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Hamas - Bullets and Ballot Boxes By: HonestReporting.com
HonestReporting.com | Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Palestinians head to the polls on 25 January in an election that many observers predict will see a significant show of strength for Hamas.

Hamas has been responsible for the murders of hundreds of Israeli civilians since the early 1990s and is officially classified as a terrorist organization by the US and EU. Indeed, the US has threatened to cut off funding for the Palestinian Authority should it become dominated by Hamas.

If Hamas candidate Mariam Farhat's comments to The Times of London are any indication, it appears as if the bullet and the ballot box are mutually compatible concepts for the terror organization:

The mother regards her candidacy for the Palestinian Legislative Council as a logical extension of the armed struggle she encouraged her sons to die for. She denies that Hamas's decision to join mainstream Palestinian political life contradicts its military goals.

"The jihadist project completes the political one and the political project cannot be completed without jihad," she says. "The resistance needs the political project to support it through the legislative council."

Despite this, some media outlets have softened their approach towards Hamas, emphasizing the organization's apparent new "pragmatism" towards Israel. The Guardian contends that:

Hamas has dropped its call for the destruction of Israel from its manifesto for the Palestinian parliamentary election in a fortnight, a move that brings the group closer to the mainstream Palestinian position of building a state within the boundaries of the occupied territories.

In similar vein, the Sunday Telegraph also speculates that:

though Hamas retains much of its spine-chilling rhetoric towards Israel and remains committed to regaining lost Palestinian land by force, a new pragmatism is entering its outlook.

While Hamas may very well be politically expedient with its aims in order to garner more votes, the simple fact remains that the organization retains its weapons and its desire to destroy Israel, as clearly stated in its Charter, replete with vicious anti-Semitism, which remains in force to this day. Some examples of this text, which rejects any moves towards peace and incites against Jews,  include:

 ... Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it...

Peace initiatives, so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement.

Their [the Zionists'] scheme has been laid out in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion...

This is only a small sample of a text that includes claims that the Jews control vast wealth and the media, engineer revolutions and run "spying organizations" as well as promoting moral corruption and drugs.

Despite the active participation of a terror organization dedicated to its destruction, Israel has allowed the Palestinian elections to go ahead, stating:

the participation in the elections of terrorist organizations, including Hamas, which calls for the destruction of Israel, fundamentally impairs the legitimacy of the elections and contravenes the interim agreement, as it also does accepted international criteria regarding the participation in elections of parties that support violence and terrorism.

HonestReporting hopes that in the lead up to the Palestinian elections, the media does not bestow upon Hamas a level of political and democratic legitimacy undeserving of such a terror group. Readers are encouraged to respond to any such examples that may appear.


Meanwhile, as chaos reigns in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian gunmen jockey for position and an election threatens to bring Hamas to power, the New York Times finds the obvious target to blame - Israel:

Any elected government stands or falls on its ability to deliver security and jobs, and the authority was left unable to provide either. When Mr. Abbas came to power and said the things Mr. Arafat could never bring himself to say about Palestinian violence's being counterproductive, Israel gave him only marginal support. Israel is right to press Mr. Abbas to follow up his words with deeds, and to do more to crack down on terror, starting with his own Fatah movement. But Israelis also need to recognize that he is not politically or militarily strong enough at this time to achieve victory.

When even the EU is withholding funding to the PA, citing a lack of budgetary discipline, isn't it about time that the New York Times recognizes that Israel is not responsible for every failing within the PA or its leadership?

Comments to the New York Times: letters@nytimes.com

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