- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 13, 2006

It’s Hamas time in Palestine — the terrorist-led government just having been sworn in by the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas — whose adamant refusal to implement his own policy of “One Law, One Authority, One Gun” was one of the main causes of Hamas’ achieving power.

“We shall deal with Hamas after the elections,” he told the world, including the U.S. — and made them believe it. And although saying that he would confirm the Hamas government only if it recognized all previous agreements and peace initiatives, he meekly went ahead and gave his stamp of approval without any of the above being accepted — “out of respect for the democratic process.”

Not only Israel but the world at large, and especially the U.S. and Europe, are being inundated by Hamas-orchestrated siren songs (but only in English, never in Arabic) insisting that they didn’t really mean they when it called for the destruction of Israel. For instance, the new Palestinian prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, a former terrorist leader from Gaza, in recent interviews to the Western media speaks about “the need to avoid bloodshed” and Hamas’ willingness for a long-term truce — and similar statements to sweet-talk his way to international acceptability. The proposed truce, by the way, would serve Hamas’s purpose to widen its power-base and solidify preparations for the next round against Israel.

At the same time, Hamas’ external leadership based in Damascus, which many consider the real power in the organization, maintains active contacts with its international supporters and funders, including other terrorist organizations and especially Iran.

Some people are easily fooled, some even want to be fooled. Canada’s former prime minister, Mackenzie King, at one time compared Hitler to Joan of Arc — while some starry-eyed socialists and liberals admired Stalin (“I have seen the future and it works”). So one shouldn’t be overly surprised if something similar will happen with regards to Hamas — which has been playing its cards rather well in convincing the world that it has been miraculously transformed into a peaceful, democratic, tolerant organization which should, therefore, be accorded diplomatic, but especially financial support — Hamas realizes that without that it might not be able to hold on to power. This might create a dilemma for many, including Israel — it being politically incorrect to argue against humanitarian aid. But, unfortunately, there is probably no way to prevent moneys, whose genuine purpose is to alleviate the hardships of ordinary Palestinians, from reaching the coffers of the Hamas government.

“Money is fungible” former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker said in a different context, thus Funds intended for humanitarian and social purposes will probably find their way to financing Hamas’ terrorist and incendiary activities against Israel and the West.

Hamas is not a uniquely Palestinian phenomenon. Similar to other organizations in Jordan, Egypt and Syria, it is part of the jihadist movement whose aim is to re-establish an Islamic Caliphate — first in the Middle East and eventually in all regions which are or were occupied by Islam.

There are those who believe that once Hamas faces the realities of governance it will moderate its intransigent views. But even leaving aside the fact that no fundamentalist Islamic organization anywhere has ever made a rationalizing volte-face, according to Hamas’ philosophy and ideology, without its self-declared mission to destroy Israel, it has no reason to exist. One of Hamas’s principal leaders, Khaled Mashal, has stated without equivocation his organization’s principled rejection of Israel’s right to exist — in any size, in any borders. Hence, Hamas rejects not only the international Quartet’s roadmap and President Bush’s vision of peace in the Middle East, but also the very concept of the “two-state solution” based on the principle of a democratic Palestinian state living in peace side by side with Israel.

In Hamas’ eyes peace with Israel violates the most basic tenet of its credo: The annihilation of Israel. Article 13 of the Hamas charter states: “Abandoning any part of Palestine (i.e. accepting Israel) means renouncing part of the faith.” Israel may not even be the main target of the jihadists, but defeating the Jewish state would constitute for them the first step towards victory over Judeo-Christian values everywhere, over the West as a whole — and especially America.

Those who keep repeating almost ad nauseam, like Jimmy Carter, that “one must respect the democratic choice of the Palestinian people” (this is the favorite line also of Arab leaders who never had democratic elections of their own) forget that Adolf Hitler too was “democratically” elected by the German people.

The Palestinians too were not blind to Hamas’ anti-Israel and anti-peace stance when they voted as they did. In fact, and contrary to what is often claimed, only 15 percent voted Hamas because of the latter’s promise to clean up the corruption and inefficiency of the previous Fatah regime. Palestinians voted for Hamas because they identified with Hamas’ aims against Israel — including terror.

When will the world learn that democracy isn’t only a process of electing a government — but that it also depends on the character and aims of the players involved?

Ambassador Zalman Shoval served as Israel’s ambassador to the United States from 1990 to 1993 and from 1998 to 2000.

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