The popular narrative being circulated in the media (both by Hamas apologists and even many supporters of Israel) is that Hamas’s landslide victory in the Palestinian elections was merely a response to massive corruption by the ruling Fatah party. Clearly, the legacy of Yasser Arafat’s corrupt dictatorship had a lot to do with Hamas’s smashing victory, and could very well be the most important reason. But elections are rarely decided by one issue alone, and as I will demonstrate below, terrorism was clearly a key part of Hamas’s platform. In any event, Hamas’s commitment to destroy Israel certainly didn’t hurt them. Also, let’s not forget that Hitler gained support in Germany in the early 1930s, because the nation was going through economic crisis and burdened by reparations, but that doesn’t make the Germans any less morally culpable for giving power to the greatest monster of the 20th Century.
In this interview with Al-Jazeera conducted last Monday, just before the election, Hamas leader Khaled Mash’al lays out Hamas’s platform, which is based on a rejection of the Oslo peace process framework and and continued “restistance” to Israel (a code word for terrorist attacks). Here are some telling excerpts:
Today we enter the Legislative Council with the platform of the resistance, which most of the forces in the Palestinian people agree on, Allah be praised…
The Palestinian people, with its will, its sacrifice, its Intifada, is creating something new, on which this Legislative Council is based. That’s why Hamas and the other forces are joining the Legislative Council on the basis of continued resistance, adhering to the weapons of the resistance, adhering to the Palestinian rights, to rectifying internal Palestinian affairs, to reform, to fighting corruption this is our platform, and we do not base ourselves on Oslo…
Oslo did not manage to dismantle the settlements in Gaza or the West Bank through negotiations. All there was was redeployment with no sovereignty over Gaza, one-third of which consisted of settlements under Israeli sovereignty. On the other hand, when we united around resistance, we managed to force our enemy to withdraw from Gaza…
Some people believe that a brilliant politician is one who buys and sells, closes deals, sits down with the enemy to negotiate, swims with him, hang out in pyjamas, and smoke cigars together at Oslo, this doesn’t make sense. What did the Vietnamese do? They forced America to withdraw by means of resistance. When America was worn out, they went to Paris, and forced America to leave Vietnam. We, in Hamas, represent a realistic view, not a utopian one…
Another top Hamas leader, Mahmoud Zahar, took the oppourtunity of a campaign rally to remove any doubts that Hamas’s goal was still the destruction of Israel. As this article from Arutz Sheva reads:
On January 13, A-Zahar said at a rally in Khan Yunis that the Hamas would not enter into negotiations with Israel in light of the Oslo accords, which he says, after 10 years, proves that negotiations are only an illusion. He declared that the Hamas still holds true to pursuing jihad or holy war with Israel and the liberation of all of Palestine.
A-Zahar went on to negate any form of cooperation with Israel, which he referred to as the “?Zionist occupier.” He characterized the Jewish state as “?an enemy, not a neighbor, friend, or partner.”
A-Zahar outlined his party’s electoral platform as follows:
Ã? ?Ã? · Islam is the source and ultimate authority for the Hamas
Ã? ?Ã? · The entire land of Palestine, every inch of it, is the property of the Islamic and Arabic nation that can never be relinquished.
Ã? ?Ã? · The right of return of Palestinian refugees is a legitimate right. Every Palestinian is entitled to decide when and how to return to his homeland.
Ã? ?Ã? · Continuation of the struggle (against Israel) in all of its manifestations.
The Hamas leader added that once the elections were over, his party would “?instill the significance of the struggle in the minds of our children and teach them that it is forbidden to compromise on any aspect of it.”
Let’s face facts. Palestinians may have voted against corruption, but it was also clearly a vote in favor of terrorism.