Guardian falsely suggests that Hamas has “softened” its call for Israel’s destruction

Contrary to the Guardian Jerusalem correspondent's claim, Hamas has not "softened" its founding charter's rejection of Israel's existence, nor has it abandoned its promotion of violence to achieve this end. 

In May 2017, we posted about multiple British news sites – including the Guardian – which misled readers about a new Hamas political document, falsely characterizing it as a sign of the group’s new ‘moderation’.  We noted that nothing could be further from the truth, as the document – despite a few sentences suggesting they’d accept a state on ’67 borders for the time being – still called for violence to liberate Palestine from the ‘River to the Sea’.

A new Guardian report by Oliver Holmes on recent border violence included the following paragraph in the penultimate paragraph:

In May last year, Hamas presented a new charter accepting the idea of a Palestinian state in the occupied territories, not all of historical Palestine, a move that was seen as a softening from the militant faction’s founding charter that advocates Israel’s destruction.

However, the Guardian, as they so often do, is cherry picking a few sentences from the document to support the risible idea of the radical group’s new ‘softening’, whilst ignoring other passages clearly indicating they’re still committed to violence and Israel’s destruction.

CAMERA’s backgrounder explains the following about the new Hamas document.

  • It does not replace the original charter;
  • It does not accept the existence of Israel in any borders;
  • It continues to embrace the goal of trying to destroy Israel; and
  • It does not repudiate violence, including against civilians.

 It defines “Palestine” as follows:

Palestine, which extends from the River Jordan in the east to the Mediterranean in the west, and from Ras Al-Naqurah in the north to Umm Al-Rashrash in the south, is an integral territorial unit. It is the land and the home of the Palestinian people.

 It also explicitly refuses to accept the legitimacy or existence of a Jewish state within any borders:

The establishment of “Israel” is entirely illegal and contravenes the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and goes against their will and the will of the Ummah…. There shall be no recognition of the legitimacy of the Zionist entity…. Hamas believes that no part of the land of Palestine shall be compromised or conceded, irrespective of the causes, the circumstances and the pressures and no matter how long the occupation lasts. Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea.

There is no alternative to a fully sovereign Palestinian State on the entire national Palestinian soil, with Jerusalem as its capital.

It also explicitly continues to endorse violence:

Resistance and jihad for the liberation of Palestine will remain a legitimate right, a duty and an honour for all the sons and daughters of our people and our Ummah. … Resisting the occupation with all means and methods is a legitimate right guaranteed by divine laws and by international norms and laws. At the heart of these lies armed resistance, which is regarded as the strategic choice for protecting the principles and the rights of the Palestinian people.

Bottom line: Contrary to the Guardian’s claim, Hamas has not “softened” its founding charter’s rejection of Israel’s existence, nor has it abandoned its promotion of violence to achieve this end.  As with the Guardian’s risible claims that recent Hamas sponsored border riots have been largely “peaceful”, suggestions that the proscribed terror group – whose leaders have called for the mass murder of Jews – is ‘moderating’ are completely counter-factual.

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