ZOA: U.S. Conditions For Dealing With Hamas Inadequate & Naive
April 27, 2009


ZOA: We Are Asking Hamas To Lie To Us,

Like We Did With Arafat



The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized as inadequate and naïve the criteria for the U.S. engaging the Palestinian Islamist organization Hamas, which was recently reaffirmed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Last week, Secretary Clinton said that the U.S. “will not deal with or in any way fund a Palestinian government that includes Hamas unless and until Hamas has renounced violence, recognized Israel” and abided by earlier agreements with Israel. (‘Clinton: No aid to P.A. with Hamas,’ Jewish Telegraphic Agency, April 22, 2009).


The ZOA has repeatedly pointed out the fact that it was precisely these inadequate criteria that were previously applied to Yasser Arafat and the PLO, and concessions to them made on this basis, yet they never ended terrorism and incitement to hatred and murder against Jews. To the contrary, both increased, despite Arafat signing several agreements committing him to adherence of these criteria.


In short, by making these three conditions the criteria for recognition of Hamas and its inclusion in negotiations, the U.S. is again basing policy on the notion that a bloodthirsty terrorist group like Hamas can become an acceptable and reliable interlocutor if it simply makes certain moderate pronouncements, while ignoring its detailed, genocidal program and history of vicious terrorism.


The Hamas Charter calls for the use of terrorism, the destruction of Israel (Article 15) and the murder of Jews (Article 7). Since 2000, Hamas has murdered over 500 Israelis in a series of suicide bombings, roadside bombs and sniping attacks. In the case of Arafat and the PLO, the U.S. demanded that they renounce the PLO Charter which, while calling for terrorism against Israel and Israel’s destruction, did not speak of genocide. Here, the Hamas Charter is even worse, and its record of terror against Israel as least if not more bloodthirsty, yet there is no corresponding demand that its genocidal Charter be first rescinded.


Professor Steve Jacobs, a professor of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama, wisely wrote of Hamas and its genocidal intentions towards Jews in Reform Judaism Magazine: “To understand Hamas, we must understand its Covenant … the Hamas Covenant opens with the assertion that the Quran views the Jews as the enemies of the Arab nations and of God … for Hamas, the Quran is to be the governing document of any nation state on Muslim soil and when Muslims are in the majority, regulating the behavior of every inhabitant, Muslim or not … In the final analysis, the Hamas Covenant is an incitement to violence against Jews. It lays out a series of justifications for hatred of Jews and Judaism, from Quranic references to The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, with one overriding goal – the destruction of the state of Israel. How seriously shall we take the Hamas Covenant? More than 80 years ago, the world paid little heed to the ravings of an Austrian-German political upstart writing his autobiographical ideological testament from prison. The Hamas Covenant, like Hitler’s Mein Kampf, is a deadly serious statement of intent.” (Steve Jacobs, ‘The “Protocols” of Hamas,’ Reform Judaism Magazine, Winter 2007).


In addition to its genocidal intentions against Jews, Hamas terrorists have murdered over 500 Israelis in eight years of suicide bombings, road-side bombs, sniping and drive-by shootings. Hamas has also made vociferously hateful anti-American, anti-Western statements:


·        Hamas spokesman Dr. Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rantisi: “I think that the West’s arrogance will lead it to its sure end if it is determined to act with aggression and terror against the Islamic nation, and that its first defeat will be in Iraq” (‘Hamas Spokesman: Iraq Must Establish a Suicide Army,’ Middle East Media Research Institute, January 8, 2003).

·        Hamas Leader Khaled Masha’al: “America will be defeated in Iraq. Wherever the [Islamic] nation is targeted, its enemies will be defeated, Allah willing … I say to the [European countries]: Hurry up and apologize to our nation, because if you do not, you will regret it. This is because our nation is progressing and is victorious. Do not leave a black mark in the collective memory of the nation, because our nation will not forgive you” (‘“Hamas Leader Khaled Mash’al at a Damascus Mosque: The Nation of Islam Will Sit at the Throne of the World and the West Will Be Full of Remorse – When It’s Too Late,”’ Middle East Media Research Institute, February 7, 2006).

·        Hamas statement on death of Al-Qaeda’s Abbas Musab al Zarqawi: a “brother fighter… who was martyred at the hands of the savage crusade campaign which targets the Arab homeland, starting in Iraq.” (‘Who’s sad about Zarqawi?,’ Jerusalem Post, June 8, 2006); Hamas ‘Foreign Minister’ Mahmoud Zahar: “We are dead sure that assassination of any of the people (like al-Zarqawi) who are resisting will not … end the resistance.” (‘Zahar: Zarqawi’s death will not end resistance,’ Jerusalem Post, June 8, 2006).

·        Abu Abdullah, a leader of Hamas’’ Izzedine al-Qassam Martyrs Brigades: “Asked which U.S. targets Hamas would hit, Abu Abdullah replied, ‘Do you think that I can give you an answer to this question? I can say that the Middle East is full of American targets and the world has had the occasion to learn what are the weapons of the anti-American forces in the region.’” (‘Hamas threatens attacks on U.S. Terrorist warns ‘Middle East is full of American targets,’ World Net Daily, December 22, 2006).

·        Hamas’ Ahmed Bahar, Speaker of the PA legislature: “Allah, take hold of the Americans and their allies… Allah, count them and kill them to the last one and don’t leave even one.” (‘PA Leader calls for killing all Jews and Americans,’ Palestinian Media Watch, April 20, 2007).



ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “The idea that the U.S. should deal with Hamas if it meets the three conditions just restated by Secretary Clinton is based on the extraordinarily naïve or malign idea that a bloodthirsty group of terrorists can become responsible and acceptable peace partners provided that they utter the right words on a few occasions when the cameras are rolling.


“Does the Obama Administration not recall that we went through the same charade with Yasser Arafat years ago? Then, we were asking of Arafat, as we are asking Hamas now, to utter the right words about renouncing terror, accepting Israel and renouncing incitement to hatred and murder in order to bestow recognition and legitimacy on him. Arafat did verbally renounce terrorism, accept Israel’s right to exist and even signed several agreements to that effect, yet he immediately continued terrorism, repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction in Arabic and continued incitement.


“In the case of Arafat and the PLO, the U.S. demanded that they renounce the PLO Charter which, while calling for terrorism against Israel and Israel’s destruction, did not speak of genocide. Why, when the Hamas Charter is even worse, and its record of terror against Israel as least if not more bloodthirsty, are we not demanding that Hamas rescind its Charter?


“Look where this policy of demanding words rather than deeds got us. Further back in history, in 1938, we have another example where words meant nothing. We granted Hitler negotiations and huge concessions when he simply uttered phony words of peace and in the end he consumed Czechoslovakia – and we ended up with a world war and the Holocaust.


“In short, getting career haters and terrorists to say certain words, or even sign certain agreements, is not a policy because, when they do, it means nothing. Therefore, even if Hamas uttered the few words that we’re asking of them, the result would be the same as it was when we dealt with Arafat. Words and signatures mean nothing when they come from murderers. Surely if such people are capable of murdering they are capable of lying. In short, by restating these conditions for Hamas’ participation in government and negotiations, we are really asking Hamas to lie to us so we can give them recognition and financial aid.


“From where comes this idea that the most despicable terrorists can be rehabilitated by uttering mere words? Current U.S. conditions for talks with Hamas are already too elastic and thus meaningless – the rights words about renouncing terror, accepting past agreements and recognizing Israel would mean nothing even if Hamas was prepared to claim it was doing these things – which it doesn’t.


If the Obama Administration insists on these inadequate and failed criteria, at the very minimum it should be insisting on verifying them with deeds, not merely words the rescission of the Hamas Charter; the dismantling of its terror squads and bomb-making factories; the complete overhaul of its education system and media broadcasting to remove all incitement to hatred and murder against Jews, Judaism and Israel; and strict adherence to such changes for at least one year before granting it any form of recognition.


“In the absence of such thorough-going change, how can we expect Hamas to be a peace partner? If a serial murder like Charles Manson were to merely claim he had repented of his unspeakable crimes, would we suddenly drop all objections about, and feel comfortable with, our daughters dating him? If the Ku Klux Klan started issuing statements that it renounced hatred of African-Americans, would we start appointing their leaders to the boards of civil rights commissions? Of course not. The idea is laughable.


“If President Obama makes these criteria the touchstone for dealing with Hamas, it will only result in a victory for Islamist terrorism, including the most murderous and anti-American Palestinian elements, and help prolong the conflict. U.S. policy should have the over-arching goal of bringing the Palestinians to see their non-acceptance and murderous hostility towards Israel as wrong and counter-productive, not something that may be indulged in while earning a seat at the negotiating table.


“By helping Palestinians put off the day when they genuinely reform their society to purge it of jihadist and violent, rejectionist elements, we would be worsening and prolonging the conflict, not managing or ending it.


“This wrong-headed and dangerous policy to engage Hamas would, if adopted, result in a weakening of European governmental demands that Hamas accept Israel, non-violence and implementation of past signed agreements. Seeing all this, why would Palestinian terror groups committed to Israel’s destruction moderate or give up terror if they can simply wait out international pressure and wait for the U.S. to fold?


“We urge President Obama to repudiate the notion of dealing with Hamas, which would only harm all the President’s objectives in the Middle East – to foster political moderation in the Middle East, to fight and oppose terror groups and to create the conditions for a peace settlement

Center for Law & Justice
We work to educate the American public and Congress about legal issues in order to advance the interests of Israel and the Jewish people.
We assist American victims of terrorism in vindicating their rights under the law, and seek to hold terrorists and sponsors of terrorism accountable for their actions.
We fight anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias in the media and on college campuses.
We strive to enforce existing law and also to create new law in order to safeguard the rights of the Jewish people in the United States and Israel.