Many of the People Much of the Time
By Cliff May
May 9, 2017
Call for Israel’s Destruction,” headlined The Wall
Street Journal last week. The New York Times told its readers: “Hamas Moderates
Talk on Israel.” And the United Kingdom’s The Guardian concluded that Hamas had
produced a document likely to “ease peace process.”
this is big news — or would be if it were true. But it’s not. Not even
close. What it is instead: more evidence that, when it comes to Islamists, too
many journalists are losing what George Orwell called the “constant
struggle” to see “what is in front of one’s nose.”
understand what’s really going on, start with a few pertinent facts. Hamas,
the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, is recognized as a terrorist
organization by the United States, Britain and the European Union. Following
Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, civil war broke out between Hamas and
its main rival, Fatah, headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
two years, Hamas had
prevailed. It has ruled Gaza ever since, devoting its energies to launching
rockets, digging terrorist tunnels and provoking three wars with Israel.
its 1988 founding charter, Hamas makes
clear that its goal is to wipe Israel off the map. It rejects a “two-state
solution” because, as it interprets Islamic scripture, any land conquered by
Muslims at any time in history is as an endowment from Allah to the Muslims. No
one has the authority to surrender such territory to non-Muslims.
week, at a press conference in Doha, the capital of Qatar, Hamas unveiled
what it called a “Document of General Principles and Policies.” Hamas implicitly
renounced its ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, the organization that launched the
modern Islamist movement 89 years ago. However, it mentioned no ideological
disagreements with the Brotherhood.
why the ostensible break? Hamas leaders
would like increased international acceptance and, in particular, to be viewed
more kindly by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi. Indeed, Egypt, Saudi
Arabia and the United Arab Emirates all regard the Brotherhood as a terrorist
the document, Hamas says
it is willing to accept a provisional Palestinian state within the 1967 lines.
It doesn’t say it’s willing to accept Israel beyond those lines.
for those lines, take a moment to recall how they came into being. Sixty-nine
years ago this month, Israel declared its independence within part of Mandate
Palestine, territory the British had taken from the Turks after World War I. The
largest chunk of that territory had already become what is now known as Jordan.
The U.N. proposed dividing the remainder into two states: one Jewish and one
Arab. The Israelis said they could live with that. The Arabs said they would
The armies of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan invaded and
attempted to destroy the fledgling Jewish state. In 1949, the conflict came to a
halt. The armistice lines held until 1967 when a second attempt was made to push
the Jews into the sea. That effort also failed and the Israelis ended up taking
Gaza from Egypt and the West Bank from Jordan. Ever since, they’ve attempted
to trade land for peace. They have not, obviously, succeeded.
new Hamas document
continues to rule out peaceful coexistence with the “enemy,” also called the
“Zionist project.” It envisions “the full and complete liberation of
Palestine, from the river to the sea,” in other words every inch of Israel.
(Though the notion that Gazans are “liberated” is simply absurd.)
does Hamas disavow
terrorism, which it euphemizes as “resistance,” noting that it considers
“all means and methods” — e.g., suicide bombings, knifing children —
permissible and indeed “guaranteed by divine laws, customs and international
the weekend, Hamas made
news a second time when it named Ismail Haniya to its senior leadership
position. If he follows the example of his predecessor, Khaled Meshal, he will
now move from Gaza to Qatar, where he will rule from the relative safety of an
elegant Doha hotel suite.
Gaza, the most powerful figure will be Yahya Sinwar, leader of Hamas‘
military wing, often described by journalists as a hard-liner. (Do those
journalists really expect us to believe that there are jihadi terrorist
may be wondering: What is Qatar’s angle? An oil-and-gas-rich ministate on the
northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, Qatar is ruled by a 36-year-old
hereditary emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. He is extraordinarily adept at
playing both ends against the middle.
provides Hamas not
just with a capital-in-exile but also with much of its funding. He supports
other Muslim Brotherhood organizations throughout the region. Financiers of al
Qaeda, the Taliban and other terrorist groups operate openly in Qatar.
the same time, the emir transmits Qatari perspectives — a less polite term
would be Islamist propaganda — around the world through al Jazeera, the
state-funded international television network.
Qatar has another face. It hosts the largest American military base in the
Middle East. It contributes millions of dollars to several Washington think
tanks. And it lavishly subsidizes satellite campuses for American universities.
Among them: Georgetown, Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern, Texas A&M
and Virginia Commonwealth.
campuses are located in “Education City,” where the main mosque regularly
features Islamist clerics. For example: Mudassir Ahmed who from the pulpit last
year said: “Kill the infidels. … Count them in number and do not spare
one!” Another preacher called for Allah to “render victorious our brothers
the mujahedeen … in every place” and to “guide their shooting.”
do the administrators of the American colleges say about this? Not a word. When
it comes to Islamists, too many academics long ago gave up the struggle to see
what’s in front of their noses.