a Palestinian state in territories occupied by Israel in the six-day war of 1967.”
The purported change, they argue, was included in a new document announced by Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal at a press conference in Doha, Qatar. Mashaal was quoted as saying:
“Hamas advocates the liberation of all of Palestine, but is ready to support the state on 1967 borders without recognizing Israel or ceding any rights.”
A year later, however, Mashaal said in an interview with the Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera television network that the document was “not a tactical or strategic change,” adding that Hamas has not changed or abandoned its 1988 charter. “We want to continue the resistance ,” the Hamas leader said.
There are three points that need to be taken into consideration when talking about the 2017 Hamas document.
First, the document reportedly depicting Hamas as a moderate group that accepts the “two-state solution” is a bluff intended to dupe the international community. As Mashaal himself explained, even if Hamas accepts a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, that does not mean that it would ever recognize Israel’s right to exist. Hamas, in short, is saying: We will take whatever you give us now — starting with a Palestinian state — and we will use this to slaughter you.
Second, Hamas has not renounced violence and terrorism. In fact, it intends to continue the “resistance” and jihad (holy war) against Israel after the establishment of the Palestinian state with the purpose of “liberating all of Palestine.” When Hamas leaders talk about “resistance,” they are referring to the murder of Jews through various methods, including suicide bombings, stabbings, drive-by shootings and rockets fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli cities and towns.
Third, the new document did not cancel or change the content of the Hamas charter, which, according to Hamas leaders, remains valid and relevant to this day. Continue Reading…