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True colors

The very sad thing about Middle Eastern politics is not that terrorism against Israel is so vicious, but that people refuse to admit it, even when Palestinians proudly proclaim it. For instance, Hamas leaders say that "Our spirit is high, our mood is good,"

By their estimation, the organization's two recent attacks the one at a Seder on Passover night in a Netanya hotel that killed 25 people, and the other in a Haifa cafe that killed 15 were the most successful they have ever made. That is true partly, Mr. Shanab said, because Hamas is now using weapons-grade explosives instead of home made bombs manufactured using fertilizer, a fact the Israelis have confirmed.

"Forty were killed and 200 injured in just two operations," another of the leaders, Mahmoud al-Zahar, said with a smile.

Do they sound "desperate" to you? Does it sound as if they acting out of "frustration?" Too many people are operating under the delusion that individual Palestinians get so upset about their mistreatment that they run out and start shooting or bombing -- a sort of Middle Eastern Columbine. But as this article makes clear, these are centrally planned assaults on Israel. Someone gives a specific order to bomb, and provides the material with which to do it. And don't fall for the line that Arafat can't control them. These aren't secret sleeper cells; the leaders of Hamas are widely known.

Moreover, they openly proclaim their goal:

Hamas, the second most popular Palestinian movement, behind Fatah, is directed by a "steering committee," as Dr. Zahar put it, with five principal members. Interviews with four of them a cleric, an engineer and two medical doctors showed a leadership unyielding, determined and increasingly confident of achieving their goal, the eradication of Israel as a Jewish state.


The goals of Hamas are straightforward. As Sheik Yassin put it, "our equation does not focus on a cease-fire; our equation focuses on an end to the occupation." By that he means an end to the Jewish occupation of historical Palestine.

Hamas wants Israeli withdrawal from all of the West Bank and Gaza, the dismantling of all Israeli settlements and full right of return for the four million Palestinians who live in other states. After that, the Jews could remain, living "in an Islamic state with Islamic law," Dr. Zahar said. "From our ideological point of view, it is not allowed to recognize that Israel controls one square meter of historic Palestine."

Mr. Shenab insisted that he was not joking when he said, "There are a lot of open areas in the United States that could absorb the Jews."

And people want Israel to negotiate with these thugs? They think that the problem is Ariel Sharon? They think the problem is the "occupation?" I'm really reluctant to resort to Nazi analogies, but sometimes they become so overwhelming that you just can't ignore them. When someone openly proclaims his ultimate goal is your elimination, pretending that he has legitimate grievances that can be negotiated away is suicide, not statesmanship. This is Neville Chamberlain all over again -- the idea that if we just give them what they ask for, they'll settle down and stop menacing us, and we can all live happily ever after. But this time, when it goes horribly wrong, nobody can shrug and say, "But we didn't know what he intended."


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 4, 2002 6:25 PM.

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