Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Hamas Foreign Minister: Palestinians Aren't a People

He didn't quite use those words, but Mahmoud Zahhar, Hamas' proclaimed foreign minister, was quoted in The Economist as saying "We [Palestinians] were never an independent state in history. We were part of an Arab state and an Islamic state."

He makes it clear the current claims about the existence of a "Palestinian nation" are really just part of drive to destroy Israel.

The full article may be found on The Economist's web site. We include excerpts here, along with some salient comments.

A Hamas Hardliner
The prickly defiance of Mahmoud Zahhar

A florid pink and green mural on the front of Mahmoud Zahhar's house "congratulates" the family on the hasty passage of his son Hussam to "paradise", courtesy of an Israeli missile on January 15th, felling the second of two sons to die for Hamas's cause.

[Between them, they've apparently been met by 144 virgins.]

His anger is directed equally at Israel and the United States but perhaps even more bitterly at Fatah, the Palestinian movement his Islamists have displaced in Gaza but which has ousted the elected Hamas government, in a constitutionally questionable manner, from power in the West Bank. He refers sourly to the "corrupt Ramallah government", after its capital town. "We are the Palestinian Authority," he says, when asked if the PA could be let back into Gaza to help manage the border. "Hamas should govern Gaza and the West Bank. What happened was a real coup against the election results," he says of Hamas's ousting from power in the West Bank.

[He has a point, there. It's nonsense to pretend Abu Mazen represents much else than his compound in Ramallah.]

He repeatedly refers to Fatah as traitors and collaborators, and denies that the accord between Fatah and Hamas in Mecca last year entailed accepting the Palestine Liberation Organisation's previous agreements with Israel-though other Hamas people have so implied. In any case, the PLO "does not represent a majority".

Nonetheless, Hamas might accept a two-state offer if most Palestinians agreed. But it was entirely "fantastical". He certainly would not now "accept the reality" of Israel, as some of his senior colleagues have hinted.

[We can expect some will interpret that as conciliatory, claiming it means that he was hinting at accepting the reality of Israel some time in the future, perhaps in another 5,000 years.]

It may, instead, become "an eternal issue", he says, looking ahead to a distant future when, "like your European Union", the Arab nation will form one state across its historic lands, joining up with other Muslim nations such as Turkey. "We [Palestinians] were never an independent state in history," he notes. "We were part of an Arab state and an Islamic state."

[That's worth repeating: The Palestinian Arabs were never an independent state.]

Mr. Meshal recently insisted: "Hamas is not extremist. It is not hard-line. Hamas is a moderate movement. It is not religiously dogmatic...We accept religious pluralism and, likewise, political pluralism."

[In the spectrum of the predominantly Arab and Muslim Middle East, Hamas is indeed not on the extreme.

There is a different definition of moderation when it comes to Israel's Arab enemies, with the so-called moderate Arabs far more extreme than the most fanatical Israelis.]

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