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May 11, 2011

Explicit Hamas, Vague Hamas

Not quite a year ago, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar explicitly told Future TV that his organization is pursuing a "phased plan" to destroy all of Israel and replace it with a Palestinian state.

MEMRI translated:

We have liberated Gaza, but have we recognized Israel? Have we given up our lands occupied in 1948? We demand the liberation of the West Bank, and the establishment of a state in the West Bank and Gaza, with Jerusalem as its capital – but without recognizing [Israel]. This is the key – without recognizing the Israeli enemy on a single inch of land. This is our plan for this stage – to liberate the West Bank and Gaza, without recognizing Israel’s right to a single inch of land, and without giving up the Right of Return for a single Palestinian refugee. ...

Our plan for this stage is to liberate any inch of Palestinian land, and to establish a state on it. Our ultimate plan is [to have] Palestine in its entirety. I say this loud and clear so that nobody will accuse me of employing political tactics. We will not recognize the Israeli enemy.

As for the issue of a referendum – [the Palestinian Authority] is ready to impose its position on people by force. Whoever wants to hold a referendum, and believes that he can get all of Palestine for the Palestinians, can hold a referendum, but will not give up the platform of resistance, and the plan to liberate Palestine in its entirety. This is unequivocal. ...

If we could liberate the Negev now, we would continue [our military activity], but our capabilities dictate that after we got rid of the Israeli presence in Gaza, we must finish off the remnants of that occupation, and move on to the West Bank.

Lately, Hamas leaders have been emphasizing one aspect of this plan: that they will accept a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

As long as these more recent, and vaguer, pronouncements by Hamas leaders are compatible with the policy enunciated by Zahar during the June 15, 2010 television program — and until they explicitly announce in Arabic to their public that they recognize Israel's right to exist and are willing to live in peace alongside the Jewish state — any sensational media claims that the group is seeking a two-state solution or implications that it is "steering away" from its desire to replace Israel with an Islamic Palestinian state, can only be seen as wishful thinking, if not intentional obfuscation.

Posted by at May 11, 2011 12:11 PM


If Hamas does not change its fundamental position, i.e. will not accept the existence of Israel as a Jewish state, allow it to convict itself. Don't reject Hamas out of hand before it has done that — stay silent and who knows, a miraculous conversion could happen. If not, it's their clear responsibility.
You guys are such relentless anticipatory nitpickers (maybe eternally vigilant) to the point where you sometimes obscure the central point.

Posted by: Robert Garvin at May 12, 2011 04:42 PM

I think the two counter arguments need to be discussed, namely:

1. Recognizing Israel with what borders, The International community, including the UN now recognize Israel with the pre 1967 borders. A state not having defined borders creates disputes with its neighbors obviously. Is it possible to recognize a state without the borders issue settled?

2. The specific definition of Jewish in Jewish State. Since its formation, politicians have avoided this seemingly necessary legal definition. Besides no formal constitution, Israel not being able to point to a legal definition of Jewish makes it hard for outsiders to recognize a general undefined term.

If Israel clearly propounds its borders and specifically explains its definition of Jewish along with a written Constitution that trumps lawmakers from undermining Israel's definition, it would go a long way at getting true recognition.

Posted by: Jake at May 13, 2011 12:31 PM

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