Two Views on Hamas

Here are two views on Hamas and its Struggle printed by the Washington Post today. One by Hamas' Foreign Minister and the other by the editorial writers of the Post

Mahmoud al-ZaharNo Peace Without Hamas
By Mahmoud al-Zahar
Thursday, April 17, 2008; A23

GAZA — President Jimmy Carter's sensible plan to visit the Hamas leadership this week brings honesty and pragmatism to the Middle East while underscoring the fact that American policy has reached its dead end. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acts as if a few alterations here and there would make the hideous straitjacket of apartheid fit better. While Rice persuades Israeli occupation forces to cut a few dozen meaningless roadblocks from among the more than 500 West Bank control points, these forces simultaneously choke off fuel supplies to Gaza; blockade its 1.5 million people; approve illegal housing projects on West Bank land; and attack Gaza City with F-16s, killing men, women and children. Sadly, this is "business as usual" for the Palestinians.

Last week's attack on the Nahal Oz fuel depot should not surprise critics in the West. Palestinians are fighting a total war waged on us by a nation that mobilizes against our people with every means at its disposal — from its high-tech military to its economic stranglehold, from its falsified history to its judiciary that "legalizes" the infrastructure of apartheid. Resistance remains our only option. Sixty-five years ago, the courageous Jews of the Warsaw ghetto rose in defense of their people. We Gazans, living in the world's largest open-air prison, can do no less.

The U.S.-Israeli alliance has sought to negate the results of the January 2006 elections, when the Palestinian people handed our party a mandate to rule. Hundreds of independent monitors, Carter among them, declared this the fairest election ever held in the Arab Middle East. Yet efforts to subvert our democratic experience include the American coup d'etat that created the new sectarian paradigm with Fatah and the continuing warfare against and enforced isolation of Gazans.

Now, finally, we have the welcome tonic of Carter saying what any independent, uncorrupted thinker should conclude: that no "peace plan," "road map" or "legacy" can succeed unless we are sitting at the negotiating table and without any preconditions.

Israel's escalation of violence since the staged Annapolis "peace conference" in November has been consistent with its policy of illegal, often deadly collective punishment — in violation of international conventions. Israeli military strikes on Gaza have killed hundreds of Palestinians since then with unwavering White House approval; in 2007 alone the ratio of Palestinians to Israelis killed was 40 to 1, up from 4 to 1 during the period from 2000 to 2005.

Only three months ago I buried my son Hussam, who studied finance at college and wanted to be an accountant; he was killed by an Israeli airstrike. In 2003, I buried Khaled — my first-born — after an Israeli F-16 targeting me wounded my daughter and my wife and flattened the apartment building where we lived, injuring and killing many of our neighbors. Last year, my son-in-law was killed.

Hussam was only 21, but like most young men in Gaza he had grown up fast out of necessity. When I was his age, I wanted to be a surgeon; in the 1960s, we were already refugees, but there was no humiliating blockade then. But now, after decades of imprisonment, killing, statelessness and impoverishment, we ask: What peace can there be if there is no dignity first? And where does dignity come from if not from justice?

Our movement fights on because we cannot allow the foundational crime at the core of the Jewish state — the violent expulsion from our lands and villages that made us refugees — to slip out of world consciousness, forgotten or negotiated away. Judaism — which gave so much to human culture in the contributions of its ancient lawgivers and modern proponents of tikkun olam — has corrupted itself in the detour into Zionism, nationalism and apartheid.

A "peace process" with Palestinians cannot take even its first tiny step until Israel first withdraws to the borders of 1967; dismantles all settlements; removes all soldiers from Gaza and the West Bank; repudiates its illegal annexation of Jerusalem; releases all prisoners; and ends its blockade of our international borders, our coastline and our airspace permanently. This would provide the starting point for just negotiations and would lay the groundwork for the return of millions of refugees. Given what we have lost, it is the only basis by which we can start to be whole again.

I am eternally proud of my sons and miss them every day. I think of them as fathers everywhere, even in Israel, think of their sons — as innocent boys, as curious students, as young men with limitless potential — not as "gunmen" or "militants." But better that they were defenders of their people than parties to their ultimate dispossession; better that they were active in the Palestinian struggle for survival than passive witnesses to our subjugation.

History teaches us that everything is in flux. Our fight to redress the material crimes of 1948 is scarcely begun, and adversity has taught us patience. As for the Israeli state and its Spartan culture of permanent war, it is all too vulnerable to time, fatigue and demographics: In the end, it is always a question of our children and those who come after us.

Mahmoud al-Zahar, a surgeon, is a founder of Hamas. He is foreign minister in the government of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, which was elected in January 2006.


Wash Post EDITORIAL: Zahar Is a Terrorist
The former president, on what he says is a road to peace, embraces Hamas terrorists.
Thursday, April 17, 2008; A22

ON THE OPPOSITE page today we publish an article by the "foreign minister" of Hamas, Mahmoud al-Zahar, that drips with hatred for Israel, and with praise for former president Jimmy Carter. We believe Mr. Zahar's words are worth publishing because they provide some clarity about the group he helps to lead, a group that Mr. Carter contends is worthy of being included in the Middle East peace process. Mr. Carter himself is holding what appears to be a series of meetings with Hamas leaders during a tour of the Middle East. He met one militant in the West Bank town of Ramallah on Tuesday and was reportedly planning to meet Mr. Zahar in Cairo today before traveling to Damascus for an appointment with Khaled Meshal, Hamas's top leader.

Mr. Zahar lauds Mr. Carter for the "welcome tonic" of saying that no peace process can succeed "unless we are sitting at the negotiating table and without any preconditions." Yet Mr. Zahar has his own preconditions: Before any peace process can "take even its first tiny step," he says, Israel must withdraw to the 1967 borders and evacuate Jerusalem while preparing for the "return of millions of refugees." In fact, as Mr. Zahar makes clear, Hamas is not at all interested in a negotiated peace with the Jewish state, whose existence it refuses to accept: "Our fight to redress the material crimes of 1948 is scarcely begun," he concludes.

In that fight, no act of terrorism is out of bounds for the Hamas leader, who endorses the group's recent ambush of Israeli civilians working at a fuel depot that supplies Gaza. The "total war" of which he speaks was initiated and has been sustained by Hamas itself through its deliberate targeting of civilians, such as the residents of the Israeli town of Sderot, who suffer daily rocket attacks.

These facts would hardly need restating were it not for actors such as Mr. Carter, who portray Hamas as rational and reasonable. Hamas is "perfectly willing" for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas "to represent them in all direct negotiations with the Israelis, and they also maintain that they will accept any agreement that he brokers with the Israelis" provided a referendum is held on it, the former president told the newspaper Haaretz. Compare that claim with Mr. Zahar's own words on the opposite page. In fact, Mr. Zahar has called Mr. Abbas "a traitor" for negotiating with Israel — a label that is, in the Palestinian context, an incitement to murder.

Mr. Carter justifies his meetings with familiar arguments about the value of dialogue with enemies. But he misses the point. Contacts between enemies can be useful: Israel is legendary for such negotiations, and even now it is engaged in back-channel bargaining with Hamas through Egypt. But it is one thing to communicate pragmatically, and quite another to publicly and unconditionally grant recognition and political sanction to a leader or a group that advocates terrorism, mass murder or the extinction of another state. That is what Mr. Carter is doing by lending what is left of his prestige to an avowed terrorist such as Khaled Meshal — or Mahmoud al-Zahar.

Comments (61)

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51. Qifa Nabki said:

Shai, check your email.

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April 18th, 2008, 12:40 pm


52. T said:

Alex, AP

On the AIPAC banning controversy-

Akbar Palace said:

… anyone they want to silence …

Alex –

Exactly. Who does AIPAC want to “silence”? The obvious answer is: no one.

AIPAC, along with many other Jewish organizations are ready, willing, and albe to respond to anyone concerning Israel.

This isn’t Syria. AIPAC doesn’t “want to silence”; this is either your prejudice at work or a bad choice of wording.

The list of AIPAC-bannings is long and extensive and was partially covered here at SC many times. One recent example is their instigation w/ ADL of the Global Antisemitism Awareness Act, which broadens the definition of ‘hate-speech’ to include those who accuse or even speculate that Israel had a hand or benefited from 911, for example.

Maybe AIPAC could start the prosecutions with the following hate-speculators?

Report: Netanyahu says 9/11 terror attacks good for Israel
By Haaretz Service and Reuters Last update – 17:34 16/04/2008

The Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv on Wednesday reported that Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu told an audience at Bar Ilan university that the September 11, 2001 terror attacks had been beneficial for Israel.

“We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq,” Ma’ariv quoted the former prime minister as saying. He reportedly added that these events “swung American public opinion in our favor.”

Netanyahu reportedly made the comments during a conference at Bar-Ilan University on the division of Jerusalem as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians.

Meanwhile, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cast doubt over the veracity of the September 11 attacks Thursday, calling it a pretext to invade Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Four or five years ago, a suspicious event occurred in New York. A building collapsed and they said that 3,000 people had been killed but never published their names,” Ahmadinejad told Iranians in the holy city of Qom.

“Under this pretext, they [the U.S.] attacked Afghanistan and Iraq and since then, a million people have been killed only in Iraq.”

Speaking Wednesday at a news conference on the Iran threat, Netanyahu compared Ahmadinejad to Adolf Hitler and likened Tehran’s nuclear program to the threat the Nazis posed to Europe in the late 1930s.

Netanyahu said Iran differed from the Nazis in one vital respect, explaining that “where that [Nazi] regime embarked on a global conflict before it developed nuclear weapons,” he said. “This regime [Iran] is developing nuclear weapons before it embarks on a global conflict.”

Last update – 00:43 26/09/2001 Haaretz By Yuval Dror
Odigo says workers were warned of attack

Odigo, the instant messaging service, says that two of its workers received messages two hours before the Twin Towers attack on September 11 predicting the attack would happen, and the company has been cooperating with Israeli and American law enforcement, including the FBI, in trying to find the original sender of the message predicting the attack.

Micha Macover, CEO of the company, said the two workers received the messages and immediately after the terror attack informed the company’s management, which immediately contacted the Israeli security services, which brought in the FBI.

“I have no idea why the message was sent to these two workers, who don’t know the sender. It may just have been someone who was joking and turned out they accidentally got it right. And I don’t know if our information was useful in any of the arrests the FBI has made,” said Macover. Odigo is a U.S.-based company whose headquarters are in New York, with offices in Herzliya.

As an instant messaging service, Odigo users are not limited to sending messages only to people on their “buddy” list, as is the case with ICQ, the other well-known Israeli instant messaging application.

Odigo usually zealously protects the privacy of its registered users, said Macover, but in this case the company took the initiative to provide the law enforcement services with the originating Internet Presence address of the message, so the FBI could track down the Internet Service Provider, and the actual sender of the original message.

“Dr. Wurmser is a columnist for the Jerusalem Post and a frequent guest on radio and television, including BBC, Fox News, CNN, PBS and CNBC. Wurmser has written numerous books and monographs on Israel, the Arab world, and Zionism. Her most recent book is The Schools of Ba’athism–a Study of Syrian Schoolbooks (Washington, D.C., MEMRI, 2000). Wurmser, who has taught political science at the Johns Hopkins University and the United States Naval Academy, has published articles in such publications as the Weekly Standard, the Middle East Quarterly, the Washington Times, the Middle East Journal and Middle East Insight.”

Wurmser is also listed as an expert for the Ariel Center for Policy Research (ACPR) in Israel.

From the MEMRI website we find: “Her article, Can Israel Survive Post-Zionism? was the lead article in the March 1999 issue of Middle East Quarterly.”

From 1998 to 2001, Meyrav was a co-founding member and Executive Director of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)with Colonel Yigal Carmon, formerly of Israeli military intelligence. The Institute specializes in the translation and distribution of articles which show Arabs in a “bad light.” Left wing Israeli intellectuals, whom she regards as “a threat to Israel”, also draw her ire.[3]

Public relations for Wurmser is handled by Benador Associates.[4]

In 1996, Wurmser was a member of the Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000.

Co-signatory with her husband David (of the OSP which gave faulty WMD on Iraq) for the Project for a New American Century advocating wars across the ME to redraw the map there for Israel’s benefit.

(MEMRI was pivotal in diseminating the mistranslation of Ahmedinejads statement “Iran will wipe Israel off the map.” Juan Cole and others corrected this idiomatic misquote. No such slang in Farsi. He said “such a regime will disappear from the sands of time.”)

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April 18th, 2008, 1:00 pm


53. ausamaa said:

I just do not see the NEED or the BENINFIT of reading Akbar Palace and AIG comments, responses and counter responses. What? Are we trying to history-educate them, or is it to say that we are listening to the other-side point view? Which I do not think they even represent.

The normal Israeli is not their type, he or she know what is happening, know what has been done in their names, know that they have to defend positions unrepresentative of nowadays thoughts, but they still cling to them because they know that those are the only choices availlable to them. US,-and while we had no role in- we know about the Warsso Ghetto uprising and we know about Krsistalnight, and about the roles a lot of “jewish-friendly!” people and industrialists and bankers played in those events,and we even know what Enistin thought and said about the criminal establishment of a Zionist State in Palestine, and we know about the Belfoure Decleration and why it was issued, same also as the Israselies know about what the Irgun Shtern, and the Hagganah did in Dair Yassin, Qibya, Qana ! and Qana 2, Jenin and the road blocks and the 10,000 Palestinian prisoners in their jails. In a manner f speaking, we know that you know that we know that we know! Why waste time to prove all this or unprove it?

So why dont we wait until someone on the Isreli side wakes up (and discovers that they have, must, and have no other alternative but to chose the least dammaging option them, and then and demand action from their government). Unfortunately, that would only happen if they wake up under fire on a night heavy with the sounds or air or rocket attack sirens, or maybe, why dont we also wait until some one raises the white flag on the Arab side which I fail to see happening because that requiers many flags to be raised similanuously from Iraq to Gaza to Lebanon to Jordan to Syria, to everywhere from Morrocco to Oman to points around and beyond. It is thier problem too as they say.

Else, this heated “accademic” exchange is getting us no where it seems. I do not want want to discourage free exchange of ideas, but in the light of the killing of Palestinians we watch daily on TV, in the light of Israel conducting the biggest military excercises in 60 years, and in the light of what Syria, Hamas and Hizbullah prepartions for another round, then reading some comments here make feel that we are light years away from reality. All this, just so irrelevat in a way..

We will get more benifit if we try to invest more time to discuss and understand the choices, options and action-plans practically availlable to Syria, Israel/US and the other players if we stay away from this -and their other likes- of such propaganda exchanges led by AP and AIG.

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April 18th, 2008, 1:19 pm


54. ausamaa said:

And to sum up on the need for the Carter-Hamas exchange, let us remember that the the US delegation sat at one point in Paris and sipped Chamagin with the Charlies (VC representatives) while their forces were battling in on the ground in Vietnam. Israelies shold be thankfull, Carter is bravely giving them a way out.

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April 18th, 2008, 1:24 pm


55. Alex said:

Hi Bondo,

That was Joshua.

As you suggested, I changed the original (to “utter”).

I also grouped the three short comments into one. It is easier address each person in segments within one comment.

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April 18th, 2008, 4:05 pm


56. T said:

the latest Lobby banning attempt, writ global–

News (april 14, 2008)
ADC applauds proposed web blackout for hate groups

B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission chairman John Searle.


CIVIL liberties arguments do not apply when extremist organisations use the internet to spread hatred, B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) chair John Searle said last week.

“Clearly a line has to be drawn between freedom of speech, voicing of differing opinions – and material that just incites racial hatred, religious intolerance and violence. When that line is crossed, that material ought not to be freely available to all who log onto the web.”

Searle was responding to protests voiced by civil libertarians after a recent conference of state and federal attorneys-general proposed cutting off Australian internet access to hate groups.

State and federal attorneys-general met in Adelaide late last month to canvass options for empowering the Australian Communications and Media Authority to order internet service providers to cease hosting racist and anti-Semitic websites.

The ADC has joined groups from other com-munities welcoming the proposal.

Searle said the ban, if it receives the go-ahead, will not stop underground distribution, but will remove a heavily accessed outlet for groups to disseminate their message.

The ADC drew attention to virulent anti-Semitic material hosted by the Australian website, Mission Islam.

Material promoted by Mission Islam include The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, as well as an article that accuses Jews of infiltrating the United States administration, and another claiming Jews “like to spread mischief and corruption”.

Members of the ADC last week met with Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs Laurie Ferguson to discuss the material disseminated by Mission Islam and other extremist organisations on the web.

Searle previously said state governments and the former federal government had resisted calls by the ADC to ban these sites.

“We have laws banning race hatred and we have laws policing certain kinds of violent and pornographic material on the internet, but we have no system to police race hatred on the internet. It’s inconsistent and leads to the abuse of minorities,” he said.

Meanwhile, the ADC has appointed Deborah Stone as its new research director.

Searle said the organisation had not had a person in the role for some months, since the departure of Melinda Jones.

He said Stone, a former AJN editor, “has an excellent knowledge of the community and of the issues the ADC faces”.

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April 18th, 2008, 4:13 pm


57. Alex said:


I have no problem with the ADC’s proposed ban … if they apply it with equal vigor to sites where those who hate Arabs or Muslims are free to say whatever they like.

Unfortunately I can see where this is leading … Tens of thousands of AIGs and AP’s worldwide inspecting every single comment they don’t like and deciding that it is reflective of hate or antisemitism. Then their wonderful watchdog organizations can go after each site.

I remember few months ago (or over a year ago?) when Akbar an AIG were calling almost each one of us an antisemite and a supporter of terror… Enlightened … Ausamaa … Ford Prefect … Nour … IDAF …. all were called supporters of terror.

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April 18th, 2008, 4:24 pm


58. Akbar Palace said:

It is easy to dismiss any comparison whatsoever between the two cases, because we certainly cannot compare ourselves to the Nazis, right?


No, it is NOT easy to dismiss any comparison, and YES, I can compare myself to the Nazis.

The Palestinians are in a miserable situation. So were the Jews in Europe. So were the Rwandans. So were the communist Russians and Chinese, so were the Bosnians, so were the Lebanese, so the are Afghanis…

Unfortunately, there was and still is, a lot of suffering around the world. There is no shortage of misery. That is why security is of utmost importance to an individual nation.

In the case of the Palestinians, their suffering is mostly self-inflicted due to their inability to elect a government (granted – voting in Palestine does NOT occur at regular intervals) that is interested in peace. Interestingly, the Palestinians didn’t complain half as much as the Israelis did when Arafat led them to the Camp David talks. The secret is: the Palestinians will accept peace if their leaders ever propose such a thing.

The Palestinian leadership is still clinging to the hope that they will one day retake all of Palestine, and until then, jihad will continue. I’m paraphrasing from their own words.

But there are some similarities, especially from the point of view of those being subjugated.


There are also differences, especially from the point of view of those who were lined-up in front of firing squads, mass graves, and concentration camps.

You cannot claim that Palestinians in Gaza aren’t suffering terribly.

I never claimed Palestinians in Gaza we NOT suffering terribly.

Some are actually starving to death, AP, while you and I are “cooly” typing letters on our fancy laptops.

I wouldn’t doubt that, nor would I doubt there are people starving all over the world, especially Africa.

We are choking 1.5 million Palestinians, and brutally treating their brethren in the West Bank

Although the article you referenced is very unfortunate and the soldiers involved should be thrown in jail, the Palestinians are knifing Jews, old women, exploding themselves in front of civilians, and shelling towns with mortars and Qassam rockets.

Israel shouldn’t have to suffer like the Palestinians.

Recognition will come at the end, not at the beginning.

The handshake was 1993. We’re still waiting.

There are no more excuses, AP, it’s time we took a good look in the mirror.

Terrorism and missiles are always a good excuse except for Israel.
And Israel never will have a good excuse (for some).

The book of excuses is overflowing and worn out…

I know.

it’s time we showed real courage

Real courage was shown trusting Arafat.

and if there’s a shred of humanity still left in us,


You’re the only Jew with a “shred of humanity still left”. I’ll follow your footsteps as you make peace with Hamas and Dr. al-Zahar.

Pesach Sameakh.

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April 18th, 2008, 4:51 pm


59. Naji said:

From Gaza, with love…

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April 18th, 2008, 5:03 pm


60. Shai said:


You know I’m not trying to be condescending towards you. I had a commander in the army 20 years ago, who used to say “become experts at how to do, not at how not to do…” These words echo in my mind ever since. That is, don’t let excuses cause you to not do what you believe is right. Since both you and I believe that we’re choking 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza, no excuse of Qassam rockets, or Hamas doctrine, should stop us from lifting the blockade. Since we both know that we’re occupying another 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank, with over 500 road blocks, running their lives like an Apartheid regime does, we must seek an end even if the other side isn’t behaving the way we’d like it to. We can’t hand over control of the West Bank to Fatah? So let’s restart peace talks with Syria (without nonstarter preconditions), let’s have Syria help us broker talks with Hamas/Fatah, and let’s search for a way to end the misery of the Palestinian people, which will certainly help end the violence towards us. Not all Palestinians are ready to fight until they move back into Jaffa and Haifa. Not all of them support Hamas’s doctrine. Most do not. But the longer we choke them in Gaza, and the longer we commit crimes in the West Bank, the more they’ll want to destroy us, the more they’ll be ready to sacrifice themselves to do so, the more misery will come upon us both.

Why must we continue to act like we’re the victim here? Why must we continue to pretend we’re not overwhelmingly stronger? Why must we demand reciprocity out of the far-weaker side? Why can’t we truly understand their justified frustration and their miserable suffering? Why can’t we stop using excuses? Does it make us less worthy? Less Zionistic? Less committed to the security of Israel? Or more? I don’t like Hamas or Dr. al-Zahar one bit. But I will need to talk to them one day, if we’re to have peace. The sooner we get this through our usually-thick skull, the better.

But on a different note, Chag Sameach and Kasher to you too, AP. Enjoy the Seder. AIG, same to you, wherever you are right now… (I guess you’re not banned from reading, right?)

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April 18th, 2008, 6:41 pm


61. Qifa Nabki said:

Idaf, I will respond to this on the new post.

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April 19th, 2008, 12:01 am


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