Voices of Palestine: Ismail Haniya

Voice of the Gaza Strip.

Editor’s note: Below is the latest profile of Frontpage’s new series, “Voices of Palestine,” which will illuminate the core beliefs, in their own words, of leading figures in the Palestinian death cult. Click the following to view the profiles of Ahmad Bahr, Mahmoud al-Zahar, Ibrahim Mudayris, Yasser Ghalban, Haj Amin al-Husseini, Wafa al-Bis, Mahmoud Abbas, Ahlam Tamimi, Yassir Arafat (Part I and Part II), Abdallah Jarbu, Sheik Ismail Aal Radhwan, Abdel Aziz Rantisi, Yunis Al-Astal, Fathi Hamad and Khaled Mash'al.

Well before becoming prime minister of the Hamas-controlled Gaza government in 2006, Ismail Haniya had been a leader in the Palestinian death cult's campaign to exterminate the state of Israel and erect in its stead an Islamist state.

Haniya’s commitment to jihad began shortly after he graduated in 1987 from the Islamic University of Gaza. He began planning terror attacks for Hamas during the First Intifada against Israel (1987-1993). Arrested in 1989, Haniya was briefly exiled to Lebanon in 1992 -- along with 400 other Hamas terrorists -- before returning back to Gaza in 1994.

During his time in Lebanon, Haniya formed a close friendship with Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, a relationship which hastened Haniya’s meteoric rise through the terror group’s organizational ranks.

Shortly after Yassin’s death in 2004, Haniya was chosen to lead the slate of Hamas candidates in the December 2005 Palestinian parliamentary elections, an election in which Hamas won majority control of the Gaza government. As a result, Haniya was sworn in as prime minister in March 2006 by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Any hope that democracy would have a civilizing effect on the Gaza Strip died early on after the election. By December 2006, during a foray to Iran, Haniya pledged Hamas’s continuing commitment to jihad and its fealty to the Iranian Islamic state:

The world arrogance (US) and Zionists... want us to recognize the usurpation of the Palestinian lands and stop jihad and resistance and accept the agreements reached with the Zionist enemies in the past. I'm insisting from this podium that these issues won’t materialize. We will never recognize the usurper Zionist government and will continue our jihad-like movement until the liberation of Jerusalem. They (Israelis) assume the Palestinian nation is alone. This is an illusion. ... We have a strategic depth in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This country (Iran) is our powerful, dynamic and stable depth.

While Haniya was able to solidify Hamas’s strategic alliance with Iran, he was less successful in negotiating alliances with rivals at home.

Specifically, tensions from the 2006 Palestinian election had led to violent clashes between Hamas and Fatah supporters; unrest which led Fatah leader Abbas to dismiss Haniya as prime minister in June 2007, an action deemed illegal by Hamas and thus never acknowledged by the terror group.

Of course, it’s not surprising that Hamas rejected the authority of Abbas to terminate Haniya from his position as prime minister. As Haniya explained in a speech given in October 2006, Hamas’s power is derived from a much higher source:

We [derive our] legitimacy from the legitimacy of the jihad. We are a government born from the womb of the resistance, from the womb of the martyrs... We are a government that comes out of resistance and jihad, and out of the desire for resistance and jihad against the Zionist occupation.

They have tried to pressure Hamas to abandon resistance and to abandon arms. They tried to pressure Hamas to abandon its strategic choice in Palestine, all of Palestine. They tried to pressure Hamas to recognize the legitimacy of the occupation. But they failed... We say Hamas will not change its constant principles.

The constants and the strategy of Hamas do not change according to circumstances. Hamas will stay faithful to jihad, to resistance, to guns, to Palestine and to Jerusalem.

Throughout his tenure, Haniya has consistently preached this death cult mentality to his enthusiastic followers in Gaza. In 2010, he said on Hamas-controlled Al Aqsa TV:

We are a mujahid nation, a nation that makes sacrifices, a nation of Jihad. Our cries are of Jihad for the sake of Allah. This is a nation of martyrdom and martyrdom-seeking, a nation of Jihad for the sake of Allah.

Moreover, according to Haniya, the dictates of Allah precluded the possibility of Hamas ever deviating from a jihadist course:

The strategic option of Jihad was determined by Allah for this nation.

At no time may Muslims – especially under occupation – negotiate whether there should or shouldn’t be resistance or Jihad. This cannot be discussed by a group of believers, a Muslim people, especially a people under occupation. This is inconceivable. We have no choice in this matter. The strategic option was determined when the first arrow was shot, the first spear cast, and the first bullet fired.

More than just a religious imperative, Haniya preaches that the importance of terrorism as a strategy lies in the fact that it works so well on Jews, who, unlike the Palestinians, “love life more than any other people, and they prefer not to die.”

Americans, too, are the objects of Haniya's murderous hatred. In May 2011, he delivered a heartfelt statement on the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden:

We believe that this continues an American policy that is based on oppression and on the shedding of Arab and Muslim blood. Regardless of the different views in Arab and Islamic circles, we, of course, condemn the assassination or killing of a Muslim mujahid and an Arab. We pray for Allah to cover him with His mercy, next to the prophets, the righteous, and the martyrs.

As recently as December 2011, at a rally marking the 24th anniversary of Hamas’s founding, Haniya issued a call for the formation of an Arab army “to liberate Jerusalem and the Aksa mosque.” Haniya then further stoked the fury of the cheering crowd of 350,000 crazed Palestinians by intoning:

Resistance is the way and it is a strategic choice to liberate Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea and to remove the invaders from the blessed land of Palestine.

We affirm that armed resistance is our strategic option and the only way to liberate our land, from the [Mediterranean] sea to the River [Jordan]. God willing, Hamas will lead the people… to the uprising until we liberate Palestine, all of Palestine.

Haniya’s exhortation came a year to the day after he made similar remarks at a rally in 2010. The statements leave no question that the murderous pursuit of "Palestine" has nothing to do with the occupation of Palestinian territories, but the entire existence of Israel itself:

[T]he occupation has no future on the land of Palestine. When I say "the land of Palestine," I am not referring [only] to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem. When I say that the occupation has no future on the land of Palestine, I refer to Palestine from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River, and from Rosh Honiara to Rafah.

The occupation will not survive on this land. Never!

And while the decades-long campaign to wipe Israel off the map has yet to succeed, rest assured that a younger generation of Palestinians is being methodically groomed to finish the task. As Haniya mused in 2007:

The generation that is fighting the Zionists today and that started the first and second intifadas is a young, highly motivated generation. This is the generation that will free Palestine.

With figures like Haniya leading the way, many more generations of Palestinians will likely be lost.

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