The following Guardian headline, in a story written by Phoebe Greenwood, truly could have been written by the Hamas minister of propaganda.
Evidently, Greenwood – the Guardian Israel correspondent who makes us long for the days of Harriet Sherwood – wasn’t being in the least facetious.
She begins, reporting from Gaza City:
A spokesman for the Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniya, told the Guardian that the Islamic party, which has controlled Gaza for the past five years, was shifting its emphasis from armed struggle to non-violent resistance.
Greenwood admits, however, there is one caveat to the new Gandhi-style peaceful resistance of the group whose founding charter cites the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to “prove” that Jews are indeed trying to take over the world.
Violence is no longer the primary option but if Israel pushes us, we reserve the right to defend ourselves with force,”
Oh, I see.
Please, Ms. Greenwood, help contextualize this for us. What contemporary Islamic resistance movement is the Hamas leadership emulating?
The announcement on Sunday does not qualify as a full repudiation of violence, but marks a step away from violent extremism by the Hamas leadership towards the more progressive Islamism espoused by groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo.
The “progressive Islamism” of the Muslim Brotherhood? She must be referring to the group whose spiritual advisor praised Adolf Hitler’s genocide and literally called for the murder of every last Jew on earth.
But, wait. It gets better.
In a further concession to international legitimacy, the Hamas leadership confirmed on Sunday that it could entertain discussions regarding a peace agreement with Israel if the Quartet of peace broking powers agree to modify its preconditions. Hamas will accept the foundation of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders but stands firm in its refusal to acknowledge the state of Israel.
The new Hamas: Peace, yes. Israel’s existence, no.
Then, Greenwood, in one last unintentionally comical rhetorical flourish, writes:
This softened tone on the international stage is not yet evident in Haniya’s domestic rhetoric. Speaking at a rally in Kateeba Square, Gaza City, to mark the 24th anniversary of the foundation of the movement last week, the prime minister vowed to continue the “resistance”.
“The resistance and the armed struggle are the way and the strategic choice for liberating Palestinian land from the (Jordan) river to the (Mediterranean) sea,” he said.
Alas, it seems that Hamas’s website similarly doesn’t reflect the new, gentler more sensitive Islamist group.
And, then there’s this communique:
I’m being unfair to the Guardian, you say?
Well, let’s go back in time to a Guardian report from October 9, 2010:
Fast forward to the website of the New Hamas:
Hamas propaganda photo courtesy of the Guardian.
Hamas peace offensive propaganda communique courtesy of the Guardian’s Phoebe Greenwood.