After a decade in power in Gaza, the militant group Hamas is at war with itself, in a rupture that could have profound implications for Palestine and Israel.
The group’s leadership will meet this spring to debate an overhaul of its founding charter, drafted in 1988.
Hamas has long refused to accept Israel’s existence, but a draft version of the revised document would accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza — implicitly acknowledging a second state across the border. It would also jettison some of the worst antisemitic language from the original charter, which speaks of a “struggle against the Jews”.
The proposed changes are the latest sign of a widening split between Hamas’s hawkish military wing and its comparatively moderate politburo. The latter is keen to reach a détente with Israel before another war makes it impossible.
The term “Hamas dove” is inherently contradictory. The terrorist group – per its founding charter and countless statements from its leaders – is committed to an antisemitic agenda, including Israel’s destruction.
Moreover, the very premise of Carlstrom’s article, that the proposed changes reflect moderation, is misleading. As veteran Arab affairs correspondent Pinhas Inbari argued, the proposed text in the document shows that Hamas has not renounced its founding principles but simply “powdered” them slightly.
“Many Israelis who are seeking any sign of Palestinian moderation will be delighted that such a document has been published. Yet, even in this new guise, Hamas is still sworn to Israel’s destruction, even without explicitly saying so. Hamas is devoted to war with Israel and therefore is opposed to any security cooperation with it. Yet all this is said in softer words than the old, blatantly anti-Semitic charter”.
Blogger Elder of Ziyon, in multiple posts, similarly demonstrated that Hamas putatively accepting a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza “does not mean that they accept Israel in any way, shape or form”, only that they may willing to destroy the state in stages. Elder notes that the new document still insists that “Hamas will continue the resistance and jihad to liberate Palestine as a legitimate right and a duty and an honor for all our people and our nation.”
The Times of London headline – suggesting the existence of heretofore unseen Hamas peaceniks – is absurd. There are no “hawks and doves” within Hamas, only extremists differing slightly in their willingness to pragmatically tailor the group’s message for gullible Western audiences.
(To complain about the Times of London headline, use this online form.)
- Facts about Hamas (CAMERA)