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Terror’s Quest for Acceptance By: P. David Hornik
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hamas keeps pushing for international recognition at the same time that it fires rockets at Israeli communities and keeps holding a kidnapped Israeli soldier for two and a half years with no Red Cross or other visits. Since an initial barrage a week ago—after an Israeli military operation in Gaza to destroy a tunnel meant to be used for further kidnappings—Hamas has fired over seventy rockets at Israeli towns and villages, closing schools and sending several people to hospital for shock.


Israel, which underwent a “change” in the 1990s toward pretending enemies are friends or at least ceasefire partners, has responded militarily with only small tactical strikes while Defense Minister Ehud Barak has stated that Israel is “committed” to the current one-sided “ceasefire” with Hamas.


On Saturday Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal expressed a hope for further “change” and even used the term explicitly. He not only said in an interview to Australia’s Sky News that “We are ready for dialogue with President Obama and with the new American administration with an open mind…. The American administration [has] no other option than to deal with Hamas because we are a real force on the ground....”


Mashaal also said, expressing an optimism felt in much of the Arab and Muslim world, that “there is no doubt that the recent American election is a big change when you get an American president with African roots.... It’s a big change—political and psychological—and it is noteworthy.”


In reply, Obama’s senior foreign policy coordinator Denis McDonough stated Saturday night that Obama “said throughout the campaign that he will only talk with Hamas if it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel's right to exist and agrees to abide by past agreements.” Although this formulation is flawed in that, unlike with other Islamist terror organizations like Al Qaeda or Hezbollah, it sets benchmarks and assumes a capacity for reform, it’s the same as the Bush administration’s formulation and at least not a deterioration.


More worrisome was a statement by Ahmed Yousuf, an adviser to Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh, that Hamas figures and Obama advisers had been meeting behind the scenes.


In any case, setting benchmarks for Hamas contributes to a climate where it’s seen as at least a potentially constructive force, and not surprisingly that climate is already spreading in Europe.


The European Jewish Press reports that eight European Parliament members have invited Palestinian MPs, including Hamas members, to visit the EU assembly in Brussels next spring even though the EU defines Hamas as a terrorist organization and is officially boycotting it. Cypriot MEP Kyriacos Triantaphyllides of the United Left Group explained that “We don’t care who they are as long as they are members of the [Palestinian] Legislative Council. We don’t ask if they are members of Hamas or members of Fatah.”


The irony won’t be lost on those cognizant of Fatah’s—let alone Hamas—ongoing involvement in terror and incitement to terror since obtaining the official stamp of legitimacy from U.S., Israeli, and European governments.


Hezbollah, too, is making progress; last week its spokesman Ibrahim Mousawi visited Britain for the second time since last December. This time he lectured to a conference on political Islam at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). His topic was “The Cases of Hamas and Hezbollah,” discussing the “history, strategy, and ideology” of the two organizations. Mousawi was previously editor of Hezbollah’s TV channel Al-Manar, which in 2005 aired a program showing Jews killing a Christian boy to drain his blood for Passover matza.


In response to domestic criticism the British Home Office—which a few weeks ago announced new measures to keep extremists out of the country—stated that “The UK will not tolerate the presence of those who seek to justify any acts of terrorist violence or express views that could foster inter-community violence.” The Home Office didn’t explain who, if not Ibrahim Mousawi, would satisfy that description.


For the U.S. president-elect, the challenge is to realize that America has stronger antibodies than Europe to this kind of corruption and should try to keep it that way instead of pursuing Europe’s approval; and that some kinds of “change” promote the agenda of those seeking war, staticide, and genocide.

P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Beersheva. He blogs at http://pdavidhornik.typepad.com/. He can be reached at pdavidh2001@yahoo.com.

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