For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Hamas is conducting a “smile spin” for the West, particularly the United States. Its main objectives are to ease its political isolation, improve its position vis-à-vis the Palestinian Authority and get funds to rebuild the Gaza Strip. For the Palestinians, it stresses that its fundamental anti-Israeli pro-terrorism strategy remains unchanged.
Khaled Mashaal speaking on June 26, 2009. (Hamas’s Palestine-Info website, June 29, 2009).
He leads Hamas’ smile spin which targets the United States and the other Western countries.
1. In recent months Hamas has conducted a smile spin aimed at the West, particularly the United States . Hamas spokesmen in the Gaza Strip and Damascus , led by Khaled Mashaal , chairman of the Hamas political bureau, have been using softened rhetoric when referring to Hamas positions on various issues relating to its political connections with the West and Hamas' conflict with Israel .
2. As part of the spin, prominent were two interviews, one given by Khaled Mashaal's interview to the Wall Street Journal , and the other given by Ahmed Yousef, deputy foreign minister in the Hamas de-facto administration, to the British Economist (See the appendices for details). Part of the spin have been the repeated requests made by senior Hamas figures to the West for open diplomatic channels. They also make prominent references to the cessation of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip and represent it as being in the interests of the Palestinian people, reiterating that Hamas is not an obstacle to the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state with the 1967 borders and Jerusalem as its capital, and state that Hamas is also ready to cooperate with the international community in a peace process leading to the establishment of such a state.
3. However, when speaking to the Palestinians , Hamas spokesmen continue using their routine extremist rhetoric , which clearly expresses Hamas' ideology. They reiterate Hamas' adherence to the strategy of “resistance” [i.e., terrorism] as the main way to “liberate Palestine,” refuse to recognize the State of Israel and insist uncompromisingly on the return of the Palestinian refugees within any agreement, even what Hamas would consider an interim arrangement for the establishment of a Palestinian state with the 1967 borders. To inculcate the principle, the Hamas de-facto administration in the Gaza Strip recently organized a conference of representatives of educational and cultural institutions and intellectuals designed to reinforce the so-called “culture of resistance” which centers around adherence to the “resistance” [i.e., terrorism], opposition to peace negotiations and the rejection of Western values foreign to Islam and the Palestinian people.
4. Hamas' smile spin and rabble-rousing rhetoric are fundamentally two sides of the same coin . They reflect the basic tension between Hamas' adherence to its radical Islamic ideology and the pragmatic considerations resulting from the administrative responsibilities of the movement, which controls the Gaza Strip and is responsible for the welfare of 1.5 million Palestinians. Ideologically and strategically , Hamas remains committed to the final objective of the destruction of the State of Israel and refuses to abandon or even modify its 1988 charter, the basic document which expounds the movement's radical Islamic worldview. However, at the same time, practically speaking Hamas does not reject temporary lulls in terrorist attacks for various longer or shorter periods of time, with or without formal agreements, when it deems the interests of the Gazan population of or the movement require it.1 Politically speaking Hamas aspires to open dialogue channels with the international community and to gain the greatest amount of political and economic benefit possible with relation to both Israel and the Palestinian Authority, without changing its basic positions .
Examples of Hamas' smile spin
1. Khaled Mashaal , chairman of the Hamas political bureau, was recently interviewed in Damascus by theWall Street Journal . According to the paper, the wall was decorated with pictures of Hamas leaders who had been deemed shaheeds and a picture of the Al-Aqsa mosque. The main points of the interview were the following ( Wall Street Journal , July 31):
i) The Hamas movement and its military-terrorist wing would be willing to agree to animmediate reciprocal ceasefire with Israel , as well as a prisoner exchange that would trade Hamas fighters for kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
ii) Hamas and other Palestinian organizations would be ready to cooperate with any American, international or regional effort to find a just solution to the Arab-Israeli conflic t, end the so-called “Israeli occupation” and allow the Palestinian people their right to self-determination.” He said Hamas expected President Obama and his special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, to present a broader outline for conducting Middle East peace talks .
iii) Hamas would be willing to “stand by and respect” a Palestinian state with the 1967 borders as part of a broader agreement with Israel . That would be on condition that Israel agreed to the “right of return” of millions of Palestinian refugees and the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
iv) Hamas would not be an obstacle to peace . “We,” he said, “along with other Palestinian factions in consensus agreed upon accepting a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines. This is the national program. This is our program. This is a position we stand by and respect.”
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"