Hamas’ “moderate rebranding” fools some media, while on the ground it becomes more militant

May 05, 2017

Hamas prepares to execute political opponents on the streets of Gaza last month

 

CONTENTS

1. Not so moderate
2. Hamas new policy document: Destruction of Israel “from the river to the sea”
3. Hamas’ document has nothing new, says Fatah (WAFA news agency, Ramallah)
4. Letter to The New York Times by the ADL director concerning Hamas
5. “The international community should judge Hamas by its actions on the ground”
6. Hamas depicts Abbas as sellout in meeting with Trump
7. Hamas, as part of its struggle with Fatah, threatens to spark war with Israel (Asharq Al Awsat, Saudi Arabia)
8. Full text of Hamas’ new document: “In the Name of Allah Most Gracious Most Merciful” (Al Resalah, Gaza city)

 

NOT SO MODERATE

[Note by Tom Gross]

This a follow-up to my dispatch from March 12, 2017: Saudi media claim: “Hamas moves closer to approving 1967 borders”

A few weeks later, some mainstream international media also began to report this possibility.

Then, this week Hamas released its new document. At the end of this dispatch, I attach the document in its entirety as published on the official English-language version of Hamas’ website.

Some gullible western journalists have reported Hamas as having moderated its stance, when it has not.

Hamas’s founding charter, which calls on Muslims to kill all Jews, is by Hamas’ own admission still active and was not replaced by Hamas’ new document, (which some sources even say was drafted with the help of western PR experts specifically with the aim of fooling the media).

Chief among them was the BBC. The BBC’s most influential program, “Today” said: “Hamas has adopted a more moderate position ... its hostility to Israel is not the result of anti-Semitism.”

Britain’s Sky News wrongly said Hamas “has dropped calls for the country’s destruction”.

The Wall Street Journal heading misleadingly says:

Hamas Drops Call for Israel’s Destruction

https://www.wsj.com/articles/hamas-to-revise-anti-israel-stance-in-its-charter-official-says-1493649310

Britain’s Financial Times uses an identical heading:

Hamas drops call for destruction of Israel

https://www.ft.com/content/26e36354-2ea4-11e7-9555-23ef563ecf9a

(The pieces themselves in The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times were more balanced, but many people only read headlines.)

Amira Hass, the most far left Israel-critical correspondent for the Israeli daily Haaretz (she chooses to live in Ramallah, and before that in Gaza) writes in Haaretz: “In terms of its rejection of a Jewish existence in this land, the [new] document is no less hard-line than Hamas’ 1988 charter.”

(Tom Gross adds: None of this means that Hamas might not eventually moderate its stance if the West maintains demands on it that it does, but so far it has not.)

 

HAMAS NEW POLICY DOCUMENT: DESTRUCTION OF ISRAEL “FROM THE RIVER TO THE SEA”

I would like to draw attention to a key paragraph from Hamas’ new document (as published on its own website). Some media have taken the second part of this paragraph out of context. (The full document is at the end of this dispatch.)


20. Hamas believes that no part of the land of Palestine shall be compromised or conceded, irrespective of the causes, the circumstances and the pressures and no matter how long the occupation lasts. Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea. However, without compromising its rejection of the Zionist entity and without relinquishing any Palestinian rights, Hamas considers the establishment of a fully sovereign and independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital along the lines of the 4th of June 1967, with the return of the refugees and the displaced to their homes from which they were expelled, to be a formula of national consensus.”

 

HAMAS’ POLITICAL DOCUMENT HAS NOTHING NEW, SAYS FATAH

Here is the reaction by Hamas’s political rivals Fatah, which controls the Palestinian Authority and much of the West Bank. (WAFA is a Fatah-controlled news agency, which often runs unreliable news, although the text below is a straight news report.)


Hamas’ political document has nothing new, says Fatah
WAFA
May 2, 2017

http://english.wafa.ps/page.aspx?id=ULMm2Da81221649267aULMm2D

RAMALLAH, May 2, 2017 (WAFA) – The political document Hamas announced on Monday from the Qatari capital, Doha, has nothing new, Fatah said in a statement on Tuesday.

It said that Hamas announcement that it accepts a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders is contrary to its behavior on the ground that is leading to separate the Gaza Strip or its acceptance of a state with provisional borders.

“Being a realist politically is a good thing if it is within the frame of unity and national consensus and if the policies are in harmony with international resolutions and not ambiguous and inconsistent,” it said.

“By taking this position, is Hamas really seeking national unity or is it just presenting its credentials,” wondered Fatah, adding that “nothing signals that Hamas is actually moving toward national unity.”

 

LETTER TO THE NEW YORK TIMES BY THE ADL DIRECTOR CONCERNING HAMAS

(Jonathan Greenblatt worked for President Obama in the White House before succeeding Abe Foxman as head of the Anti-Defamation League. He is a lifelong Democrat. – Tom Gross)


Hamas and Israel
May 3, 2017
Letter to The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Hamas Tempers Extreme Stances in Bid for Power” (front page, May 2):

The story of a new Hamas statement of principles, with all the fuss and anticipation, is much ado about nothing. On the core of Hamas’s attitudes and policies toward Israel, nothing has changed.

For Hamas, there is only one legitimate authority in the Holy Land. Israel, according to this document, has no rights, no history, no connection and no future.

Hamas’s mention of a sovereign state based on the pre-1967 lines would be meaningful if it were accompanied by recognition of Israel and its legitimacy. Instead, Hamas notes that it “rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea.”

And Hamas still justifies violence, meaning terrorism against the people of Israel.
Hamas remains a purveyor of terrorism, rejectionism and anti-Semitism, before and after this document.

JONATHAN A. GREENBLATT
NEW YORK

The writer is chief executive and national director of the Anti-Defamation League.

 

“THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY SHOULD JUDGE HAMAS BY ITS ACTIONS ON THE GROUND”

Hamas’s moderate rhetoric belies militant activities
By Matthew Levitt and Maxine Rich
PolicyWatch, Washington Institute
May 1, 2017

A softer tone in the Gaza group’s upcoming statement will mean nothing without parallel changes in its behavior.

On May 1, Hamas will release the first update to its founding 1988 charter at a press conference in Qatar. While the original charter explicitly ties Hamas to the Muslim Brotherhood, identifies the only solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as militant jihad, and calls for the creation of an Islamist state, the upcoming statement – which does not supersede the previous charter, despite the new language – is expected to adopt a softer, seemingly more moderate tone. But rhetoric aside, Hamas’s recent actions offer a clear indication of the group’s continued hardline militancy.

BACKGROUND: THE HAMAS CHARTER

From its inception, Hamas has been explicitly dedicated to Israel’s destruction and the establishment of an Islamist Palestinian state in all of historic Palestine. Its core ideology is manifest in its 1988 charter – first published in Chicago by one of its front organizations, the Islamic Association of Palestine – which rejects any permanent peace with Israel on religious, nationalist, and ideological grounds. It therefore flows logically, according to the charter, that “there is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”

The 1988 charter calls for the creation of an Islamist state, rather than a secular one, and includes unmistakably anti-Semitic language targeting Jews, not Israel. Perhaps more problematic for Hamas today, the 1988 charter expressly describes the group as “one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Hamas, however, is trying to transform itself. Its pending political statement, leaked to the press in April, sparked renewed interest in a Hamas “makeover.” The document distances Hamas from the Muslim Brotherhood, and may include some acknowledgment of the 1967 armistice lines for the Six Day War as the basis for a deal with Israel. The Hamas charter, for its part, was a one-man job, written by Sheikh Abdul Fattah Dukhan as the group was just forming itself. Ever since, officials have engaged in periodic discussions about updating the charter and softening its sharper edges.

Hamas’s so-called moderation is aimed at widening its international appeal at a time when the group faces multiple challenges, including a dismal economic situation in Gaza – most recently underscored by the energy crisis in Gaza – and strained relations with Egypt, which is at war with Hamas’s parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood. And despite being hailed as a sign of moderation, the document still includes less friendly sections, including a rededication to armed resistance to liberate all of Palestine, “from the Jordan River eastward to the Mediterranean Sea in the west.” Even as Hamas is trying to change its tune, its recent militant activity speaks volumes about the group’s true intentions.

HAMAS PREPARATIONS FOR WAR

Since 2014, when dozens of its tunnels, bases, and missiles were destroyed in its most recent clash with Israel, Hamas has worked to rebuild its wartime infrastructure, including drilling tunnels within the Gaza Strip and into both Egypt and Israel. In 2016, Hamas announced the deaths of twenty-two members of its military wing; most died in tunnel collapses. So far this year, several Hamas members have likewise been killed in tunnel collapses or accidents. In March, Hamas unexpectedly called upon two thousand reservists to participate in a drill meant to simulate a major conflict with Israel, including a ground invasion. The exercise, which included artillery, combat intelligence, and combat engineering elements, is the terrorist organization’s largest this year. Relatedly, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) recently defused two bombs buried near the Gaza-Israel border. Hamas’s international preparations for war were also brought to light in February when a Hamas operative, who had been living in Turkish Cyprus, was arrested on his return to the West Bank. He admitted to joining Hamas while abroad and training at a military camp in Syria.

Hamas’s preparations are not limited to an on-the-ground struggle. In March, it was revealed that Hamas had produced several dozen advanced missiles similar to those maintained by Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group and political party. The Israel Security Agency, or Shin Bet, warned late last year that Hamas’s missile arsenal now equals it strength prior to the 2014 conflict, during which the group shot more than a thousand rockets toward Israel.

HAMAS SMUGGLING

In Gaza, Hamas continues to smuggle weapons, money, and equipment in preparation for violent attacks and the next conflict with Israel, which foiled 1,226 smuggling attempts at the Gaza border in 2016. Most recently, two Gazan sisters were caught attempting to enter Israel laden with explosives. One of the sisters had a visa into Israel to receive cancer treatment, and tried to smuggle explosive materials hidden inside medical supply tubes. Shin Bet’s initial investigation indicates that the supplies were sent by Hamas for use in terrorist attacks in Israel. Earlier this month, Israeli authorities seized thirty diving suits, allegedly bound for Hamas’s burgeoning naval militant branch, hidden within a shipment of imported sports clothes. A Gaza fisherman was also recently arrested for smuggling equipment to Hamas.

In the West Bank, another illicit shipment was intercepted last year, filled with materials for hundreds of mortars and rockets, and electric engines used for digging tunnels. And Hamas continues to take advantage of international humanitarian workers. In March, the coordinator of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency’s Gaza branch, Muhammad Murtaja, was arrested on charges of aiding the terrorist organization. To improve the accuracy of Hamas rocket attacks, the man claimed he was supposed to bring a disk-on-key to Hamas, containing “improved and elaborately detailed maps of various sites in Israel.” He also helped dig a tunnel, became an expert in explosive devices, and witnessed cash transfers from the Turkish organization to Hamas officials.

HAMAS IN THE WEST BANK

Hamas continues to build its infrastructure in the West Bank and Israel. In 2016 alone, 114 local Hamas cells were apprehended in the West Bank, versus 70 in 2015. One cell, broken up near Hebron in February, had been receiving instructions online from Hamas for shooting, kidnapping, and explosives attacks. Several of the targets were within Israel proper, including a bus station, a train station, and a synagogue. Another attempted kidnapping plot was foiled in December, resulting in the seizure of large quantities of ammunition, two AK-47s, three pistols, and a shotgun from the West Bank cell. That same month, a Hamas operative was arrested when authorities uncovered his plans for attacks in and around Jerusalem, including bombing a bus.

Hamas invests heavily in its base outside Gaza. A major money-transfer route was thus detected in February, through which Hamas sent thousands of dollars via debit cards smuggled to its operatives in the West Bank. Hamas is also aggressively developing its West Bank arsenal. In February, the IDF closed a West Bank bookstore used by Hamas to produce incendiary propaganda and manufacture explosives, and a gun manufacturing facility was busted late last year near Hebron, a notorious Hamas stronghold.

HAMAS IN SINAI

Despite its supposed rapprochement with Egypt, Hamas continues to work closely with Islamists in the Sinai Peninsula. In March, Israel issued an explicit warning to Hamas about these activities: “Hamas leaders: Your efforts to hide your cooperation with Islamic State’s smuggling from Sinai, through lies and manipulation in attempts to broadcast ‘business as usual’ with Egypt, are not hidden from our view.” Indeed, Hamas benefits financially from its relationship with the Islamic State in Sinai, through which it is able to smuggle weapons into Gaza. In fact, Hamas recently increased its tax on goods smuggled into Gaza by IS Sinai fighters. Hamas, in turn, allows IS Sinai to run a media channel from the Gaza Strip, through which the Sinai jihadist group has claimed responsibility for attacks in Egypt. And Hamas has treated wounded IS fighters in the hospitals it runs in Gaza. According to recent reports, some weapons used by IS in attacks against Egyptian forces came from Gaza into Sinai – a reverse directional flow and one that has Egyptian authorities particularly concerned.

CONCLUSION

As Hamas leader Khaled Mashal insisted last month, “We were and we still are in an open war with [the] criminal enemy [Israel].” Hamas may engage in politics, “but it insists on the choice of jihad and resistance...[This choice] is Hamas’s greater and first strategy...This is Hamas. Hamas is not changing its skin.” Indeed, nowhere are the group’s true intentions more clear than in its recent election of Yahya Sinwar, a convicted murderer and militant hardliner, as its new leader in Gaza. Just last month, Sinwar swore that Hamas will continue to fight Israel and would “not surrender even a morsel” of land. A change in Hamas rhetoric will mean nothing without a parallel change in Hamas behavior.

The international community should judge Hamas not by any moderation in the group’s rhetoric but by its actions on the ground. So long as the latter remain militant and extreme, the relative moderation of the former means not much at all.

 

HAMAS DEPICTS ABBAS AS SELLOUT IN MEETING WITH TRUMP

Hamas depicts Abbas as sellout in meeting with Trump
By Elhanan Miller
Haaretz
May 4, 2017

A poignant caricature published by Hamas daily al-Resalah on Wednesday depicted U.S. President Donald Trump as the Statue of Liberty. At its feet, a miserable looking Mahmoud Abbas kneels, begging in his underwear.

Palestinian press coverage of Trump’s meeting with President Abbas on Wednesday reflected the deep political divide between Fatah and Hamas. The two factions forged a unity government three years ago, but never settled their ideological differences.

“After meeting Trump, Abbas will either succumb or be besieged,” read the headline of an opinion article by al-Resalah columnist Muhammad Ballour.

“PA President Mahmoud Abbas deserves a medal of bravery if he surprises all observers of the Palestinian-Israeli scene by displaying a modicum of steadfastness on Palestinian principles, in the face of dollar king and dear friend of Israel, U.S. President Donald Trump,” wrote Ballour on the paper’s website.

“The Trump-Abbas meeting raises the level of danger to the Palestinian cause to code orange, since in all likelihood Trump will try to impose diktats on Abbas reflecting Israeli aspirations,” he added.

A less sarcastic article in the same newspaper noted that Trump completely avoided using the term “Palestinian state” during his 15-minute press conference with Abbas.

Yasser Zaatreh, a Gaza-based journalist and political pundit with over a quarter of a million followers on twitter, live-tweeted the event.

“Trump is astonished by what he calls ‘the level of coordination between Israeli and Palestinian leaders,’” he commented with frustration. “It is indeed astonishing. Unprecedented cooperation in the history of national liberation movements!”

Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for Hamas, attacked Abbas’ very legitimacy to travel to the White House. “No one authorized Mahmoud Abbas to represent the Palestinian people and all the positions that he has made don’t obligate anyone,” he tweeted. “We reject Abbas’ statement that all final-status issues are solvable because these are national rights for all Palestinians.”

Meanwhile, mainstream West Bank media, largely affiliated with the Palestinian Authority, was gentler with Abbas. The online headline of Jerusalem-based daily al-Quds read: “Trump: I welcome President Abbas in the White House as peacemaker.” Trump personally welcomed Abbas upon exiting his car at the White House, the reporter noted.

Munir al-Jaghoub, a Fatah spokesman, used Twitter to highlight the image of Trump speaking on the backdrop of the Palestinian flag.

In an op-ed published in al-Quds, columnist Talal Salman called on his readers to lower their expectations from the meeting.

“It makes no sense to demand of the American president, whoever he may be, to identify with the Palestinian cause … more than the Arab kings and presidents do. During their last summit, they did not dare repeat previous decisions … in order not to provoke the Israelis,” wrote Salman.

Looking to the future, the editor-in-chief of popular Bethlehem news site Ma’an, Nasser Lahham, warned Trump against moving the American embassy to Jerusalem ahead of his expected trip to Israel later this month.

“If he does so, the honeymoon between Trump and the Arabs – moreover, between Trump and the Muslims – will quickly end. The liberal doves in the Palestinian arena will not be able to cool the hotheads. One spark after another will ignite under the domes of mosques and the bells of churches, until the entire field will be ablaze,” wrote Lahham.

Rajab Abu-Sariya, a columnist writing for official PA daily al-Ayyam, reassured his readers, however, that Abbas was traveling to convince Trump of Palestinian moderation in future talks.

“President Abbas will – in our view – express the utmost political flexibility in convincing President Trump of the Palestinian seriousness in reaching a historic compromise. This compromise coincides with Israel’s interest, but not with the interest of its extreme right,” wrote Abu-Sariya.

The international Arab press focused its coverage on the optimism expressed by Trump toward the prospect of a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

London-based daily al-Hayat led its article with Trump’s promise to grant Abbas “an Arab umbrella” for peace negotiations. Its reporter quoted experts as expecting “a cautious and slow pace of direct or indirect negotiations led by Washington.”

Lebanese pro-Hezbollah channel al-Mayadeen quoted a statement by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine arguing that the meeting between the two leaders was nothing but “another attempt to sell illusions, another link in the chain of pressure attempting to bypass Palestinian national rights.”

 

HAMAS, AS PART OF ITS STRUGGLE WITH FATAH, THREATENS TO SPARK WAR WITH ISRAEL

Meanwhile the war of words continues between Fatah and Hamas.

Here for example, is a Saudi news report from this week (in response to Palestinian President Abbas’ latest threat against the population of Gaza; he says he will cut off Gaza’s electricity, but the Palestinian Authority will continue to pay millions of dollars to terrorists and their families):

***

Hamas Threatens to Drag Gaza into Confrontation as a Response to Abbas’ Stringent Measures

By Kifah Ziboun
Asharq Al Awsat
May 2, 2017

http://english.aawsat.com/kifah-ziboun/news-middle-east/hamas-threatens-drag-gaza-confrontation-response-abbas-stringent-measures

Ramallah – Hamas hinted at a new war with Israel if Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s actions against the Gaza Strip continue, demanding indirectly from Israel not to respond to Abbas’s positions.

Hamas senior spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that the Israeli occupation would pay the price of encouraging President Mahmoud Abbas to economically strangle the Gaza Strip.

“Occupation forces needs to reassess its accounts before it is too late, and the Hamas movement is more than able to turn tables for everyone,” he added.

Zuhri’s statement confirms Hamas’ intention spark a war with Israel should Tel Aviv adheres to Abbas’s calls against Gaza, specifically cutting off the power supply to Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

Senior Hamas figures, including political bureau member Khalil al-Hayya, had warned that Gaza Strip was a time bomb that would detonate if Abbas continued to pressure it.

Abbas launched a series of measures last month which systematically targeted Hamas in Gaza, in an attempt to force the Islamist movement to hand over the territory.

At first, he enforced a 30 percent pay cut for public office employees in the Strip and ordered the suspension of tax exemptions on purchases such as fuel. He subsequently informed Israel of his decision to stop paying for the electricity supplied by Israel to Gaza which fulfilled about one third of the sector’s needs.

Israel monthly collects tax revenues from the Abbas’ administration in exchange for supplying Gaza with electricity, but Palestinian authorities accuse the Hamas of cashing in on power bills without transferring any of the collected funds to the Palestinian government in Ramallah.

Hamas hopes that Israel will not respond to Abbas’s request and continue to supply electricity to Gaza, either by forcibly acquiring funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA), accumulating them, or mobilizing international support.

Israeli official said on April 27, the Palestinian Authority informed Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories that it was immediately cutting off funding for Gaza’s power supply.

Not only will it no longer buy diesel fuel to operate the Gaza Strip’s one and only power station – the PA stopped doing so several weeks ago – it will stop footing the monthly bill for the power supplied by the Israel Electric Corporation to Gaza.


FULL TEXT OF HAMAS’ NEW DOCUMENT: “IN THE NAME OF ALLAH MOST GRACIOUS MOST MERCIFUL”

Text of Hamas’ Document
May 2, 2017

http://english.alresalah.ps/new/post.php?id=5586&t=Text-of-Hamas%27-Document-

Also here:

http://hamas.ps/en/post/678/a-document-of-general-principles-and-policies

In the Name of Allah Most Gracious Most Merciful

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all worlds. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon Muhammad, the Master of Messengers and the Leader of the mujahidin, and upon his household and all his companions.

Preamble:

Palestine is the land of the Arab Palestinian people, from it they originate, to it they adhere and belong, and about it they reach out and communicate.

Palestine is a land whose status has been elevated by Islam, a faith that holds it in high esteem, that breathes through it its spirit and just values and that lays the foundation for the doctrine of defending and protecting it.

Palestine is the cause of a people who have been let down by a world that fails to secure their rights and restore to them what has been usurped from them, a people whose land continues to suffer one of the worst types of occupation in this world.

Palestine is a land that was seized by a racist, anti-human and colonial Zionist project that was founded on a false promise (the Balfour Declaration), on recognition of a usurping entity and on imposing a fait accompli by force.

Palestine symbolizes the resistance that shall continue until liberation is accomplished, until the return is fulfilled and until a fully sovereign state is established with Jerusalem as its capital.

Palestine is the true partnership among Palestinians of all affiliations for the sublime objective of liberation.

Palestine is the spirit of the Ummah and its central cause; it is the soul of humanity and its living conscience.

This document is the product of deep deliberations that led us to a strong consensus. As a movement, we agree about both the theory and the practice of the vision that is outlined in the pages that follow. It is a vision that stands on solid grounds and on well-established principles. This document unveils the goals, the milestones and the way in which national unity can be enforced. It also establishes our common understanding of the Palestinian cause, the working principles which we use to further it, and the limits of flexibility used to interpret it.

The Movement:

1. The Islamic Resistance Movement “Hamas” is a Palestinian Islamic national liberation and resistance movement. Its goal is to liberate Palestine and confront the Zionist project. Its frame of reference is Islam, which determines its principles, objectives and means.

The Land of Palestine:

2. Palestine, which extends from the River Jordan in the east to the Mediterranean in the west and from Ras Al-Naqurah in the north to Umm Al-Rashrash in the south, is an integral territorial unit. It is the land and the home of the Palestinian people. The expulsion and banishment of the Palestinian people from their land and the establishment of the Zionist entity therein do not annul the right of the Palestinian people to their entire land and do not entrench any rights therein for the usurping Zionist entity.

3. Palestine is an Arab Islamic land. It is a blessed sacred land that has a special place in the heart of every Arab and every Muslim.

The Palestinian People:

4. The Palestinians are the Arabs who lived in Palestine until 1947, irrespective of whether they were expelled from it, or stayed in it; and every person that was born to an Arab Palestinian father after that date, whether inside or outside Palestine, is a Palestinian.

5. The Palestinian identity is authentic and timeless; it is passed from generation to generation. The catastrophes that have befallen the Palestinian people, as a consequence of the Zionist occupation and its policy of displacement, cannot erase the identity of the Palestinian people nor can they negate it. A Palestinian shall not lose his or her national identity or rights by acquiring a second nationality.

6. The Palestinian people are one people, made up of all Palestinians, inside and outside of Palestine, irrespective of their religion, culture or political affiliation.

Islam and Palestine:

7. Palestine is at the heart of the Arab and Islamic Ummah and enjoys a special status. Within Palestine there exists Jerusalem, whose precincts are blessed by Allah. Palestine is the Holy Land, which Allah has blessed for humanity. It is the Muslims’ first Qiblah and the destination of the journey performed at night by Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. It is the location from where he ascended to the upper heavens. It is the birthplace of Jesus Christ, peace be upon him. Its soil contains the remains of thousands of Prophets, Companions and Mujahidin. It is the land of people who are determined to defend the truth – within Jerusalem and its surroundings – who are not deterred or intimidated by those who oppose them and by those who betray them, and they will continue their mission until the Promise of Allah is fulfilled.

8. By virtue of its justly balanced middle way and moderate spirit, Islam – for Hamas - provides a comprehensive way of life and an order that is fit for purpose at all times and in all places. Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. It provides an umbrella for the followers of other creeds and religions who can practice their beliefs in security and safety. Hamas also believes that Palestine has always been and will always be a model of coexistence, tolerance and civilizational innovation.

9. Hamas believes that the message of Islam upholds the values of truth, justice, freedom and dignity and prohibits all forms of injustice and incriminates oppressors irrespective of their religion, race, gender or nationality. Islam is against all forms of religious, ethnic or sectarian extremism and bigotry. It is the religion that inculcates in its followers the value of standing up to aggression and of supporting the oppressed; it motivates them to give generously and make sacrifices in defence of their dignity, their land, their peoples and their holy places.

Jerusalem:

10. Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine. Its religious, historic and civilizational status is fundamental to the Arabs, Muslims and the world at large. Its Islamic and Christian holy places belong exclusively to the Palestinian people and to the Arab and Islamic Ummah. Not one stone of Jerusalem can be surrendered or relinquished. The measures undertaken by the occupiers in Jerusalem, such as Judaization, settlement building, and establishing facts on the ground are fundamentally null and void.

11. The blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque belongs exclusively to our people and our Ummah, and the occupation has no right to it whatsoever. The occupation’s plots, measures and attempts to judaize Al-Aqsa and divide it are null, void and illegitimate.

The Refugees and the Right of Return:

12. The Palestinian cause in its essence is a cause of an occupied land and a displaced people. The right of the Palestinian refugees and the displaced to return to their homes from which they were banished or were banned from returning to – whether in the lands occupied in 1948 or in 1967 (that is the whole of Palestine), is a natural right, both individual and collective. This right is confirmed by all divine laws as well as by the basic principles of human rights and international law. It is an inalienable right and cannot be dispensed with by any party, whether Palestinian, Arab or international.

13. Hamas rejects all attempts to erase the rights of the refugees, including the attempts to settle them outside Palestine and through the projects of the alternative homeland. Compensation to the Palestinian refugees for the harm they have suffered as a consequence of banishing them and occupying their land is an absolute right that goes hand in hand with their right to return. They are to receive compensation upon their return and this does not negate or diminish their right to return.

The Zionist Project:

14. The Zionist project is a racist, aggressive, colonial and expansionist project based on seizing the properties of others; it is hostile to the Palestinian people and to their aspiration for freedom, liberation, return and self-determination. The Israeli entity is the plaything of the Zionist project and its base of aggression.

15. The Zionist project does not target the Palestinian people alone; it is the enemy of the Arab and Islamic Ummah posing a grave threat to its security and interests. It is also hostile to the Ummah’s aspirations for unity, renaissance and liberation and has been the major source of its troubles. The Zionist project also poses a danger to international security and peace and to mankind and its interests and stability.

16. Hamas affirms that its conflict is with the Zionist project not with the Jews because of their religion. Hamas does not wage a struggle against the Jews because they are Jewish but wages a struggle against the Zionists who occupy Palestine. Yet, it is the Zionists who constantly identify Judaism and the Jews with their own colonial project and illegal entity.

17. Hamas rejects the persecution of any human being or the undermining of his or her rights on nationalist, religious or sectarian grounds. Hamas is of the view that the Jewish problem, anti-Semitism and the persecution of the Jews are phenomena fundamentally linked to European history and not to the history of the Arabs and the Muslims or to their heritage. The Zionist movement, which was able with the help of Western powers to occupy Palestine, is the most dangerous form of settlement occupation which has already disappeared from much of the world and must disappear from Palestine.

The position toward Occupation and Political Solutions:

18. The following are considered null and void: the Balfour Declaration, the British Mandate Document, the UN Palestine Partition Resolution, and whatever resolutions and measures that derive from them or are similar to them. The establishment of “Israel” is entirely illegal and contravenes the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and goes against their will and the will of the Ummah; it is also in violation of human rights that are guaranteed by international conventions, foremost among them is the right to self-determination.

19. There shall be no recognition of the legitimacy of the Zionist entity. Whatever has befallen the land of Palestine in terms of occupation, settlement building, Judaization or changes to its features or falsification of facts is illegitimate. Rights never lapse.

20. Hamas believes that no part of the land of Palestine shall be compromised or conceded, irrespective of the causes, the circumstances and the pressures and no matter how long the occupation lasts. Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea. However, without compromising its rejection of the Zionist entity and without relinquishing any Palestinian rights, Hamas considers the establishment of a fully sovereign and independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital along the lines of the 4th of June 1967, with the return of the refugees and the displaced to their homes from which they were expelled, to be a formula of national consensus.

21. Hamas affirms that the Oslo Accords and their addenda contravene the governing rules of international law in that they generate commitments that violate the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. Therefore, the Movement rejects these agreements and all that flows from them, such as the obligations that are detrimental to the interests of our people, especially security coordination (collaboration).

22. Hamas rejects all the agreements, initiatives and settlement projects that are aimed at undermining the Palestinian cause and the rights of our Palestinian people. In this regard, any stance, initiative or political programme must not in any way violate these rights and should not contravene them or contradict them.

23. Hamas stresses that transgression against the Palestinian people, usurping their land and banishing them from their homeland cannot be called peace. Any settlements reached on this basis will not lead to peace. Resistance and jihad for the liberation of Palestine will remain a legitimate right, a duty and an honour for all the sons and daughters of our people and our Ummah.

Resistance and Liberation:

24. The liberation of Palestine is the duty of the Palestinian people in particular and the duty of the Arab and Islamic Ummah in general. It is also a humanitarian obligation as necessitated by the dictates of truth and justice. The agencies working for Palestine, whether national, Arab, Islamic or humanitarian, complement each other and are harmonious and not in conflict with each other.

25. Resisting the occupation with all means and methods is a legitimate right guaranteed by divine laws and by international norms and laws. At the heart of these lies armed resistance, which is regarded as the strategic choice for protecting the principles and the rights of the Palestinian people.

26. Hamas rejects any attempt to undermine the resistance and its arms. It also affirms the right of our people to develop the means and mechanisms of resistance. Managing resistance, in terms of escalation or de-escalation, or in terms of diversifying the means and methods, is an integral part of the process of managing the conflict and should not be at the expense of the principle of resistance.

The Palestinian Political System:

27. A real state of Palestine is a state that has been liberated. There is no alternative to a fully sovereign Palestinian State on the entire national Palestinian soil, with Jerusalem as its capital.

28. Hamas believes in, and adheres to, managing its Palestinian relations on the basis of pluralism, democracy, national partnership, acceptance of the other and the adoption of dialogue. The aim is to bolster the unity of ranks and joint action for the purpose of accomplishing national goals and fulfilling the aspirations of the Palestinian people.

29. The PLO is a national framework for the Palestinian people inside and outside of Palestine. It should therefore be preserved, developed and rebuilt on democratic foundations so as to secure the participation of all the constituents and forces of the Palestinian people, in a manner that safeguards Palestinian rights.

30. Hamas stresses the necessity of building Palestinian national institutions on sound democratic principles, foremost among them are free and fair elections. Such process should be on the basis of national partnership and in accordance with a clear programme and a clear strategy that adhere to the rights, including the right of resistance, and which fulfil the aspirations of the Palestinian people.

31. Hamas affirms that the role of the Palestinian Authority should be to serve the Palestinian people and safeguard their security, their rights and their national project.

32. Hamas stresses the necessity of maintaining the independence of Palestinian national decision-making. Outside forces should not be allowed to intervene. At the same time, Hamas affirms the responsibility of the Arabs and the Muslims and their duty and role in the liberation of Palestine from Zionist occupation.

33. Palestinian society is enriched by its prominent personalities, figures, dignitaries, civil society institutions, and youth, students, trade unionist and women’s groups who together work for the achievement of national goals and societal building, pursue resistance, and achieve liberation.

34. The role of Palestinian women is fundamental in the process of building the present and the future, just as it has always been in the process of making Palestinian history. It is a pivotal role in the project of resistance, liberation and building the political system.

The Arab and Islamic Ummah:

35. Hamas believes that the Palestinian issue is the central cause for the Arab and Islamic Ummah.

36. Hamas believes in the unity of the Ummah with all its diverse constituents and is aware of the need to avoid anything that could fragment the Ummah and undermine its unity.

37. Hamas believes in cooperating with all states that support the rights of the Palestinian people. It opposes intervention in the internal affairs of any country. It also refuses to be drawn into disputes and conflicts that take place among different countries. Hamas adopts the policy of opening up to different states in the world, especially the Arab and Islamic states. It endeavours to establish balanced relations on the basis of combining the requirements of the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people’s interests on the one hand with the interests of the Ummah, its renaissance and its security on the other.

The Humanitarian and International Aspect:

38. The Palestinian issue is one that has major humanitarian and international dimensions. Supporting and backing this cause is a humanitarian and civilizational task that is required by the prerequisites of truth, justice and common humanitarian values.

39. From a legal and humanitarian perspective, the liberation of Palestine is a legitimate activity, it is an act of self-defence, and it is the expression of the natural right of all peoples to self-determination.

40. In its relations with world nations and peoples, Hamas believes in the values of cooperation, justice, freedom and respect of the will of the people.

41. Hamas welcomes the stances of states, organisations and institutions that support the rights of the Palestinian people. It salutes the free peoples of the world who support the Palestinian cause. At the same time, it denounces the support granted by any party to the Zionist entity or the attempts to cover up its crimes and aggression against the Palestinians and calls for the prosecution of Zionist war criminals.

42. Hamas rejects the attempts to impose hegemony on the Arab and Islamic Ummah just as it rejects the attempts to impose hegemony on the rest of the world’s nations and peoples. Hamas also condemns all forms of colonialism, occupation, discrimination, oppression and aggression in the world.

 

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