Hamas is a Danger to World Peace

Again the question comes to the fore, who is the most benign terrorist of them all? Khaled Meshaal, the political leader of Hamas, in an interview on August 22, 2014 in his gated unmarked office in Doha, Qatar, far from the madding crowd of Gaza, claims the title. He never did acknowledge, let alone thank, Israel for saving his own life when the Mossad in Amman in September 1997 saved him from being ambushed by his opponents.

Meshaal, trying to distance Hamas from ISIS, described the differences. Hamas was not a violent religious group. It was against killing civilians, including journalists, whether American or not.

It is true there are some, if not six, degrees of terrorism between ISIS and Hamas. Four degrees are particularly important. One is that ISIS has billions of dollars to support the Caliphate it has established and its war against the infidel West. Hamas has only millions of dollars given by the “international community” and by Qatar that it has wasted on buying rockets and missiles to fire against Israel, and on building the elaborate 30 or 40 underground tunnels intended to kidnap civilians and soldiers and to attack Israeli towns.

A second more important difference is that ISIS fights openly in an equivalent of an effective military earthquake, wears its own uniforms, and has conquered substantial amounts of territory in Iraq and Syria. Hamas fights by using civilians as human shields, and by firing its rockets and missiles from hospitals, mosques, apartment houses, and schools supposedly under the supervision of an international body, the UNRWA. Its members are prone to wear Israeli uniforms if they can get them.

A third difference is that ISIS attacks and kills all those who will not accept its faith and jurisdiction, irrespective of race, religion, color, and nationality. Hamas has only one, a more limited, objective, to kill Jews and to eliminate the State of Israel. Their only grievance is that the State of Israel exists. They are uninterested in any two-state solution. They are keen to play the anti-Semitic card and the ritual blood libel charge. In a broadcast on Al-Quds TV on August 5, 2014 the Hamas spokesman repeated charges he had made earlier that Jews killed Christians to mix their blood to bake matzos.

A fourth distinction is that ISIS publicizes what it does, including the nature of people it has killed and the nature of its brutal beheadings. Hamas is notorious for its deliberate falsifications, and inaccurate figures of casualties, as objective journalists now know. 

Yet, Mershaal is wrong. Hamas and ISIS are similar entities, Islamist extremist groups springing from the guidance of the Muslim Brotherhood. The degree of their brutality and ruthlessness is indistinguishable. The horror of ISIS is now recognized internationally after the beheading of American journalist James Foley. The horror of Hamas should be equally recognized.

First, its objectives, stated both in the Hamas Charter and by its leaders, including the political leader Ismail Haniyeh, should be acknowledged. They assert, “we will never recognize the usurper Zionist government and will continue our jihad-like movement until the liberation of Palestine.” For Hamas, Palestine is from the sea to the river. To achieve this result the gun “is our only response to the Zionist regime… no compromise should be made with the enemy.”

Tactically, Hamas puts its own civilians at risk by using them as human shields. Of the more than 4000 rockets and mortar shells fired against Israel in 2014, more than half have come from civilian areas, including at least two schools run by UNRWA. Hamas has also brutally beaten Gaza civilians who leave their homes after Israelis have warned them of attacks. Astonishingly, Hamas appears, for public relations purposes, to want Palestinians to die in their homes,

After denying it for several months, the Hamas leadership finally on August 21, 2014 admitted it was members of Hamas in the West Bank who were responsible for the kidnapping and coldblooded murder of three Israeli teenage students, though its political bureau originally denied that it had approved the incident. The religious figure Sheikh Saleh a-Arouri, praised the murder as “a blessed heroic action.”

The Hamas leadership similarly not only acknowledged but was proud to show the world that it had executed 21 people “suspected” of spying for Israel. It is instructive that these individuals were not tried or convicted in any court of anything. Nevertheless, 11 were executed at a police station, and seven, heads covered and hands tied, were shot by masked men outside a mosque. At least two of the victims were women.

The danger of Hamas is increasing. It is more sophisticated militarily than previously believed, as shown by the large number of tunnels it built since it has been the occupier and controlling government of the Gaza Strip. The sophistication is even more apparent now that Hamas has shown it is able to identify the time and place of visits of Israel political and military leaders to areas near the Gaza Strip. They have fired rockets and mortar shells at kibbutzim when officials were visiting. Whether information about those visits is being leaked to Hamas, or whether they are carefully observing Israeli military activity and movement in the area, is open to question.

It should be the policy of the U.S. Administration and of the democratic countries of the world to react to the Islamist ruthlessness of Hamas and its refusal to stop the onslaught against Israel. Two other things are relevant. In the continuing turmoil of the Arab world, one thing is clear, the fact that the country of Qatar is the main sponsor of Islamist terrorism in the world. As a result of manipulation and some corruption Qatar was awarded the honor of being the host of the FIFA World Cup, the influential football tournament, in 2022. The U.S. administration should take the lead in attempting to rescind the award unless Qatar ends that sponsorship of Hamas.

Also, in view of the strange demand by Hamas that the Palestinian Authority go to the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israel for war crimes, retribution can be taken. This demand gives the U.S. and other freedom-loving countries the opportunity to indict Hamas for the war crimes it has committed. Hamas must not be allowed to continue its path of destruction and to leave Israel and the world in fear.