Hamas Renews Its Annihilationist Jihad
Tuesday, 11/13/12, after participating in a remarkable conference on the Benghazi debacle in Washington, D.C., I was privileged to brief Representative Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), his staff, and other interested parties, highlighting salient points from my recently published book, Sharia Versus Freedom.
This briefing took place against the backdrop of ongoing rocket fire by jihad terrorists in Hamas-controlled Gaza, aimed at civilian targets in southern Israel. That same day (11/13/12), the (then) intermittent rocket barrages prompted Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, to address a letter of complaint to United Nations (U.N.) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and to the U.N. Security Council. Noting, appropriately, that Israel viewed Hamas as bearing sole responsibility for these acts of jihad terror emanating from Gaza, Ambassador Prosor wrote:
Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza have fired more than 150 rockets in recent days. Civilians and many Israeli soldiers have been wounded and damage has been caused to property. More than one million citizens live under the constant threat of terrorism. This situation must stop.
The next day, Wednesday, 11/14/12, responding to an escalating tempo of these jihadist rocket attacks, Israel launched "Operation Pillar of Defense," assassinating Ahmed Al-Jabari, the head of Hamas's military wing (i.e., the so-called Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, named after the 1930s-era murderous jihadist "martyr" prototype). A statement issued by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Yoav Mordechai noted:
By continuously smuggling weapons, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have turned Gaza into a frontline Iranian outpost[.] ... [Jabari's] killing sends a message to Hamas elements in Gaza that if they continue to promote terror activity against the State of Israel -- they will be terminated.
As per data published by the Israel IDF on Saturday night (11/17/12), when the fourth day of Operation Pillar of Defense concluded, 824 rockets had been fired at Israel. Almost 200 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel's southern coastal region during the continuous 24-hour jihad terror campaign which followed the IDF's targeted killing of Ahmed Jabari. Approximately 9 a.m. Thursday (11/15/12) morning, two men and a woman -- Ahron Smadga, Yitzchak Amselam, and Mirah Scharf (25 years old and expecting), members of the Chabad community -- were killed after one of these rockets struck their apartment building in the city of Kiryat Malakhi (located 11 miles from Ashkelon, with a population of about 21,000), in Israel's southern district. An infant and several children were among the wounded who were taken to nearby hospitals.
In stark contrast, despite the deliberate efforts of Gazan jihadists to embed themselves amongst Gaza's civilian population and/or religious infrastructure (see this exquisitely targeted Israeli missile strike which destroyed an underground launcher site in the backyard of a mosque without damaging the ostensibly religious structure), callously generating additional, non-combatant "martyrs," Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu emphasized at his weekly cabinet meeting Sunday (11/18/12) how Israel was doing everything it could to avoid harming Gazan civilians, whereas jihadist organizations in Gaza were doing their utmost to strike Israeli civilian targets.
Yaakov Lappin, a military and national security analyst for the Jerusalem Post, opined (Sunday, 11/18/12) that the IDF "fully expected" Hamas to concentrate its civilian assault on the less densely populated southern coastal areas bordering Gaza, because the anti-missile defense "Iron Dome batteries have created an aerial blanket over Israel's cities, sparing Israel many casualties and scenes of mayhem." Re-affirming sentiments expressed by Prime Minister Netanyahu, Lappin maintained, however, that ongoing rocket salvos on Israel's cities would be countered with "increasingly firm steps," including, potentially, a "ground offensive" comprising the Israeli infantry brigades, armored vehicles, and support elements amassing on the Gazan border. But even an otherwise informed, sober analyst like Lappin also claimed (emphasis added):
Hamas may ... decide to keep to its jihadi ideology, and keep up appearances among the terror factions of Gaza, by continuing its war on Israeli civilians.
Lappin's brief assessment of Hamas's embrace of "jihadi ideology" as a seemingly evanescent, malleable phenomenon reveals a common, dangerous misconception about jihad. In fact, the institution of jihad holds permanent relevance to the Arab and larger global Muslim umma's conflict with Israel, in particular, and non-Muslim (especially Western) societies in general. Moreover, another feature of the Muslim umma's conflict with Israel specifically, epitomized by Hamas yet ignored in analyses such as Lappin's, is the centrality of Islam's theological Jew-hatred, including the Muslim creed's Jew-annihilationist eschatology (i.e., end-times theology).
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW)'s reports (here, here) on Operation Pillar of Defense, which include examples of Hamas's Islamic doctrine as iterated by the popular slain jihadist leader Ahmed Jabari, and even an 11/17/12 analysis by the Associated Press (AP) expose the glaring deficiencies of "regional conflict assessments" which ignore jihadism and Islamic Jew-hatred.
Thus, the AP acknowledged that despite having its installations "pounded" by the IDF, Hamas (which the AP, with rare candor, correctly identified as a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate) had achieved:
... diplomatic gains after years of painful isolation. Arab states in the region, particularly Egypt and Tunisia where Arab Spring uprisings swept the Brotherhood to power, are under popular pressure at home to support embattled Gazans. The Egyptian prime minister visited Friday, followed by the Tunisian foreign minister Saturday. The Arab League said it is sending a contingent of foreign ministers to Gaza in coming days.
The AP's assessment emphasized how the "Arab Spring" Muslim Brotherhood ascendancy -- which removed more secularized, Western-leaning regimes (notably in Egypt and Tunisia) -- markedly changed regional diplomatic dynamics.
During the last Israel-Hamas war, a pro-Western regime deeply suspicious of Hamas was in charge in Egypt, traditionally the regional mediator between Israel and the Arab world.
Hamas deputy foreign minister Ghazi ("holy warrior") Hamad offered these apposite observations about the recent visits to the region by Muslim diplomats:
... the Arab and Islamic nations are with us...and this will give a very strong message and signal to the international community and even to Israel[.]
Jabari, both a member of Hamas's political bureau and the leader of its military wing since 2002, had actively promoted homicide bombings and other acts of jihad terrorism against Israel. He was also Hamas's chief negotiator during the negotiations to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, whom Hamas had captured and incarcerated. Born in 1960 in a Gazan village, Jabari was designated "the military chief of staff of Hamas" by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Israeli forces arrested Jabari in 1982, then a member of Fatah. Jabari spent thirteen years in an Israeli prison, where he changed his allegiance to Hamas. Upon release from prison in 1995, Jabari ascended rapidly through the ranks of Hamas's military wing -- the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades -- being "rewarded" for his prominent role in several terrorist attacks against Israel, such as a 1998 terror attack on a school bus that killed two Israeli children. In 2002, Jabari assumed command of Hamas's military wing after the former commander was injured in an Israeli strike. In 2006, Jabari oversaw the capture of Israeli solider Gilad Shalit.
The apotheosis of a jihad martyrdom culture, PMW has translated these pronouncements which captured Jabari's Islamic Weltanschauung:
The Jew who comes to the soil of Palestine is a murderer, a criminal, a thief and an occupier. That is the Jew we are fighting[.] ... [I]f he comes to the soil of Palestine - then he is fighting us, and we will fight him and kill him on the soil of Palestine [Al-Jazeera, July 3, 2006]
Brave Jihad fighters, you sacrifice your souls for the sake of Allah... until the rats (i.e., Israelis) return to their holes. Today, Gaza [was liberated by Hamas]. Tomorrow, Allah willing, Jerusalem. Tomorrow, the West Bank. Tomorrow, Haifa, Jaffa, and Tel Aviv (Israeli cities) ... until the liberation of the homeland, all of Palestine. [Hamas's website, Jan. 1, 2006]
Praise Allah, the Jihad fighters who manufacture [rockets] have obtained this technology that can precisely strike the city of Sderot (town in southern Israel) and other places in the 48 territories (i.e., Israel). [Hamas' website, Jan. 2006]
[Female suicide bomber] Reem Riyashi's operation (i.e., jihad terror attack) led to a major change in the Jihad operations regarding the participation of women. Therefore, [a Palestinian] mother no longer stops her son when he goes on Ribat and Jihad (religious war). [Hamas's website, Jan. 2006]
Hard data confirm how the overwhelming preponderance of Palestinian Muslims -- not only Gazans, but those residing the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria -- share Jabari's implacable, murderous jihadism and Jew-hatred.
During July 2011, American pollster Stanley Greenberg reported the findings from what was described as an "intensive, face-to-face survey in Arabic of 1,010 Palestinian adults in Judea-Samaria, and the Gaza Strip."
Here are the two most salient, pathognomonic survey results which validate my contention that Jabari's Weltanschauung is the prevailing Palestinian Muslim worldview vis-à-vis Israel and Jews.
First, 73% of the Palestinians surveyed agree with the annihilationist dictates of this canonical hadith (the words and deeds of Islam's prophet Muhammad, which have a weight often equal to the Koran; specifically, Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6985), quoted in the Hamas Covenant.
As characterized in the hadith, Muslim eschatology highlights the Jews' supreme hostility to Islam. Jews are described as adherents of the Dajjâl -- the Muslim equivalent of the Anti-Christ -- or, according to another tradition, the Dajjâl is himself Jewish. At his appearance, other traditions maintain that the Dajjâl will be accompanied by 70,000 Jews from Isfahan, or Jerusalem, wrapped in their robes and armed with polished sabers, their heads covered with a sort of veil. When the Dajjâl is defeated, his Jewish companions will be slaughtered -- everything will deliver them up except for the so-called gharkad tree, as per the canonical hadith (Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6985) included in the 1988 Hamas Covenant (in article 7). The hadith -- which three-fourths of those surveyed agree should be acted upon -- is cited in the Covenant as a sacralized, obligatory call for a Muslim genocide of the Jews:
... the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to realize the promise of Allah, no matter how long it takes. The Prophet, Allah's prayer and peace be upon him, says: "The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: 'Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him,' except for the Gharqad tree, for it is the tree of the Jews." (Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6985)
Second, 80% agreed with the quoted sentiments expressed in article 15 of the Hamas Covenant (subtitled "Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine is a Personal Duty"), which describes classical jihadist theory -- including jihad martyrdom (i.e., homicide bombing) operations -- as well as its practical modern application to the destruction of Israel by jihad and the need to recruit the entire global Muslim community, or "umma," in this quintessential Islamic cause:
The day the enemies conquer some part of the Muslim land, jihad becomes a personal duty of every Muslim. In the face of the Jewish occupation of Palestine, it is necessary to raise the banner of jihad. This requires the propagation of Islamic consciousness among the masses, locally [in Palestine], in the Arab world and in the Islamic world. It is necessary to instill the spirit of jihad in the nation, engage the enemies and join the ranks of the jihad fighters. The indoctrination campaign must involve ulama, educators, teachers and information and media experts, as well as all intellectuals, especially the young people and the sheikhs of Islamic movements[.]
It is necessary to establish in the minds of all the Muslim generations that the Palestinian issue is a religious issue, and that it must be dealt with as such, for [Palestine] contains Islamic holy places, [namely] the Al-Aqsa mosque, which is inseparably connected, for as long as heaven and earth shall endure, to the holy mosque of Mecca through the Prophet's nocturnal journey [from the mosque of Mecca to the Al-Aqsa mosque] and through his ascension to heaven thence. "Being stationed on the frontier for the sake of Allah for one day is better than this [entire] world and everything in it; and the place taken up in paradise by the [horseman's] whip of any one of you [jihad fighters] is better than this [entire] world and everything in it. Every evening [operation] and morning [operation] performed by Muslims for the sake of Allah is better than this [entire] world and everything in it." (Recorded in the Hadith collections of Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi and Ibn Maja). "By the name of Him who holds Muhammad's soul in His hand, I wish to launch an attack for the sake of Allah and be killed and attack again and be killed and attack again and be killed." (Recorded in the Hadith collections of Bukhari and Muslim)
Returning to my didactic yet informal and interactive congressional briefing session on 11/13/12, Congressman Gohmert made a singularly astute contextual reference to Hamas's latest paroxysm of aggressive jihad violence -- namely, their deliberately targeting Israeli non-combatants. Displaying a keen awareness of the jihad terror organization's broader anti-Western, anti-infidel religio-political motivations -- wisdom shared by precious few of his uninformed, willfully blind congressional colleagues -- Representative Gohmert read aloud these extracts quoted in Sharia Versus Freedom from an April 11, 2008 sermon by Hamas cleric and "Parliamentarian" Yunus al-Astal:
Very soon, Allah willing, Rome will be conquered, just like Constantinople was, as was prophesized by our prophet Muhammad. Today, Rome is the capital of the Catholics, or the Crusader capital, which has declared its hostility to Islam, and has planted the brothers of apes and pigs [i.e., Jews, Koran 2:65, 5:60, and 7:166, and other foundational Muslim texts] in Palestine in order to prevent the reawakening of Islam -- this capital of theirs [Rome] will be an advanced post for the Islamic conquests, which will spread through Europe in its entirety, and then will turn to the two Americas, and even Eastern Europe. I believe that our children or our grandchildren will inherit our Jihad.
Yunus al-Astal's words debunk widely accepted tropes that Hamas is merely a nationalist movement, albeit religious, desiring a "Palestinian homeland" in the territories of Gaza (which it already possesses), Judea, and Samaria. Hamas's blatantly annihilationist rhetoric toward Jews and Israel within the 1949 armistice borders indicates that the jihadist organization wishes to replace Israel. Why then, in addition to the monotonous rhetoric of Jew-hatred, the unabashed expression of Hamas's will to wage global jihad? (This Jew-hatred, by the way, is Islamic, and specifically Koranic, in origin; thus, Koran 3:112 is featured before the preamble to Hamas's covenant -- it is literally part of the very first statement of the document. Here is the standard Arberry translation of 3:112: "Abasement shall be pitched on them, wherever they are come upon, except they be in a bond of God, and a bond of the people; they will be laden with the burden of God's anger, and poverty shall be pitched on them; that, because they disbelieved in God's signs, and slew the Prophets without right; that, for that they acted rebelliously and were transgressors.")
Not only is Hamas's covenant, issued in 1988, redolent with Islamic Jew-hatred and jihadism, but it also expressly integrates this jihad terror organization into the largest Sunni Muslim jihadist movement: the Muslim Brotherhood. It is this nexus -- Hamas's connection to the Muslim Brotherhood, mainstream Islam's most important movement, which has deep roots and extraordinary popularity among the global Muslim masses -- that explains the closely related phenomena of Islamic Jew-hatred and the jihad against Israel, the United States, and indeed all outposts of Western civilization.
Representative Louie Gohmert understands these integrally related phenomena. The trahison de clercs of our era is that almost none of his congressional or senatorial colleagues share that critical insight.