Date: April 27
Every time the profile of Hamas rises as a result of some development in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, there is an effort undertaken to repackage Hamas as a moderate organization.
Right after the Palestinian elections in 2006, Musa Abu Marzuq, the deputy head of the Hamas political bureau, published an op-ed in the
“a new breed of Islamic leadership is
ready to put into practice faith-
based principles in a setting of tolerance and unity.”
Western writers began asking themselves if Hamas was becoming more moderate. O
n April 27, 2014, Mahmoud Abbas’ chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, told the Israeli website
that he did not relate to Hamas as a terrorist organization, defining it instead as a political faction.
Hamas knew, at times, how to use smooth language and play certain media outlets like a violin, making the case that it was moving along a political path. Fatah spokesmen promoted this line when convenient. The fact that Hamas was recognized as an international terrorist organization by the U.S., the EU, the UK, Canada, and many others, did not give those seeking to redefine it any pause. Neither did the fact that on May 2, 2011,
immediately after U.S. Navy Seals killed Osama bin Laden, Hamas’ prime minister, Ismail
Haniyeh, condemned the United States (it was Haniyeh who sat in the middle at the joint Hamas-Fatah reconciliation ceremony in the Gaza Strip on April 23, 2014).
Yet, in recent years, a number of Hamas activities and statements point in the exact opposite direction of those analyses that try to soften the image of Hamas. First, Egypt became convinced that Gaza-based groups were playing a key role in the terrorist attacks that were escalating in the Egyptian heartland. The Egyptian Interior Minister announced in January 2011 that
he had “conclusive evidence” that Jaish al
-Islam, a Gaza al-Qaeda affiliate, was responsible for the New
Year’s Eve bombing of a Coptic Church in Alexandria that led to the deaths of twenty
-four Coptic Christians.
In the past, Hamas had undertaken joint military operations with Jaish al-Islam, like the 2006 kidnapping of Gilad Shalit. While Hamas and Jaish al-Islam alternated between cooperation and competition in their relations, their involvement demonstrated how the Hamas regime was giving sanctuary to organizations that were directly threatening Egypt. The connection between terror in Egypt and the Hamas regime became even more apparent this past year. The Egyptian military has become increasingly convinced that Hamas itself has become linked to the global
network that has been flourishing in the Sinai Peninsula. This includes training in the use of explosives and other military preparations that are permitted at Hamas military bases.
In early 2014, Egypt’s
Interior Minister, Muhammad Ibrahim, accused Hamas of providing logistical support for a terrorist operation on December 24, 2013, in Mansoura, in the Nile Delta, that left 16 dead and 130 wounded.
The target was the local Egyptian Security Directorate. Since that time, a Cairo court outlawed the activities of Hamas throughout Egypt. It also ordered the closure of all Hamas offices as well.
With respect to Israel, another aspect of Hamas behavior that has not received adequate attention is the increase in genocidal rhetoric against the Jewish people within the Hamas leadership, beyond what is written in