Judging from how Hamas is treated by the U.S. Administration, you would not know that it sits at the heart of the Islamo-Fascist movement, which President George W. Bush concretely defined and condemned three weeks ago. In his press conference last Thursday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, however, the President refrained from clearly objecting to Hamas participation in the Palestinian Authority election next January.
The Palestinian Authority promises, yet again, to disarm Fatah and the other terrorist groups under its umbrella. Meanwhile, it plans to retrain all terrorists and incorporate them into the PA Security Forces. Adding Hamas to this fray would guarantee that terrorism will remain part of the Palestinian agenda.
Compare Hamas statements and its charter to those of Al Qaeda, Hizballah and other Islamist organizations: all strive to establish a Caliphate encircling the globe. Al Qaeda says: “We will turn the White House and the British parliament into mosques,” as documented by Jonathan Dahoah Halevi, Director of Orient Research Group in Toronto. Similarly, Qatar-based sheik Yusuf al Qaradawi says “Islam will take over Europe by Dawa.” The spiritual leader of HAMAS, the late Ahmad Yassin said: “The 21st century is the century of Islam,” and his successor Mahmoud Zahar says, “Israel will disappear and after it the US.”
President Bush declared: “the way forward is confronting the threat armed gangs present to the creation of democratic Palestine.” But he stopped short of demanding that Hamas disarm. Still, that was enough to infuriate Hamas spokesman Sámi Abu Zuhri, who protested, “We consider this as a serious American interference in our internal affairs aimed to create an internal conflict.”
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat insists that allowing Hamas to participate in the election would be the terror group’s first step toward giving up its weapons. However, even Erekat knows, this is wishful thinking. Unlike the Irish Republican Army (IRA), which at last laid downs it arms after being part of the political process for decades, Hamas does not wish to lay down its arms. It wants to use the democratic process to gain power, which would ultimately eradicate democracy.
The major difference between the IRA and Hamas is that the IRA only wanted to kill the British and the Protestants in Ireland. Hamas, in its charter, calls for “the propagation of Islamic consciousness among the masses on all local, Arab and Islamic levels. We must spread the spirit of Jihad among the [Islamic] Umma, clash with the enemies and join the ranks of the Jihad fighters.”
In interviews given by Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar, he lays out the character of the Islamist Palestinian state according to the Hamas vision: “This will be a state which will be based on the principals of the Sharia and will be part of the Arab Islamist Umma,” he says. “In the Sharia-led Palestine, mixed dancing will be prohibited: “If a man holding the hand of a woman and dances with her in front of people, is this a way to serve the National interest?” In Hamas' Palestine, homosexuals and lesbians which Zahar defines as “a minority of moral and mental deviants” will have no rights.
Despite these draconian positions, Zahar rejects the claim that Hamas would try to repeat in Palestine what the Taliban did to Afghanistan. Hamas is not a duplicate of the Taliban, he said, but is much more sophisticated.
According to Hamas, materialism and fraternization between the sexes, the large number of homeless, and corrupted values of the West are the reasons for political corruption. “Westerners are interested in turning the family into a corrupt swamp, and they are distributing obscenity and terminal diseases in the name of total freedom.” In the Islamist Palestinian state, says Zahar, each Palestinian citizen will be required to behave according to the Sharia.
The Islamist Palestinian state will also refrain from negotiations and cooperation with Israel, according to Zahar: “It is in our national interest to stop the cooperation with Israel in any field.”
Hamas, Zahar says, will also use all the weapons in the Palestinian territory to create an Islamist Palestinian state in all of Palestine’s territory - including Israel.
Hamas views the future Islamist Palestinian state as an extension of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, where all aspects of life would be controlled by radical Islamist laws. This state will also maintain close connections with other Arab Islamist states and movements, and will use terrorism to obliterate the Israeli state. In response to a question concerning the nature of Palestine under Hamas rule, from a Newsweek reporter on August 30, 2005, Zahar responded, “It should be Hamastan.”
Yet, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan argues that Israel should allow Hamas to participate in the election and that the Palestinian Authority should relax its pressure on the terrorist group to disarm. This follows Annan’s well established pattern of legitimizing Hamas, which although listed on U.S. and E.U terror lists, is still missing from that of the U.N.
For example, when Israel killed Sheikh Yassin, Annan said: "I do condemn the targeted assassination of Sheikh Yassin and the others who died with him." This is not surprising given the fact that Hamas won more than 90 percent of the vote in the 2003 UNRWA workers union election, according to Hamas London magazine, Filastin Al-Muslima in July, 2003 (p. 5).
Supporters of Hamas would have us repeat the errors of the Oslo era. In 1993, Israel gave the opportunity to one of the most notorious terrorists in the world to lead the newly created Palestinian Authority. In 1996, two years after receiving the Nobel Prize for Peace, Arafat was democratically elected president. But legitimizing Arafat did little to change his terrorist agenda. His Intifadas cost the lives of thousands of innocent Israelis and Palestinians, while destroying the PA economy.
Hamas’ agenda like that of Arafat, is well advertised. Allowing it to participate in the coming PA election is a fool’s errand.
Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, author of Funding Evil; How Terrorism is Financed—and How to Stop It, is director of American Center for Democracy and member of the Committee on the Present Danger. Alyssa Lappen is a freelance journalist who frequently contributes to FrontPageMagazine and other online journals.
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