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.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

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


Syria’s Downing of a Russian Plane Put Israel in the Crosshairs

Sept. 21 2018

On Monday, Israeli jets fired missiles at an Iranian munitions storehouse in the northwestern Syrian city of Latakia. Shortly thereafter, Syrian personnel shot down a Russian surveillance plane with surface-to-air missiles, in what seems to be a botched and highly incompetent response to the Israeli attack. Moscow first responded by blaming Jerusalem for the incident, but President Putin then offered more conciliatory statements. Yesterday, Russian diplomats again stated that Israel was at fault. Yoav Limor comments:

What was unusual [about the Israeli] strike was the location: Latakia [is] close to Russian forces, in an area where the IDF hasn’t been active for some time. The strike itself was routine; the IDF notified the Russian military about it in advance, the missiles were fired remotely, the Israeli F-16s returned to base unharmed, and as usual, Syrian antiaircraft missiles were fired indiscriminately in every direction, long after the strike itself was over. . . .

Theoretically, this is a matter between Russia and Syria. Russia supplied Syria with the SA-5 [missile] batteries that wound up shooting down its plane, and now it must demand explanations from Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. That won’t happen; Russia was quick to blame Israel for knocking over the first domino, and as usual, sent conflicting messages that make it hard to parse its future strategy. . . .

From now on, Russia will [almost certainly] demand a higher level of coordination with Israel and limits on the areas in which Israel can attack, and possibly a commitment to refrain from certain actions. Syria, Iran, and Hizballah will try to drag Russia into “handling” Israel and keeping it from continuing to carry out strikes in the region. Israel . . . will blame Iran, Hizballah, and Syria for the incident, and say they are responsible for the mess.

But Israel needs to take rapid action to minimize damage. It is in Israel’s strategic interest to keep up its offensive actions to the north, mainly in Syria. If that action is curtailed, Israel’s national security will be compromised. . . . No one in Israel, and certainly not in the IDF or the Israel Air Force, wants Russia—which until now hasn’t cared much about Israel’s actions—to turn hostile, and Israel needs to do everything to prevent that from happening. Even if that means limiting its actions for the time being. . . . Still, make no mistake: Russia is angry and has to explain its actions to its people. Israel will need to walk a thin line between protecting its own security interests and avoiding a very unwanted clash with Russia.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Russia, Syrian civil war