There is substantial commentary on the Internet and in mainstream media that is expressing cautious optimism about Hamas' victory in Palestine. The essence of these sentiments is that Hamas in power will not be the same as Hamas in opposition. I hope they are right.
Before expressing optimism about what might be, let's look at what is. As the New York Times
rightly suggests this weekend
, the Hamas party platform, articulated in the 1988 Hamas Charter, provides a useful prism to understand the mentality of Hamas (a.k.a. The Islamic Resistance Movement). Just read the Hamas Charter
and it will leave you utterly depressed about the prospects for Middle East peace.
Here are some of the lowpoints:
- Hamas is an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood (Art. 2);
- Hamas' goal is Jihad and the death of Jews (Art. 7);
- Jihad is the path of Hamas, and death for Allah its most sublime belief (Art. 8);
- The land of Palestine is an Islamic inheritance (Art. 11);
- All Muslims are duty-bound to commit Jihad against Israel (Art. 12);
- Peace is not an option (Art. 13);
- Muslims everywhere are duty-bound to liberate Palestine (Art. 14);
- Muslims must study the enemy, looking for weak spots (Art. 16);
- Western culture is a Zionist plot to distance women from Islam (Art. 17)
- Women must train their children to become Jihad fighters (Art. 18);
- Enemies rule the world through intermediaries such as the United Nations (Art. 22);
- The PLO is too secular (Art. 27);
- All Arab states must support Jihad (Art. 28);
- All Muslim leaders must support Jihad (Art. 30);
- Hamas cares about human rights and religious toleration, provided all other religions live in the shadow of Islam (Art. 31);
- Peace accords are treacherous schemes of Zionists (Art. 32);
- Jihad will not end until liberation is complete (Art. 33); and
- Palestine is the navel of the earth and Jihad is our answer to the Christian Crusades (Art. 34).
Excerpts of these articles
are below:Art. 2 The Link Between Hamas and the Association of Muslim Brothers
The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine. The Muslim Brotherhood Movement is a world organization, the largest Islamic Movement in the modern era. It is characterized by a profound understanding, by precise notions and by a complete comprehensiveness of all concepts of Islam in all domains of life: views and beliefs, politics and economics, education and society, jurisprudence and rule, indoctrination and teaching, the arts and publications, the hidden and the evident, and all the other domains of life.Art. 7. The Universality of Hamas
Hamas is one of the links in the Chain of Jihad in the confrontation with the Zionist invasion.... But even if the links have become distant from each other, and even if the obstacles erected by those who revolve in the Zionist orbit, aiming at obstructing the road before the Jihad fighters, have rendered the pursuance of Jihad impossible; nevertheless, the Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah's promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: "The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!"Art. 8. The Slogan of the Hamas
Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Qur'an its Constitution, Jihad its path and death for the case of Allah its most sublime belief.Art. 11. ... Palestine is an Islamic Waqf
The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf [inheritance] throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it....Art. 12. Hamas in Palestine: Its View on Homeland and Nationalism
Hamas regards Nationalism ... as part and parcel of the religious faith. Nothing is loftier or deeper in Nationalism than waging Jihad against the enemy and confronting him when he sets foot on the land of the Muslims. And this becomes an individual duty binding on every Muslim man and woman; a woman must go out and fight the enemy even without her husband's authorization, and a slave without his masters' permission. This [principle] does not exist under any other regime, and it is a truth not to be questioned....Art. 13. Peaceful Solutions...
[Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement. For renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion... From time to time a clamoring is voiced, to hold an International Conference in search for a solution to the problem.... Those conferences are no more than a means to appoint the nonbelievers as arbitrators in the lands of Islam. Since when did the Unbelievers do justice to the Believers?... There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad....Art. 14. The Three Circles
...Palestine is an Islamic land where the First Qibla and the third holiest site are located. That is also the place whence the Prophet ... ascended to heavens... In consequence of this state of affairs, the liberation of that land is an individual duty binding on all Muslims everywhere.Art. 16. ... Jihad for ... Palestine is an Individual Obligation [cont'd]
... It is ... necessary to study conscientiously the enemy and its material and human potential; to detect its weak and strong spots, and to recognize the powers that support it and stand by it. ...Art. 17. The Role of Muslim Women
... The enemies ... realize that if they can guide and educate [the Muslim women] in a way that would distance them from Islam, they would have won that war. Therefore, you can see them making consistent efforts [in that direction] by way of publicity and movies, curricula of education and culture, using as their intermediaries their craftsmen who are part of the various Zionist Organizations which take on all sorts of names and shapes such as: the Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, gangs of spies and the like. All of them are nests of saboteurs and sabotage. Those Zionist organizations control vast material resources, which enable them to fulfill their mission amidst societies, with a view of implementing Zionist goals and sowing the concepts that can be of use to the enemy. Those organizations operate [in a situation] where Islam is absent from the arena and alienated from its people. Thus, the Muslims must fulfill their duty in confronting the schemes of those saboteurs. When Islam will retake possession of [the means to] guide the life [of the Muslims], it will wipe out those organizations which are the enemy of humanity and Islam.Art. 18. The Role of Muslim Women [cont'd]
The women in the house and the family of Jihad fighters, whether they are mothers or sisters, carry out the most important duty of caring for the home and raising the children upon the moral concepts and values which derive from Islam; and of educating their sons to observe the religious injunctions in preparation for the duty of Jihad awaiting them.Art. 22. The Powers Which Support the Enemy
The enemies have been scheming for a long time, and they have consolidated their schemes, in order to achieve what they have achieved. They took advantage of key elements in unfolding events, and accumulated a huge and influential material wealth which they put to the service of implementing their dream.... They collected material gains and took control of many sources of wealth. They obtained the Balfour Declaration and established the League of Nations in order to rule the world by means of that organization.... They inspired the establishment of the United Nations and the Security Council to replace the League of Nations, in order to rule the world by their intermediary.Art. 27. The Palestinian Liberation Organization
... [T]he PLO has adopted the idea of a Secular State, and so we think of it. Secular thought is diametrically opposed to religious thought. Thought is the basis for positions, for modes of conduct and for resolutions. Therefore, in spite of our appreciation for the PLO ... we cannot substitute it for the Islamic nature of Palestine by adopting secular thought.... When the PLO adopts Islam as the guideline for life, then we shall become its soldiers, the fuel of its fire which will burn the enemies....Art. 28. The Palestinian Liberation Organization [cont'd]
... The Arab states surrounding Israel are required to open their borders to the Jihad fighters, the sons of the Arab and Islamic peoples, to enable them to play their role and to join their efforts to those of their brothers among the Muslim Brothers in Palestine. The other Arab and Islamic states are required, at the very least, to facilitate the movement of the Jihad fighters from and to them....Art. 30. National and Religious Associations...
Men of letters, members of the intelligentsia, media people, preachers, teachers and educators and all different sectors in the Arab and Islamic world, are all called upon to play their role and to carry out their duty in view of the wickedness of the Zionist invasion... Jihad means not only carrying arms and denigrating the enemies. Uttering positive words, writing good articles and useful books, and lending support and assistance, all that too is JihadArt. 31. The Members of Other Religions...
Hamas is a humane movement, which cares for human rights and is committed to the tolerance inherent in Islam as regards attitudes towards other religions. It is only hostile to those who are hostile towards it, or stand in its way in order to disturb its moves or to frustrate its efforts. Under the shadow of Islam it is possible for the members of the three religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism to coexist in safety and security. Safety and security can only prevail under the shadow of Islam...Art. 32. The Attempts to Isolate the Palestinian People
World Zionism and Imperialist forces have been attempting, with smart moves and considered planning, to push the Arab countries, one after another, out of the circle of conflict with Zionism, in order, ultimately, to isolate the Palestinian People. Egypt has already been cast out of the conflict, to a very great extent through the treacherous Camp David Accords, and she has been trying to drag other countries into similar agreements in order to push them out of the circle of conflict. Hamas is calling upon the Arab and Islamic peoples to act seriously and tirelessly in order to frustrate that dreadful scheme and to make the masses aware of the danger of coping out of the circle of struggle with Zionism. Today it is Palestine and tomorrow it may be another country or other countries. For Zionist scheming has no end, and after Palestine they will covet expansion from the Nile to the Euphrates. Only when they have completed digesting the area on which they will have laid their hand, they will look forward to more expansion, etc. Their scheme has been laid out in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion...Art. 33. The Attempts to Isolate the Palestinian People [cont'd]
... [I]n accordance with Allah's will, its supporters and partisans who extend assistance to it and provide it with reinforcement after reinforcement, until the Decree of Allah is fulfilled, the ranks are over-swollen, Jihad fighters join other Jihad fighters, and all this accumulation sets out from everywhere in the Islamic world, obeying the call of duty, and intoning "Come on, join Jihad!" This call will tear apart the clouds in the skies and it will continue to ring until liberation is completed, the invaders are vanquished and Allah's victory sets in.Art. 34. Confronting Aggressors Throughout History
Palestine is the navel of earth, the convergence of continents, the object of greed for the greedy, since the dawn of history.... Multitudes of Crusades descended on it, carrying their faith with them and waving their Cross.... This is the only way to liberation, there is no doubt in the testimony of history. That is one of the rules of the universe and one of the laws of existence. Only iron can blunt iron, only the true faith of Islam can vanquish their false and falsified faith.