The New Hamas Charter Is About West Bank Politics, Not Ideology

April 14 2017

Earlier this month, the terrorist organization’s recently revised charter was published in the Lebanese media. The document, according to Pinḥas Inbari, moderates some of the original version’s most strident and hate-filled declarations, but doesn’t indicate any change in the movement’s goals. Even so, however, it has been rejected by Hamas leaders in Gaza:

To understand [the controversy], we must go back to the Seventh Fatah convention, where Jibril Rajoub—a senior operative in Fatah’s Tanzim militia—placed first [in elections], just behind the honorary place reserved for Marwan Barghouti, who is currently [in an Israeli prison] serving five life sentences for murder without the possibility of release. The convention was funded by Qatar, which harbors Khaled Meshal, the chairman of Hamas’s political bureau. The intent [of the convention] was for Rajoub to inherit the leadership from Mahmoud Abbas and invite Meshal to lead with him, thereby allowing Hamas access to the West Bank via the PLO.

Indeed, a significant part of the new Hamas charter discusses rehabilitating the PLO and Hamas joining it. . . . However, Hamas in Gaza is unwilling to recognize the PLO . . . and thus is not willing to recognize the new Hamas plant.

Many Israelis who are seeking any sign of Palestinian moderation will be delighted that such a document has been published at all. Yet, even in this new guise, Hamas is still sworn to Israel’s destruction, even without explicitly saying so. Hamas is devoted to war with Israel and therefore is opposed to any security cooperation with it. But all this is said in softer words than the old, blatantly anti-Semitic charter.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Fatah, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Khaled Meshal, Palestinian Authority, West Bank


The Danger of Hollow Fixes to the Iran Deal

March 20 2018

In January, the Trump administration announced a 120-day deadline for the so-called “E3”—Britain, France, and Germany—to agree to solutions for certain specific flaws in the 2015 agreement to limit the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. Omri Ceren explains why it’s necessary to get these fixes right:

[Already in October], the administration made clear that it considered the deal fatally flawed for at least three reasons: a weak inspections regime in which the UN’s nuclear watchdog can’t access Iranian military facilities, an unacceptable arrangement whereby the U.S. had to give up its most powerful sanctions against ballistic missiles even as Iran was allowed to develop ballistic missiles, and the fact that the deal’s eventual expiration dates mean Iran will legally be allowed to get within a hair’s breadth of a nuclear weapon. . . .

A team of American negotiators has been working on getting the E3 to agree to a range of fixes, and is testing whether there is overlap between the maximum that the Europeans can give and the minimum that President Trump will accept. The Europeans in turn are testing the Iranians to gauge their reactions and will likely not accept any fixes that would cause Iran to bolt.

The negotiations are problematic. The New York Times reported that, as far as the Europeans are concerned, the exercise requires convincing Trump they’ve “changed the deal without actually changing it.” Public reports about the inspection fix suggest that the Europeans are loath to go beyond urging the International Atomic Energy Commission to request inspections, which the agency may be too intimidated to do. The ballistic-missile fix is shaping up to be a political disaster, with the Europeans refusing to incorporate anything but long-range missiles in the deal. That would leave us with inadequate tools to counter Iran’s development of ballistic missiles that could be used to wipe Israel, the Saudis, and U.S. regional bases off the map. . . .

There is a [significant] risk the Trump administration may be pushed to accept the hollow fixes acceptable to the Europeans. Fixing the deal in this way would be the worst of all worlds. It would functionally enshrine the deal under a Republican administration. Iran would be open for business, and this time there would be certainty that a future president will not act to reverse the inevitable gold rush. Just as no deal would have been better than a bad deal, so no fix would be better than a bad fix.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Donald Trump, Europe, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy