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Hamas Duplicity By: Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook
Palestinian Media Watch | Friday, March 24, 2006


In its attempt to gain international legitimacy, Hamas is presenting a conciliatory face to the Western media, while rejecting peace to its own people in Arabic, and even denying that the conciliatory statements were made.

In the latest example, Hamas Prime Minister-designate Ismail Haniyah told CBS on March 16 that he hoped to some day sign a peace agreement with Israel. A Hamas member of Parliament immediately told the Palestinian Authority media that the CBS report was "unfounded," and part of a "crazy campaign which aims at embarrassing and confusing the Palestinians and undermining the trust of the masses in Hamas." [Al Hayat Al Jadida, March 19, 2006]

Haniyah was interviewed on CBS news and said, among other things, that he was "seeking a peace settlement and stability in this region," "looking forward to peace and tranquility in this region," and "seeking American administration to create this missing peace." [www.cbsnews.com]

Hamas Denies statements were made:

A Hamas MP, speaking in Arabic to a PA newspaper, immediately denied these statements as lies, and part of a conspiracy of the US media to damage the true image of the Hamas:

"[Hamas] MP Mushir Al-Masri denied what was reported in various places in the media about Hamas abandoning its principles, relying on statements attributed to the Prime Minister designate, Ismail Haniyah, according to which he hopes that a peace treaty will be signed with the Israelis. He said that these statements, released on CBS, are unfounded [lit: naked of all truth]. Al-Masri said that these matters are part of a crazy campaign which aims at embarrassing and confusing the Palestinian arena and undermining the trust of the masses in Hamas movement… He added: "the Palestinian media grasps that this campaign should not be related to… and it understands that America endeavors to undermine the [Hamas] movement in the eyes of the Palestinian people…" As to the PM's statements, which have been distorted, Al-Masri said: "the American channel [CBS] broadcast that Sheikh Ismail Haniyah had said in an interview that he hoped that a treaty with Israel would be signed in the White House. I believe that the basis for the controversy over the [Hamas] political plan are the [peace] agreements, which in our opinion bring no benefit…"
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah, March 19, 2006]

It should be noted that the reason for this strong rejection of the willingness for peace with Israel is that it violates the most basic tenet of Hamas' belief, that Islam demands the destruction of Israel. Article 13 of the Hamas charter states: ". . . Renouncing any part of Palestine [i.e. accepting Israel] means renouncing part of the religion." Hamas would have to scrap and recreate the basis of its religious ideology to accept Israel.

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Itamar Marcus is the founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch. He was appointed by the Israeli government to be the Israeli representative (communication specialist) to the Trilateral (Israeli-American-Palestinian) Anti-Incitement Committee established under the Wye Accords. From 1998 to 2000, Mr. Marcus served as research director of the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace, writing reports on PA, Syrian, and Jordanian schoolbooks. He holds a BA in political science from City College of New York and an MA in Hebrew culture from New York University. Barbara Crook is associate director and North American representative of Palestinian Media Watch. She teaches at the School of Journalism and Communications at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. She holds an Honors BA in English literature from Queen's University, an MA in journalism from the University of Western Ontario, and is a Southam Fellow at the University of Toronto.


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