The Hamas Charter: Vision, fact and fiction
© Dr. Ahmed Yousef
Source: Ma’an News Agency
January 24, 2011 11:53
The Israeli occupation has never missed an opportunity to brand Hamas a fundamentalist, terrorist, racist, anti-Semitic organization. True to the Mossad motto which states “By way of deception, thou shall do war,” it has excelled at taking select articles from the Islamic party’s charter and using them, out of context, to justify its claims.
The Israelis have, for example, translated the charter to several languages, English and French included, intentionally perverting the substance of its tenets to suit their purposes. Those aims were to market its fraudulent translation to as many Western politicians, academics and media channels as possible; and therefore make it easier to claim security concerns as the basis for their legal infractions.
The fear-mongering is designed to horrify the West so much that it turns a blind eye to the crimes against humanity which contravene international law.
Throughout my tenure as an adviser to Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in the tenth and eleventh administrations (the unity government), and even after the events of June 2007 when I was assigned as a deputy minister to the Foreign Ministry, journalists and politicians consistently asked the same questions around the charter and the extent to which the government was beholden to it or intent on applying the articles within it.
Despite my consistent clarification that Hamas must be evaluated on its official actions and political positions, it is evident that the Israeli propaganda machine has over a two year period successfully brainwashed those it has targeted. Many observers have become incapable of making an impartial assessment of the significant transformations the movement has undergone; and instead have parroted the Israeli position, adopting the obstinacy of what a local colloquialism notes “is a goat, even if it has wings.”
The reality and the tale
The Islamic Resistance Movement, known by its Arabic acronym Hamas, was born in December 1987 with the first Intifada, or Uprising. Initially, the group mounted demonstrations against Israeli belligerence; and in order to maintain the momentum of the newly created protest culture, the group’s leadership needed a platform to crystallize its views and give the “resistance generation” broad strokes direction on the principles and challenges within which they would operate against the occupation. Those early, revolutionary days represent the context within which the concept of a charter was formed.
That document was a practical response to an oppressive occupation. It reflected the views of one of the movement’s elder leaders; and it was ratified during the unique circumstances of the Uprising in 1988 as a necessary framework for dealing with a relentless occupation. There was little opportunity, at that time, to pore over the minutia of either its religious and political terminology or the broader perspective of international law.
An internal committee reviewed the possibility of amending the charter during the nineties and ratifying it as a binding manifesto; yet the primary concern, that of being seen as following the Fatah route of offering up concessions on a silver platter, led the group’s leadership to shelve such measures.
Instead, new ideas were proposed that reflected the movement’s openness to the international community and its willingness to adopt a more realistic political view. This flexibility was evident in official speeches; and more recently in the election platform put forward by the Change & Reform Party (al-taghyeer wal islah).
Despite the group’s evolution, it is an inescapable fact that the charter represents a milestone in the struggle against an occupation. At any rate, historical statements remain a testament to the past; and the charter, as a document written over two decades ago, retains its authoritative value.
However, it is not a constitution drafted as law; and cannot be construed to demand literal interpretation. In fact, the movement has to a certain degree moved on from its content simply by participating in the political process, accepting a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders and publicly declaring a readiness to explore political solutions with the international community.
The claim of an intransigent organization simply does not tally with the reality of a group opening up to its regional environment; and one which participated in a national parliament borne of the Oslo Accords, having won a majority vote through participatory elections in 2006.
The vision and the policy
Logic dictates Hamas has demonstrated the flexibility to deal with changing realities while remaining true to its principles; and it as shown an openness to be actively engaged when appropriate. Regardless of the past, our position is crystallized as follows:
1. Historic rights remain inalienable, preserved by each generation; and the resolve shall continue until those rights are restored. The issue is bound only by capacity and the regional balance of power. Our people have never repudiated the fact that Jews and Christians are an integral part of the Palestinian people and its land – the land of all prophets. Yet we reject a situation where one encroaches on the possessions and holy sites of another, supported by external powers and claims of divine promise. This is not only a Hamas refutation; but that of the entire Palestinian population.
2. There is a stark difference between acquiescing to pressure then accepting conditions, hoping for better circumstances for your people, and gaining your rights in a manner that preserves your integrity and protects the sanctity of your lands and holy sites. Attempts to put Hamas on the Fatah path (coaxing then gain successive compromise) would place it in the former camp, which is untenable. The movement’s decision-making process is based on a consultative apparatus, one that is designed to protect the inviolability of the Palestinian cause and the historical rights of its people; and hence we can only consider solutions that reflect the people’s will.
3. Our current conflict with the occupation is a political one. Yet virtually all liberation movements rely on the language of religion to inspire their peoples, given that such discourse offers the greatest clarity and motive to make sacrifices for liberty. For our part, we do not shy away from shedding light on the historical milestones that underscore our struggle against the fundamentalism inherent in Zionism. We do so in a way that will undermine the dream of Eretz Israel; and place us firmly on a path to a just peace.
4. Hamas is a national liberation movement with an Islamic identity; and it recognizes that the conflict sometimes takes on religious form in ways that cannot be ignored. Palestine is a trust that cannot be discharged; and there are rights that have been usurped that must be restored, peacefully or through war. There are no political parties that can simply cede these rights without reverting to a national referendum which would collectively decide on the right course to preserve the greater good of the Palestinian people.
5. The cornerstone of this issue is that Palestinian rights will not dissipate as a result of stonewalling. Whether or not the conflict has a religious dimension, the people’s rights must be restituted either through peaceful settlement or through open conflict for generations to come, awaiting a change in the balance of power that will allow a final, equitable solution to emerge.
6 .Hamas’ view is that this conflict is multi-dimensional: religious, political, legal, ethical and security-related. Yet at its core is the matter of rights that have been abrogated. These must be restored; and the international community has attested to this imperative through numerous declarations, including United Nations Resolution 194 which recognizes the right of Palestinian refugees to return and be compensated for their losses.
7. For our part, we acknowledge that these are sacred lands which were the cradle of three monotheistic messages – Jewish, Christian and Muslim. The followers of these faiths have been on this land for centuries; and therefore their presence on this land, in general, has never, and will not, end.
8. The Palestinian people have never harbored ill will towards the Jewish presence on this land, only for the Zionist aberration that seeks to expropriate it, dominate it, cast out indigenous “gentiles”, and invite mass immigration from across the globe through formal Aliyah (Jewish immigration) programs.
9. The prospect of coexistence among the original inhabitants of this land is possible after those who have been wronged receive restitution. Yet any submission to the status quo, negating the harm that has been done over the past 60 years, is unacceptable under any circumstance.
These, then, are the general principles upon which the Islamists of Palestine operate, regardless of the comments some may have over a charter written at a specific, tumultuous point almost a quarter of a century ago; and when the language of conflict from all parties was open to a wide array of political and religious phraseology.
The pragmatism of Hamas’ current position is self-evident when evaluated without the partiality of propaganda. It is up to the Israelis and the international community to recognize it as such or doom the holy land to further strife until the next generation come of age.
Dr. Ahmed Yousef is the former Senior Political Advisor to Ismail Haniyeh, Gaza Prime Minister.
The following article is reprinted with permission from Ma’an News Agency, Bethlehem.
Hamas: P.A. colluding with U.S. Blackwater
© Ma’an News Agency
January 13, 2011
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Following an agreement that would give private U.S. security group Blackwater access to the West Bank, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the move meant Palestinians were “under double attack.”
Chief of the P.A. security forces in the West Bank Adnan Dmeiri, who confirmed the arrival of the security personnel, said the agents would only be fulfilling their mandate to protect U.S. officials when they are in the West Bank and institutions in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
“They will not reside in Palestinian areas,” Dmeiri said, dismissing the concern.
Hamas’ Barhoum, however, accused the P.A. of coordinating with U.S. intelligence, and called the move a reflection of the “multinational authority” ruling the West Bank, which aims to “oppress the freedom of the Palestinians, their sovereignty on their land enable the Israeli occupation to apply its agenda of rubbing out all those defending the Palestinian cause.”
The arrival of Blackwater security personnel to Palestine “represents the largest danger to the lives and sovereignty of Palestinians,” Barhoum said, adding that he believed it “confirmed the existence of U.S.-Israel security cooperation,” and would add to the “violations of freedoms and human rights already carried out in the West Bank.”
The Hamas spokesman called on the “Fatah Authority” to fall in line with the desires of Palestinians, to “resist the occupation,” and demanded that the P.A. refocus on the “national project.”
The following comment is from Al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic resistance movement Hamas.
Facebook bans Al Qassam English homepage
Source: Al Qassam Brigades
December 4, 2010 15:08
Al Qassam website-Gaza –- Social network service “Facebook” has disabled the official homepage of Al Qassam Brigades – Hamas military wing on Facebook website.
At the time that Zionist websites spread its hateful propaganda against the Palestinian people openly on its social network service, Facebook administration bans a lot of Palestinian and pro-Palestinian websites from spreading news or information related to exposing the violations by Zionist occupation against the Palestinians in Gaza and West Bank.
Al Qassam Facebook home page disappeared three days after it was posted on the official website (http://www.qassam.ps/index.html), however, the website did not harm the rules of the social networking while spreading its news, articles, statements and videos.
By its reckless and deliberate step, Facebook administration proves that it is a real cheap tool biased for the Zionist occupation in Palestine.
For our important role, we at the Al Qassam Brigades condemn strongly the reckless decision made by the Facebook administration on banning our official English website from establishing on the social network service Facebook and do call on all free people who believes in justice and freedom of expression, especially journalists from everywhere to express their displeasure with Facebook’s foolhardy move regarding the continued ban on the official English homepage of the Al Qassam Brigades Website on the social network service “Facebook”!
The following article is reprinted with permission from Ma’an News Agency, Bethlehem.
Hamas intelligence chief detained at Cairo airport
© Ma’an News Agency
September 19, 2010 14:09
CAIRO, Egypt (Ma’an) — Egypt detained a top Hamas security official at the Cairo International Airport, an Egyptian security source said Sunday.
The official was identified as the Hamas government’s General Security Service Commander Muhammad Dabaeesh, also known as Abu Radwan.
The source said the detention was made in connection to a thwarted attempt to smuggle millions of dollars worth of wireless devices into Gaza through the border-tunnel complex.
Hamas officials warned that the detention would spark “degradation and tension” in Egypt-Hamas relations, already strained for several months.
In May, the Islamist movement denied reports that Egypt had frozen all contact with Hamas but said relations between Gaza and Cairo were tense following an escalation in security measures by Egyptian forces along the Gaza border.
Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades: Military Communiqué regarding the Israeli assassination of Iyad Shelbaieh
The following media release is issued by the Information Office of Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed branch of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas).
Zionist occupation forces assassinate Mujahed Iyad Shelbaieh
Source: Information Office, Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades
September 17, 2010
As Al Aqsa Intifada against the occupation assault on the Gaza Strip continues, Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades has its best men to be in the playground of death to defend their people from any attack by the enemy. Today, Al-Qassam Brigades mourn the death of the Mujahed:
Iyad Asad Shelbaieh [38 years old]
Nour Shams camp – Tulkarem city
Who was martyred on Friday, 17/9/2010, after the Zionist occupation forces assassinated him in cold blood when the soldiers opened fire from close range after storming his house; the martyr is one of the first mujahedeen who led the Jihad work in Al Aqsa Intifada. He was detained by the occupation forces several times, and by Abbas authority more than 10 times in which he was tortured, and he was released from the Fattah prisons two days before martyrdom in a clear indication to the complicity of these militias with the occupation in the assassination of the commander.
Al-Qassam Brigades confirms the following:
First: Congratulations to our people the martyrdom of the leader Iyad Shelbaieh who sacrificed his whole life for jihad.
Second: We hold the Zionist occupation full responsibility for this heinous crime, and it bears all the consequences.
Third: The assassination reveals the ugly face of Fattah authority and its complicity with the occupation.
Fourth: The blood of the martyr will be curse on the occupation and traitors, and it will not go in vain, God willing, but will remain the fuel of the path of Jihad and resistance.
Ezzeddeen Al-Qassam Brigades
September 17th, 2010
IntelTrends republishes selected resistance statements so that readers can access different perspectives on current affairs, political and military issues.
The following commentary is reprinted with permission from Pravda, Moscow.
Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad To Stand Up Against Israel?
By Ivan Tulyakov
August 10, 2010
The recent events showed that the incident on the border between Israel and Lebanon, which took place in the beginning of last week, was not just a set of tragic circumstances. Someone in the Middle East wants the armed conflict between the two countries to repeat again.
The UN Security Council and other international mediators urged Israel and Lebanon to take efforts not to let the events of the year 2006 repeat again, when Israel invaded Lebanon to destroy Hezbollah gunmen. However, it seems that politicians from Damascus and Teheran are not willing to look for a compromise about the incident.
Israeli Lieutenant Colonel Dov Harari was killed on April 3 as a result of an armed attack from Lebanon. Israel responded, having killed two soldiers of the Lebanese army and a newspaper journalist.
The Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri condemned Israel’s aggression having stated that Israel had infringed upon Lebanon’s sovereignty. The second power in the country represented by Hezbollah leader sheikh Hassan Nasrallah was much more emotional in its statement about the border incident. The official said that Hezbollah would cut out Israel’s arm, if it dared to attack the Lebanese army. The Hezbollah leader obviously had serious reasons for such bellicose remarks.
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) may lay the responsibility for the death of the former prime minister of Lebanon Rafic Hariri on Hezbollah. If it happens, the reputation of the movement will be damaged considerably. That is why the administration of this organization, which has become a state within a state in Lebanon, demanded the tribunal be dissolved. The movement even threatened to organize a coup in the country.
The threats from Hezbollah became a reason for a special meeting in Beirut between the King of Saudi Arabia Abdullah and Syrian President Bashar Assad. The Saudi king asked the Syrian president to restrain Hezbollah. However, Assad told the king that he would not tolerate Hezbollah’s accusation of Rafic Hariri’s assassination.
In the meantime, some countries in the Middle East have already announced their readiness to support radical political groups in Lebanon and in the Palestinian Authority in their efforts to repulse the possible aggression from Israel.
Ali Akbar Velayati, the advisor to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has been very active during the recent several days. The official had a meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad to discuss the state of affairs in Lebanon and in the Palestinian Authority. Syria and Iran set out their support to the forces of the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance, which, as the two sides believe, make the only real force that can stand up against Israel.
It is worthy of note that the Lebanese army did not participate much in the military actions against the Israeli military men during the 34-day war in 2006. Hezbollah, which started that war, proved that it had the support of the population and possessed well-developed military infrastructure.
Ali Akbar Velayati earlier visited Beirut, where he met Lebanese President Michel Suleiman and the head of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah.
In Damascus, Velayati conducted negotiations with the head of the political bureau of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), Khaled Meshaal. The officials discussed the situation in Palestine, as well as the subject of the Palestinian national reconciliation, news agencies reported. Mashaal said after the meeting at a news conference that he and the Iranian official exchanged opinions about the state of affairs in the Middle East and in Palestine. The sides also discussed the “threat from Israel and the USA.” The radical Palestinian official said that Hamas was capable of dealing with the above-mentioned challenges.
Velayati also had a meeting with the general secretary of Palestine’s Islamic Jihad, Ramadan Abdallah Shalah. The sides discussed the issues of direct talks between Palestine and Israel, as well as the recent border incident.
All those meetings testify to the fact that the situation in the Middle East is becoming a matter of a large geopolitical game. Syria and Iran will try to retrieve its dominating positions in the Arab world targeting irreconcilable contradictions between radical and loyal political forces and provoking another war between Israel and Lebanon, in which Hamas will be ready to open a second front in the Gaza Strip.
Will the weak coalition government of Lebanon and Saudi Arabia be able to restrain Hezbollah? The situation will mostly depend on the Israeli military men, who seem to be eager to start another war too.
The following article is from Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
’10 agents including 3 women, took part in Dubai Hamas assassination’
By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent
February 11, 2010
Ten agents, including three women, participated in the assassination of senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in January, according to Intelligence Online, a Paris-based journal dedicated to tracking intelligence activity worldwide.
The journal published what it termed “new details” about the operation, which has been widely attributed to Israel’s Mossad intelligence service. It said that one of the female agents dressed herself in the uniform of a reception clerk at Al Bustan Rotana, the hotel where Mabhouh was staying, and then knocked on his door.
When he opened it her fellow operatives rushed him and stunned him with an electric device, the journal said, then they injected poison into his veins, in order to disguise the cause of death.
All 10 agents carried European passports, the journal said.
Previous reports spoke of seven agents, all carrying Irish passports.
The journal added that Dubai’s secret service had requested assistance in the investigation from its counterparts in Egypt and Jordan and from Interpol. Yet it seems unlikely that Egypt or Jordan could provide much help as both are hostile to Hamas. Indeed, both country’s secret services are engaged in their own war against Hamas operatives.
The journal said that Dubai’s government had ordered that Hamas itself be kept out of the probe, but Hamas is conducting its own investigation headed by the organization’s number two, Moussa Abu Marzook, with help from Iran and Syria.
According to the journal, Mabhouh arrived in the United Arab Emirates on January 19 on a flight from Damascus and checked into room 130 of Al Bustan Rotana.
A little while later he attended a meeting at the Iranian consulate in downtown Dubai. Shortly after his return, at about 9 P.M., an unidentified blond woman knocked at his door and he opened it. His body was found the next day by hotel employees, after his wife had tried to call him several times but received no answer, which aroused her suspicions.