Hamas and the Western Media, Abridged Version

WESTERN MEDIA: While the Hamas charter calls for the destruction of Israel, the organization’s leaders don’t really mean it.

HAMAS LEADERS: No, we really mean it. We want to destroy Israel. We think it should be wiped off the map.

WESTERN MEDIA: While the Hamas charter calls for the destruction of Israel, the organization’s leaders don’t really mean it.

Hamas Nobel Peace Prize Watch

LA Times editorializes in favor of patience with Hamas:

This is a critical moment. Hamas may govern a short or a long time, but it will never again assume office for the first time. Setting a tone of constructive engagement as it begins to address an array of tough issues offers the best hope. Hamas’ moderate choice for prime minister, Ismail Haniya, has taken conciliatory steps as he tries to put together a coalition of radical and moderate factions, and he deserves encouragement in this perilous task.

You can see just how “moderate” Hamas’s choice for prime minister is by clicking here.

And how on earth can they say Haniyeh is taking “conciliatory steps”? In a Washington Post interview Sunday, Haniyeh suggested he would support the recognition of Israel under certain conditions. But he later denied making any such remarks, stating, “I did not say anything about recognizing Israel.”

Today’s LA Times editorial continues:

Given Hamas’ history of violence, however, it will need to do more than appoint a few moderates to its new government.

Again, the LA Times editors are taking it as a given that Hamas has appointed moderates, even though they provide abosolutely zero evidence to back it up.

So far, Hamas has resisted changing its charter, which calls for the destruction of the Jewish state, but it has signaled its willingness for a long-term truce with Israel. That’s not enough, but it’s a first step.

Haniyeh said he wanted a “political” truce, not a peace agreement:

Haniyeh has demanded that Israel make a full withdrawal from lands captured in the 1967 Mideast war, release Palestinian prisoners and the return of several million Palestinian refugees and their descendants to Israel.

“Then Hamas can grant a long-term truce,” Haniyeh said.

So in other words, if Palestinians are allowed to takeover Israel, then he may consider a political truce.

From the LA Times:

Israel’s decision to withhold a scheduled monthly transfer of $50 million in taxes owed to the Palestinian Authority – nearly half of its monthly operating budget – is a step in the wrong direction. Customs duties and other taxes that rightfully belong to the Palestinian Authority must be transferred in an orderly way.

The United States has a policy of freezing the assets of terrorist groups, including Hamas. How is what Israel doing any different? Why is Israel held to a different standard?

LA Times:

If Hamas is given a chance to govern without interference, it will have to provide Palestinians with the clean, efficient government they thought they were voting for. In contrast, if Israel or the international community acts in a hostile manner, Hamas can blame them when things go badly. For the moment, Hamas has every incentive to avoid attacks on Israel, which would only provoke swift and unrestrained retaliation, derailing Hamas’ chances to consolidate its popularity and establish a domestic policy.

Is there any doubt that Hamas will blame Israel no matter what? All they have to do is increase terrorism against Israel to provoke an Israeli response and portray Israel as the aggressor. That’s the way to win friends and influence Europeans. It worked for Arafat for decades. Besides, if it chooses, Hamas can be completely corrupt, and it can cancel any future elections.

Much can still go wrong, and in the Middle East, it often does. But for now, there is a chance that restraint can keep the hope of peace alive.

When I predicted that a Hamas leader would win the Nobel Peace Prize, I thought that Hamas would at least have to put up some facade that it was willing to change its ways. But apparently, it didn’t even take that. Hamas’s leaders haven’t even abandoned their goal of seeking to destroy Israel, and already their leaders are being called moderates. Already, Israel is being urged to show patience and restraint.

Although Hitler made his intentions well known in Mein Kampf, in the 1930s the world operated under the mistaken assumption that he didn’t really mean what he said. This mistake had tragic consequences. Hamas wants to finish off Hilter’s job, and the LA Times editors, along with the international community, are already acting as their enablers. Luckily, things are different this time, and the LA Times editorial board isn’t running the Israeli government.

Israeli Official says Abbas ‘No Longer Relevant’

From the Washington Post:

JERUSALEM, Feb. 26 — Israel’s acting foreign minister said Sunday that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas “is no longer relevant” following Hamas’ recent parliamentary victory, putting Israel at odds with the Bush administration and the European Union over how to continue supporting the Palestinian government.

It’s hard to argue with Israel’s position, and hard to understand why the Bush Administration would put any stock in Abbas. Abbas has been president of the Palestinian Authority for over a year now, and has proved too weak to disarm and reign in militant groups. How will he be able to do so now that his position has weakened? How can he control militant groups when the most dangerous group of all, Hamas, now controls the government?

And this is even if you give Abbas the benefit of the doubt by attributing his inability to control militant groups to weakness rather than a lack of desire.

Hamas Nobel Peace Prize Watch

The U.S. is already buckling:

U.S. to Continue Sending Palestinians Aid

By MOHAMMED DARAGHMEH, Associated Press Writer

RAMALLAH, West Bank – The United States will continue sending humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people even after a Hamas government is formed, a senior U.S. envoy told Palestinian leaders during the first high-level meeting between the two sides since Hamas’ election victory.

Read the whole thing here.

These are people who just put a terrorist group in power. Why should we send them a penny of aid? Not to mention that by giving humanitarian aid to the Palestinians, it frees up money for Hamas to spend on terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians.

Bush and the Ports: The Postman Always Rings Twice

The Wall Street Journal has editorialized in favor of approving the sale of the ports. Among other arguments, the editorial says:

Besides, the notion that the Bush Administration is farming out port “security” to hostile Arab nations is alarmist nonsense. Dubai Ports World would be managing the commercial activities of these U.S. ports, not securing them. There’s a difference. Port security falls to Coast Guard and U.S. Customs officials. “Nothing changes with respect to security under the contract,” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said yesterday. “The Coast Guard is in charge of security, not the corporation.”

In a telephone interview yesterday, Kristie Clemens of U.S. Customs and Border Protection elaborated that “Customs and Border Protection has the sole responsibility for the cargo processing and cargo security, incoming and outgoing. The port authority sets the guidelines for the entire port, and port operators have to follow those guidelines.” Again, nothing in the pending deal would affect that arrangement.

Perhaps the editorial is right that security fears stemming from the impending takeover of the ports are unfounded. But as this Forbes article points out, the Bush Administration has done a lousy job of securing our ports in general. So even if the Dubai takeover itself poses no real security threat, Bush’s lax port security policies will now receive more scrutiny. John Kerry tried unsuccessfully to exploit the issue in 2004, but this Dubai deal gives Democrats something to sink their teeth into.

Jonah Goldberg on the Left’s Constitutional Issues

Jonah Goldberg says that liberals who advocate a “living Constitution” are being hypocritical in their constitutional arguments against NSA surveillance. He writes:

For the first time in decades, liberals are grasping that the “living Constitution” can grow into something tyrannical. They had no problem with the Constitution’s blob-like expansion into areas conservatives cherish (nor did they care much when Bill Clinton used the Constitution in ways the anti-Bush crowd now defines as Orwellian). But now that the shoe’s on the other foot, they suddenly see genius in those old fusty white men.

The problem is, you can’t switch back and forth from living Constitution to dead and keep your credibility…

The whole thing here.

While Goldberg’s argument has some validity, it can easily be turned around. How can conservatives who argue for a strict interpretation of the constitution suddenly be comfortable with stretching the constitution when it comes to executive power during wartime?

Miers and the Ports

The political ineptitude that the Bush Administration has displayed in handling the sale of six ports to a company owned by the United Arab Emirates, recalls its bungled Harriet Miers nomination. Then, as now, President Bush made a decision that makes everyone ask: What was he thinking? The decision has managed to anger conservatives as much as the Angry Left. The only person who Bush seems to have won over is Jimmy Carter.

Just as with the Miers nomination, Bush is digging himself a deeper hole, even threatening to veto any Congressional move to block the deal. Here’s a president who has never vetoed a bill. He signed the campaign finance bill into law, even though he said he thought it was unconstitutional and he has signed every budget bill, even with spending growing at an alarming rate.

With the Miers nomination, Bush’s supporters were asked to trust that she would be a reliable conservative. Now they are being asked to trust that the sale of the ports won’t compromise national security.

As the conservative backlash grew over the Miers nomination, the Bush team attributed it to sexism.

Today, Bush accused his critics of racism:

“I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a Great British company.”

About a year ago, I wrote a column arguing that domestic security could be a winning issue for Democrats. Bush has just handed them a surefire way to exploit that issue.

Holocaust Denial and Free Speech

The Anti-Defamation League lost credibility today by expressing support for the court decision in Austria that sentenced British Holocaust denier David Irving to three years in jail. An ADL statement read:

“Considering Austria’s history during the Nazi period, the existence of laws against expressing Holocaust denial is understandable,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor. “Irving is a key figure in efforts to legitimize Holocaust denial. At a time when the President of Iran is spreading this message of hate that Irving has propagated, the Austrian court has sent an unmistakable and important message.”

Free speech requires that we have to put up with being offended now and then. As offensive as Irving’s work may be, he still should be allowed to write what he wants without ending up behind bars. The way to fight back against hate speech and historical mythmaking is by disseminating truth. Sending Irving to jail allows him to become a martyr and provides him with more publicity than he otherwise would have.

Hamas Nobel Peace Prize Watch

Following up on my recent column, I have decided to create a “Hamas Nobel Peace Prize Watch” feature on this blog, to track the incremental ligitimization of the terrorist group. Today let’s look at media reports that Hamas will likely nominate Ismail Haniyeh to be prime minister of the Hamas led-Palestinian government.

The UPI story on the nomination said. “Haniyeh is viewed as a leader of the more pragmatic wing of Hamas.”

BBC reported, ” Mr Haniya, considered a pragmatist…”

The NY Times says, “Ismail Haniya, viewed as one of its less radical leaders..”

After reading many news reports like those I decided to do a Nexis search on “Ismail Haniyeh” to find evidence of his so-called moderation. Here’s what I came up with.

On Sept. 11, 2001 Haniyeh was firmly in the “blame America” camp. As you may recall, Palestinians celebrated when the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attaked. An AFP story from that day read:

“Washington must seriously revise its policies in the world,” Hamas official Ismail Haniyeh also said here…

After a Hamas suicide bomber killed 19 people in an attack on a Passover Seder in Israel (known as “the Passover Massacre”), a March 28, 2002 LA Times story read :

“I think the Israeli people cannot take this indefinitely,” senior Hamas official Ismail Haniyeh said Wednesday in Gaza. “Anyone reading the Israeli newspapers can see their suffering. They love life more than any other people, and they prefer not to die.

I suppose it takes a “pragmatist” like Haniyeh to view another culture’s love of life as an oppourtunity to advance his own culture, which celebrates death instead.

On July 31, 2002, Hamas bombed a cafeteria at Hebrew University while students were eating lunch, killing 7 people, three of them Americans. Among the nearly 100 wounded were Arabs and other foreign nationals. The following day, the LA Times story included the following quote:

“If they are going to attack our children, then they will have to expect to drink from the same poison,” Hamas official Ismail Haniyeh said Wednesday in Gaza City, where hundreds of Hamas supporters poured into the streets late in the day to celebrate the university bombing and vow more attacks.

Perhaps Haniyeh is viewed as a moderate because he has suggested the pre-1967 borders would be acceptable. Of course, he only means that it would be an acceptable intermediary step before the destruction of Israel.

Leading up to the recent elections, Haniyeh said in an interview with AFP that:

“Hamas supports the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital in the territories occupied [by Israel] in 1967 – as an interim solution. However, Hamas will continue to maintain its views regarding the boundaries of historical Palestine, and [in terms of] refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the occupation.”

Clearly it’s absurd to write that Haniyeh represents the “pragmatic wing” of Hamas, because the organization is a sick death cult that doesn’t have a pragmatic wing. It’s like saying Hermann Goering represented the “pragmatic wing” of the Nazi Party.