Tag Archives: Hamas


by Herbert London

A new political document should shatter any remaining illusions.

Illusions in the Middle East die hard. However, with the publication of Hamas’ new political document, there shouldn’t be any doubt about the motives of this Muslim Brotherhood organization. The western press continues to assert that Hamas is “moderating” its views, but the document itself offers a different picture.

The main points of the new political document are:

  1. Reliance on Islam as the sole source of authority;
  2. Denial of the Jewish right to self-determination in the Land of Israel;
  3. Conferral of a sacred Islamic character on all of Palestine;
  4. An armed struggle to liberate Palestine is legitimate and must continue.

In the last year, Hamas has altered the wording in many of its public statements to seem accommodating. Presumably naiveté in the West has given it leverage at the U.N. and as a legitimate political actor on the world stage. In fact, the modification in language is an exercise in “taqiyyah” (deception in the cause of Allah). Impression, not substance, is what counts for Hamas officials.

The real goal is to gain control of the PLO, thereby securing legitimate rule over all the Palestinian territories and using that influence on international bodies. To subvert Israel’s power, Hamas deploys diplomatic and propaganda techniques. Hence it is often difficult to distinguish between lies, fabrications and exaggerated claims coming from the leadership.

With the publication of the new political document, Hamas is hoist by its own petard. There is no question it will not recognize the Jewish state. Moreover, any claim about Israel that relies on historical antecedents is deemed inaccurate. For Hamas, Israel is an historic blindspot. Fortunately, there are those in the Trump White House who understand the futility of the Hamas stance.

Should one engage in a serious investigation of Hamas, it will become obvious that the goals have remained unaltered, the purpose of the organization intact and tactics unchanged. There is a good reason to suspect that will be the case decades ahead, for if Hamas had modified its position it could not attract volunteers to its cause.

Netanyahu slammed Hamas as the metamorphosis of an ideology that emerged in 1928. He claims that it does little more than proselytize for radical ideas. Whether Netanyahu is right, is less relevant than how Hamas describes itself. Here the Netanyahu claims and the Hamas document converge. If the land of Palestine is consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgment Day, every individual sharing the faith has an obligation – as part of his religious duty – to fight for this territory free of Jews. A good Muslim is he who loudly proclaims, “Hail to Jihad!” and struggles continuously for the achievement of liberation.

As is evident, there cannot be a negotiated settlement in the Middle East unless you are considering an Israel engaged in preemptive surrender. In the mind of Hamas, a peace treaty similar to the one negotiated between Israel and Egypt would be a form of high treason. Hamas regards itself as the spearhead in the struggle against world Zionism and will not concede an inch of this designation.

So let’s get over the pollyannish view peace can be negotiated. It will not be negotiated as long as one side at the negotiating table wants to kill those across from them. That is the reality, however difficult it is to accept.

Herbert London in President of the London Center for Policy Research.

Hamas commander executed for gay sex

A Hamas commander who was executed in February was tortured and then killed after at least one terrorist under his command admitted to having sex with him.

Hamas sources gave few details of the reasons behind the execution at the time, with some saying the Al Qassam Brigades commander was accused of spying for Israel, while an official statement from the Brigades’ military and Islamic judicial committee said only that he was killed for “violating rules and ethics.”

According to a New York Times investigation Mahmoud Ishtiwi – who hailed from a prominent pro-Hamas family and was responsible was for a range of operations, including overseeing weapons smuggling through Hamas’s tunnel network – was initially called in for questioning by Hamas over suspicions he had siphoned off money meant for buying weapons.

When Ishtiwi surprised interrogators by immediately confessing to that crime, they suspected he was attempting to cover up something bigger, and took him in for further interrogation. Relatives and other sources say he was tortured extensively during that period, including beatings, whippings, being suspended by his hands from the ceiling for hours on end, sleep deprivation and more.

So bad were his conditions that family members protested outside the home of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, in a rare show of dissent in authoritarian-ruled Gaza. Demonstrators were beaten by Hamas police and dispersed.

According to the report – details of which were confirmed by a Hamas official close to the investigation itself – the investigation was eventually expanded to include terrorists under Ishtiwi’s command.

When one of them confessed to having had sex with his commander, investigators concluded that at least some of the money was used either as payment for the “favor”, or in order to keep him quiet. Apart from breaching Hamas’s Islamic “moral” code, the revelations had major security implications: if Israeli intelligence had found out about the potentially embarrassing incident involving such a prominent Hamas figure, they could have used it as leverage to force him to help them.

Specifically, Hamas officials suspected Ishtiwi may have helped the IDF locate elusive Al-Qassam chief Mohammed Deif during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. Deif was reportedly injured in an Israeli airstrike, which killed his wife, but escaped alive.

Ishtiwi eventually confessed to all the charges against him – but relatives who saw him in the days before his execution say he appeared “destroyed”, and had secretly written the word “wronged” on his hand and leg, indicating that his confessions had been made under duress.

Shortly before he was killed, his sister said he told her he had never committed any of the acts he was accused of.

As a last resort, his mother sent a video message to Mohammed Deif himsef – who the family had sheltered on numerous occasions – begging for clemency.

Her pleas were ignored, and Ishtiwi was executed on February 7.

#WTF: Russia says Hezbollah, Hamas not terror groups

Moscow does not view Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told the Interfax news agency Sunday.

The comment came as the Kremlin sought to secure international consensus on which forces in the Syrian civil war ought to be branded terror groups as part of political negotiations aimed at ending the nearly five-year-long conflict.

“Some say Hezbollah is a terrorist organization,” Bogdanov was quoted as saying. “We maintain contacts and relations with them because we do not consider them a terrorist organization.”

The Russian official noted that members of the Shiite group’s political wing were legally elected to Lebanese Parliament, and that the organization had never carried out attacks on Russian soil. He added that the group was a “legitimate sociopolitical” force.

Bogdanov also said Russia does not consider Gaza-based Hamas of the Kurdish Democratic Unity Party as terrorist groups.

Hezbollah fighters carry the coffins of comrades who were killed in battles in Syria during their funeral on September 21, 2015 in the town of Baalbek in eastern Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. (AFP/STR)

Hezbollah fighters carry the coffins of comrades who were killed in battles in Syria during their funeral on September 21, 2015 in the town of Baalbek in eastern Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. (AFP/STR)

Syria’s civil war has spilled over into Lebanon on multiple occasions, inflaming sectarian tensions between the country’s Sunnis and Shiites and leaving scores dead. Iran-backed Hezbollah offers military support for Syrian President Bashar Assad and has sent thousands of troops to aid in the battle against rebel forces in the country.

Both Hezbollah and Hamas have called for the destruction of the Jewish state, fought in multiple wars against Israel, and launched deadly terror attacks on civilian targets.

Earlier Sunday, US President Barack Obama and his counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed on the need for UN-sponsored peace talks and a ceasefire to resolve years of war in Syria, a White House official said.

“President Obama and President Putin agreed on the need for a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition, which would be proceeded by UN-mediated negotiations between the Syrian opposition and regime as well as a ceasefire,” the official told reporters after the leaders met on the sidelines of a G20 summit taking place in the Turkish resort of Antalya.

The huddle comes as the US, Russia and other countries pursue a new diplomatic plan to try to end Syria’s civil war, and was the first meeting of the two world leaders since Russia recently launched its own air campaign in Syria.

On Saturday, top diplomats gathered in Vienna agreed on a fixed calendar for Syria that would see a transition government in six months and elections in 18 months, but failed to agree on the future of embattled President Assad.