Reports of Hamas moderation greatly exaggerated

Every so often we hear that Hamas has decided to change its spots:

[Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal and the PLO’s Mahmoud Abbas]  held a November 24 summit meeting in Cairo where they reportedly agreed on main three points: a Palestinian state will be established in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; non-violent resistance will be the tool for achieving this goal; and legislative and presidential elections will take place on May 4, 2012. The first point tacitly acknowledges Israel’s right to exist and the second would align Hamas’ strategy with that of Abbas, who is committed to seeking a negotiated peace with Israel.

Jane’s Defence & Security Intelligence & Analysis was the first to report Hamas’ acceptance to give up armed resistance.

At their latest summit December 21, the two paved the way for Hamas to join the PLO, the Palestinian umbrella organization that to date has been dominated by the Fatah movement. Many observers took that as yet another signs that Hamas is moving to come closer to the Fatah position. — Mohammed Najib, Media Line

If this were true, it might be a problem for Ismail Haniyeh, the ‘Prime Minister’ of the Gaza Strip. Two days before the summit, he gave this speech:

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Perhaps he was just out of the loop? I don’t think so. A news release [links in Arabic and translated by Google] issued by Hamas in Gaza today and published in Palestine Today tells us,

Confirmed the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas, on its adherence to the right of resistance in all forms, especially the armed resistance, even defeating the occupation has proven [the] path of resistance and jihad and martyrdom  [are] the only way to extract our rights and liberate our land and our Jerusalem and our holy places…

The Movement stressed the need to continue what has been the achievements on the road to achieving national reconciliation and to end the division and the consolidation of the national front of all forces and factions within the strategy of struggle unified, re-activation of the Palestine Liberation Organization on the basis of protecting the constants and the rights and sanctities, and achieve the aspirations of the Palestinian people for liberation and return.

The movement called  [on the] Arab and Islamic nation to continue its support and assigned to the steadfastness of our people and the valiant resistance, and the defense of Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque and the holy sites, and consider the Palestinian issue and the Liberation of Palestine and to address the criminal Zionist enemy …

The translation is slightly rough, but the meaning is clear. Hamas is prepared to join together with the PLO, but only to continue its jihad against the Jewish state. Indeed the idea is to get the PLO back on the jihad bus itself.

Hamas moderating? Nope. As always, reports of Hamas moderation have been greatly exaggerated.

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One Response to “Reports of Hamas moderation greatly exaggerated”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    If Hamas were able to get away with presenting a tactically moderate stance without while maintaining its absolutist Islamist stance within it might go for a tactical agreement. But it is doubtful that it would do so and in effect alienate itself from its own extremist base. It may be that all the gameplaying is for the Egyptians who Hamas believes will all soon be Hamas-niks.