Hamas & Fatah Charters Must Be Changed
By Morton A. Klein, National President
Zionist Organization of America
When Yasser Arafat and the PLO signed the Oslo Agreement with Israel in 1993, Israel, the U.S., and other nations and editorials insisted that it was necessary for the PLO to revoke its Charter with its many clauses calling for Israels destruction and the use of terrorism. Until it did this, it was not held to have met a necessary condition for peace. Why then is the world not demanding the same charter revocation from Ismail Haniyehs Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas Fatah, which make up the new Palestinian Authority (PA) government?
One could even argue that the Hamas and Fatah charters are worse than that of the PLO. In its Charter, Hamas calls for the destruction of Israel (Article 15) and the murder of Jews (Article 7). It claims to be fighting a world-wide anti-Muslim conspiracy led by Jews and cites in support of its ideology the classic anti-Semitic forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (Article 32). It says that it is at war with the non-Muslim world as part of a global campaign of jihad (Introduction) and says it respects and appreciates other jihad movements waging war on non-Muslims (Article 23). In short, it is a totalitarian movement bent on domination and, when it comes to Jews, extermination.
Fatahs Constitution, like that of Hamas, calls to this very day for the destruction of Israel and the eradication of Jewish national existence (Article 12), and for the use of terrorism as an indispensable part of the struggle for that goal (Article 19). In short, its goals are largely similar to those of Hamas and virtually identical to those of the PLO.
Hamas and Fatah have backed their words with deeds. Since the start of the Palestinian Arab terrorist wave in September 2000, each group has deliberately murdered nearly 500 Israelis each and maimed thousands more in scores of suicide bombings and hundreds of other terrorist attacks. The numbers would be even larger if not for Israels extraordinarily effective police and counter-terrorism efforts.
President Clinton himself deemed the PLO Charter cancellation so important a step that in 1998 he flew to Gaza to attend the meeting at which the Charter was supposedly revoked. That revocation was ambiguous and did not occur in the manner specified by the PLOs own rules. Nevertheless, the world loudly proclaimed that this crucial step had been achieved. So why now the deafening silence on the Hamas and Fatah charters from the world today? Because it does not believe that they would ever revoke them and because it does not want a further stumbling block to more Israeli concessions. But if that is the case, genuine peace is not possible and therefore Israel should not be pressured into making any new concessions to encourage and strengthen a Hamas/Fatah regime bent on destruction and terrorism, not peace. It also exposes the fact that the world is mindlessly hurtling toward a Palestinian state without considering the consequences of this likely becoming a sovereign terrorist state. In fact, a recent poll shows that Americans believe by an overwhelming majority that such a state would in fact be a terrorist state.
The requirements that have been asked of Hamas — that they simply verbally declare that it recognize Israel, renounce terrorism and accept past agreements — are insufficient. At a minimum, some concrete action is needed by Hamas and Fatah to give some credence to such words.
Indeed, Hamas and Fatah must amend their charters and replace them with new charters which make it clear that they have completely reformed themselves. As the former Canadian Minister for Justice, renowned human rights activist and Member of Parliament, Irwin Cotler, has recently and correctly stated, “The first thing that is required of Hamas and Fatah is that both their charters must be changed.”
It is time for the U.S. and world to demand that before there are any further negotiations with Mahmoud Abbas or anyone else in the PA and before any concessions are considered by Israel, they must formally renounce and legally abrogate their charters, substituting a new one that clearly and publicly accepts the existence of Israel as a Jewish state, proclaims a commitment to fight terrorism and end incitement to hatred and murder. If they cant do that, theres really nothing to talk about.