Sunday, March 12, 2006

A more 'moderate' Hamas?

As Hamas is about to take power in the Palestinian Authority, they have decided to outline some basic principles so that the world can see a more 'moderate' side. Hamas have decided quite wisely to set aside the maniacal anti-Semitic ramblings of the Hamas Covenant, and in come a more rational and palatable platform.
However, even though many in the West will see this a step in the right direction, to carefully read the principles and the vague manner in which they were written will see that the change is mere dressing. Just like the West likes to think that any member of a terrorist organisation in a suit is a 'moderate', so many will be fooled by the rational language employed here.
Here are the principles...
1. The expulsion of the occupation and the establishment of a sovereign independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
2. A commitment to the right of return of Palestinians to their homes and property. We believe that the right of return is a private and collective right that can't be given up.
3. Resistance in all its formed is a legitimate right of the Palestinian people in its path to put an end to the occupation and the reinstatement of its national rights.
4. The start of a wide reform process in the Palestinian Authority's institutions. These institutions should be based on the principles of democracy, justice, the rule of law, political pluralism, and the principle of the separation of authorities and the guarding human rights and private property.
5. The Palestinian government will address the reality created following previous agreements between the Authority and the occupation and it is the right of the government to reassess these agreements on the basis of international law and in accordance with the rights of the Palestinians people.
6. The Palestinian government will protect the independence of the choice Palestinian people and its institutions, and will safeguard its sovereignty in this matter.
7. The government will emphasize the Arab and Islamic character of the Palestinian issue and will act to enlist Arab and Islamic support for the Palestinian people in every sector.
8. The government will hold friendly and positive relations on the basis of mutual respect with Arab and Muslim countries and with the countries of the world.
9. In principle, we will be prepared to continue with the current calm, which is a path to obtain national goals, and not a goal. The calm does not mean a cancellation of the right to resist and the right to respond to Israeli violations. The calm is stipulated on the end of all Israeli aggression and the release of prisoners."
Even Mahmoud Abbas has reservations about the ambiguity employed and has expressed dissatisfaction with clauses in the document in which Hamas says it reserves the right to "reassess" previous agreements between the PA and Israel.
But what of many of the other principles? What does Hamas mean by the 'occupation'? The West Bank and Gaza or all of Israel. Those in the know will have the answer but many will read what they want to. A good reaction to these principles is laid out by Allan D. Abbey.

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