Mainstreaming Hamas

6a00d8341c2c6053ef00e54f60a5ca8834-800wiOn May 16, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to go through with a planned trip to the Hamas-ruled Gaza strip in June. Flanked by US President Barack Obama at the White House, Erdogan expressed “hope that my visit can contribute to the process [of establishing a Palestinian state].”

He then insisted—while standing next to the leader of the free world, whose country has designated Hamas a terror organization—that both Turkey and the US were “determined to fight jointly against terrorism.”

This blatant hypocrisy is apparently reconciled, rather problematically, by statements made by Erdogan just last month, in which he reiterated his position that “it is out of the question for [Turkey] to consider Hamas as a terrorist organization.” Rather, the Turkish leader has in the past described Hamas as a “resistance [group] fighting for their own land.”

During his press conference with Obama, Erdogan further declared that “a negotiating table where Hamas…is not represented cannot produce peace.… For us, Hamas is what [PA President Mahmoud Abbas’] Fatah is.” This was followed by a reaffirmation the next day that “the process of unity between Fatah and Hamas, this has to be achieved;” otherwise, he said, “I don’t believe that a solution or result will come out of Israeli-Palestinian discussions.”

Given the supposed US opposition to Erdogan’s plans, it is difficult to fathom that Obama could not have persuaded Erdogan to forego his trip to Gaza. The administration, after all, was in the position of obliging various Turkish security requests with respect to the implosion in Syria—as it did, for example, by agreeing to deploy NATO Patriot missiles along Turkey’s border with Syria earlier this year—in exchange for that quid pro quo from Erdogan. Obama could also have applied direct pressure on Erdogan, as was the case when he recently strong-armed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu into apologizing to Turkey for the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident.

That Obama did not see fit to use similar pressure tactics in this instance, which contravenes an oft-declared US policy, suggests he does not, in reality, have any serious reservations about the proposed visit.

While in Israel in March, Obama offered a window into his thinking process. In his much-heralded speech in Jerusalem, the US president mentioned both Hamas and Hezbollah, but drew a stark distinction between them.

With respect to Hezbollah, Obama invoked last year’s bombing of an Israeli tour bus in Bulgaria, saying, “I think about five Israelis who…were blown up because of where they came from; who were robbed of the ability to live, and love, and raise families. That’s why every country that values justice should call Hezbollah what it truly is—a terrorist organization. Because the world cannot tolerate an organization that murders innocent civilians.…”

Regarding Hamas, however, Obama’s tone was markedly different: “When I consider Israel’s security, I think about children like Osher Twito, who I met in Sderot—children, the same age as my own daughters, who went to bed at night fearful that a [Gaza] rocket would land in their bedroom simply because of who they are and where they live.… That’s why Israel has a right to expect Hamas to renounce violence and recognize Israel’s right to exist.”

Far from defining Hamas as a terror organization that murders innocent Israelis, Obama instead outlined “expectations” for the legitimization of the intolerable.

Notably, following Obama’s speech, a PA official revealed that the White House was warming up to the possibility of Palestinian reconciliation. Azzam al-Ahmed, a member of the Fatah Central Committee and senior adviser to Abbas, said that US objections to Hamas-Fatah unification were becoming “less strong.”

Not surprisingly, it was recently announced that the two rival Palestinian factions have agreed on a timeline of three months to join forces. While this may or may not come to pass—all previous reconciliation attempts having failed—the key “take-away” must be that, amidst an ongoing US push for a renewal of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, it is highly unlikely that serious talk of such a rapprochement could proceed without tacit US approval.

Further reinforcing this perception is the summit convened in April by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Arab League foreign ministers regarding the possible resumption of the peace process. Heading the Arab delegation was Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, whose country is one of Hamas’ strongest proponents and which has, over the past two years, spearheaded attempts to incorporate Hamas into a Palestinian unity government.

To this end, Qatari Emir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani became, in March, the first head of state to travel to the Strip since Hamas seized power in 2007. The visit, during which the emir pledged $400 million to Gaza’s rulers, prompted Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor to issue the following statement: “It is quite strange that the emir of Qatar should choose sides within the Palestinian camp, and choose the wrong side while he is at it.” Accordingly, it is inconceivable that Qatar does not envision Hamas playing a prominent role in bringing about, and then governing, any future Palestinian state.

It is equally implausible that the Obama administration is oblivious of the Sheik’s position.

Efforts to whitewash Hamas are thus being conducting on two parallel tracks. First, with the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ having brought to power Sunni Islamist governments across the Middle East and North Africa (including Hamas’ progenitor the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt), through attempts by regional leaders to engender an allied Sunni front, including Hamas; a most predictable development.

Second, and far more distressing, is the apparent policy shift to the same end by various Western countries, including the US. This seems predicated on the fact that an increasing number of Western exponents of the two-state solution have finally concluded that this paradigm is unworkable so long as the Palestinians themselves are divided politically between Gaza and the West Bank. Moreover, these professional “a-peace-ers” appear to have belatedly realized that forging an end-of-conflict agreement is impossible when much of the Palestinian population supports, and is governed by, an overtly genocidal faction.

True to form, however, instead of accepting the obvious—that Hamas’ annihilationist agenda precludes peace with Israel—their new “solution” appears aimed at gradually rebranding an increasingly legitimized Hamas as “moderate” (which it is patently not) as a prelude to incorporating it into the diplomatic process. (If this sounds eerily familiar, it is how Israel got stuck dealing with arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat in the early ‘90s).

Cognisant that this charade cannot be tolerated, the government dispatched night none other than dovish Justice Minister and primary liaison to the Palestinians Tzipi Livni to reaffirm Israel’s position; namely, that there is no chance of reaching a peace agreement with Hamas.

Although an important first step, Livni’s lone interview with Army Radio is grossly inadequate to convey the government’s stance on such a paramount issue.

For while her message goes largely unheard (if not discounted altogether) outside of Israel, the Hamas politburo continues to lobby foreign governments discretely in order to have it delisted as a terror organization; this, in the aftermath of a major policy speech in December by Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, in which he proclaimed that “the time has come for the US and EU to remove Hamas from the list of designated terrorist organizations.”

To counter the emergent trend, Israel must mobilize its diplomatic forces and use all means necessary to ensure Haniyeh’s wish is never granted.

The author, a freelance journalist, recently made aliya from Canada.

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  • UCSPanther

    Hamas and Hezbollah: They may follow different sects of Islam, but they are same type of bloodthirsty monster.

    As far as I am concerned, Hamas' and Hezbollah's emblems may as well be swastikas…

  • AdinaK

    There is NO daylight between the PA/Fatah/Hamas terror junta, other than in their "presentation" and operational aspects. HOWEVER, their goals are one and the same, therefore, from Israel's perspective they are equally genocidal.
    So, if anyone still has a doubt as to their entry into civilized society, see within –

    Case closed.

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel

  • paulchis

    Tayp Recep Erdogan is the Prime-minister of Turkey not the President.

  • stern

    In keeping with Obama's penchant for eradicating problems by redefining them (for example, the war on terror has been won because he says so), I think it is time to redefine the word "terrorism" for the modern (Obama) age.

    It is NOT terrorism if it:
    1) Is aimed at Israel
    2) Is directed at military personnel, even if the perpetrator/s yell "Allah Akbar" while they kill and even if said military personnel are not on duty at the time (which includes every Israeli as we all know that every Israeli is eligible for the draft)
    3) Is perpetrated by any member of the "religion of the peace"
    4) Is directed by members of the "religion of the peace" against other members of said religion

    It IS terrorism if it is:
    1) Perpetrated by somebody who is demonstrably a right-wing fanatic or has ever voted Republican, even if just once
    2) Any action undertaken by Israel in self-defense

    There we go. Now we don't have to worry about terrorism ever again.

  • Mladen Andrijasevic

    Unfortunately, even some Israeli writers are delusional when it comes to Hamas.

    It's time for Israel to talk to Hamas says A.B. Yehoshua

    • stern

      A.B. Yehoshua is delusional about a lot more than Hamas!

  • Power2daPeople

    HAMAS is a legitimate resistance organization under international law:… The only entities that consider it a "terrorist group" are themselves the biggest terrorists in the world. Tell me, were the Jewish who rose up against the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto terrorists? Don't look now, but your rank hypocrisy is showing. Freedom for Palestine! End the illegal occupation!

    • UCSPanther

      Yet another pro-Palestinian activist who obviously has stew for brains if he thinks he can sway us with discredited propaganda.

      You may as well be trying to sway us with garbage from David Duke…

    • Mary Sue

      Your statement makes no sense and your link is to some commie-fascist propaganda BS.
      International Law is an a$$.

      How could the Jews rise up? They were disarmed! They had nothing to fight with!

      You know what happened to the ones that did? Shot on the spot. They had no chance. And you claim equivalence for Israel's IDF, who is a LOT more restrained with dealing with actual Terrorists?

      Terrorists of Paleswinians do not rise up for freedom. They rise up to kill all the Jews, JUST LIKE THE NAZIS!

    • Mladen Andrijasevic

      Here is what you support. Just read Article 7 of the Hamas Charter and Hadith 177 and confirm that this is what you support. Is it?

      Article 7 of the Hamas Charter reads:
      "The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: 'Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him,' except for the Gharqad tree, for it is the tree of the Jews."

      Article 7 is taken from Hadith Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 177
      and quotes the Prophet Muhammad:

      Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, "The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. "O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him."

    • kasandra

      Yes, the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto fighting against the Wermacht that was trying to send them to concentration camps where they would be turned into soap is certainly equivalent to Hamas firing laser guided anti-tank missiles into Israeli school buses, murdering and kidnapping Israelis inside of Israel and firing unguided missiles against civilian targets. What color is the sky on your planet you ignorant wretch.

    • Huck Folder

      "the Jewish [sic] who rose up against the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto"

      And WHO was fighting on the NAZI side? Why none other than 'palestinian' Haj Amin al-Husseini and over 70,000 islamists, VOLUNTEER mohammedan NAZI SS troops who fought alongside their SS friends. AH was the guest of the other AH during the war and broadcast hate against the Jews daily, from Berlin's most powerful radio transmitter.

      After the war, AH and many Nazis escaped to the Middle East and helped promote propaganda and terrorism among the rabid islamists, probably including Power2daPeople. Their ideas found a fertile soil among mohammedans. That's why Hamas and Hezbollah give the Hitlergruß, the NAZI salute; where else did you think they got that from? Also, "Mein Kampf" and "The Protocols" have been best sellers in mohammedan countries for 70 years.

      But don't take my word for it, just Google: "haj a". That's right just four letters. And the FIRST citation is the Wikipedia entry (complete with sources) for Haj Amin al-Husseini.

  • SoCalMike

    History is repeating itself but the academic fringe that morally and materially equated the US and the USSR during the Cold War has metastasized to official, military brass, military intelligence and law enforcement.
    This is the path of least resistence for the mentally lazy socially conformed who cant be bothered to fight a war when they keep pretending there isnt one or that it's over or those waging it against us are really our friends and allies.
    The faculty lounge bimbos are running the show.

  • Brujo Blanco

    Hamas and Hezbollah have one thing in common and that is to kill Jews. Playing footsie with terrorists will not work out for us. In fact terrorists will betray us reflexively.

  • Texas Patriot

    Obama has surrendered. Everything he has tried has failed, and he's out of ideas. He was elected in 2008 on the optimistic but delusory notion that making peace with moderate Muslims was the key to ending the war on terror, and it didn't work. Demonstrators chanting "Obama, Obama We're All Osama" in Muslim capitols throughout the world on 9/1/2012 made it perfectly clear that when it comes to Islam, there are no moderate Muslims. At this point, he's hoping to finish his term and build the Obama Presidential Library. After that, he's probably hoping to disappear from sight just like George W. Bush has.

  • Liz

    Everything Obama has done in the Middle East has led to the tightening of the noose around Israel's neck. Obama's fondness for Erdogan and his silence on Erdogan's planned trip to Gaza just increase my suspicion that Obama, along with the EU, are helpfully facilitating the buildup of Arab and Muslim forces in the region. When those forces attack Israel, the U.S. and EU will either: 1) throw their hands up, expressing shock and surprise that such a thing could happen; or 2) find some twisted Leftist pretext to support the attacks on Israel. Either way, the machinations of the political left will, once again, have supported murder and mayhem in the cause of "human rights" and "social justice."

  • Lea

    Well, israel has failed to stop this travesty from happening. Who is behind this movement going on in european govts and the EU parliament that has just delisted hamas as a terrorist organisation? We would like the names of the participants in these movements and decisions so that we, the people, can target them with our wrath.