Our friends at RealClearPolitics have included a column by Khalid Mashaal — the head of the “political bureau” of Hamas — in its lineup this morning. It is a chilling statement that deserves a close reading. It concludes:
Our message to the Palestinians is this: our people are not only those who live under siege in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip but also the millions languishing in refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria and the millions spread around the world unable to return home. We promise you that nothing in the world will deter us from pursuing our goal of liberation and return. We shall spare no effort to work with all factions and institutions in order to put our Palestinian house in order. Having won the parliamentary elections, our medium-term objective is to reform the PLO in order to revive its role as a true representative of all the Palestinian people, without exception or discrimination.
Our message to the Israelis is this: we do not fight you because you belong to a certain faith or culture. Jews have lived in the Muslim world for 13 centuries in peace and harmony; they are in our religion “the people of the book” who have a covenant from God and His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) to be respected and protected. Our conflict with you is not religious but political. We have no problem with Jews who have not attacked us – our problem is with those who came to our land, imposed themselves on us by force, destroyed our society and banished our people.
We shall never recognise the right of any power to rob us of our land and deny us our national rights. We shall never recognise the legitimacy of a Zionist state created on our soil in order to atone for somebody else’s sins or solve somebody else’s problem. But if you are willing to accept the principle of a long-term truce, we are prepared to negotiate the terms. Hamas is extending a hand of peace to those who are truly interested in a peace based on justice.
The Guardian omits any mention of Mashaal’s whereabouts, but he resides in Damascus, where he was last seen at the terrorist summit with the presidents of Syria and Iran.
Today’s Jerusalem Post reports that Mashaal is headed to Cairo for discussions with PA Chairman Abbas about the formation of a new government. Mashaal vividly demonstrates in his person that the Iran/Syrian Axis is on the march in Hamastan. Despite the relative clarity and intransigence of Mashaal’s Guardian column, Daniel Pipes predicts:
…an approximate repeat performance of the pressure on Arafat in 1982-88 to renounce terrorism. But Robert Satloff of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, an acute observer of the Arab-Israeli conflict, doubts that Hamas will be compelled even to match Arafat