New York Times: Hamas Does Not Want to Restore the Caliphate

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A seriously delusional article on Hamas, “A Life of Unrest,” appeared in the New York Times magazine this Sunday. Steve Erlanger describes Hamas as: 

[A]n intensely nationalist movement, with Palestine as its focus. Hamas continues to refuse to recognize the existence of Israel. But it has none of the grand ambitions of Osama Bin Laden or Al Qaeda to drive the “U.S. crusaders” out of the Middle East, nor does it aim at Americans; instead, Hamas sees Washington as a reality and wants the Americans to push Israel to leave lands it occupied after the 1967 war, although Hamas refuses to endorse a permanent two-state solution. Hamas is secretive and severe but also, in its way, pragmatic.

This is far from the accurate. A small amount of very basic preliminary research will prove Erlanger wrong. The first and most obvious place to start would be the Hamas Charter. Hamas does not only want Israel to relinquish control of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and Gaza but the entire state of Israel. Indeed, for Hamas, and all anti-Zionists, Israel is the occupation. Further, Hamas views itself as part of a transnational Islamist movement.  

Quoting from the Charter: 

The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah’s victory is realised…

Resistance Movement is one of the wings of Moslem Brotherhood in Palestine. Moslem Brotherhood Movement is a universal organization which constitutes the largest Islamic movement in modern times…

Time extent of the Islamic Resistance Movement: By adopting Islam as its way of life, the Movement goes back to the time of the birth of the Islamic message, of the righteous ancestor, for Allah is its target, the Prophet is its example and the Koran is its constitution. Its extent in place is anywhere that there are Moslems who embrace Islam as their way of life everywhere in the globe. This being so, it extends to the depth of the earth and reaches out to the heaven…

As a result of the fact that those Moslems who adhere to the ways of the Islamic Resistance Movement spread all over the world, rally support for it and its stands, strive towards enhancing its struggle, the Movement is a universal one. It is well-equipped for that because of the clarity of its ideology, the nobility of its aim and the loftiness of its objectives…

As for the objectives: They are the fighting against the false, defeating it and vanquishing it so that justice could prevail, homelands be retrieved and from its mosques would the voice of the mu’azen emerge declaring the establishment of the state of Islam, so that people and things would return each to their right places and Allah is our helper. 

Historian Efraim Karsh argues the nature of Hamas is often misunderstood. Unlike the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Hamas is neither the embodiment of pan-Arab aspirations nor of Palestinian self-determination. It is not a political movement for national liberation that contains an armed wing. Hamas has articulated the far broader goal of establishing a global Islamist empire. According to Karsh, for Hamas, the issue of Palestine is “neither an ordinary territorial dispute between two national movements not a struggle by an indigenous population against a foreign occupier. It is a holy war by the worldwide Islamic umma to present the loss of a part of the House of Islam to the infidels” (Islamic Imperialism. p. 214). 

Commentary’s Gabriel Schoenfeld writes:

Erlanger holds out hope that “the military victory of Hamas may also bring a welcome measure of quiet and security to the 1.5 million people of Gaza, nearly 70 percent of them refugees, who have been living a nightmare of criminal gangs, street-corner vendettas, clan warfare, absent police, corrupt officials, religious incitement and unremitting poverty.”

What can be said about liberals who embrace order, no matter what the price, and no matter the genocidal ambitions of those imposing it?

Passing strange is right. But perhaps they are not liberals at all, or perhaps liberalism, once the creed of tolerance, has itself become something else, something self-destructive: tolerant of everything, including the most lethal forms of intolerance.But even that seems an inadequate explanation for Erlanger’s impulse—and he is not alone in harboring it—to hail the triumph of a violent and fanatical Islamic terrorist movement that has murdered hundreds of Israelis—men, women, and children alike—and readily tosses fellow Palestinians from buildings after shooting them in the knees.  

[continue reading]

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