Hamas apologists, such as U.K. Labor party leader Jeremy Corbyn, dismiss the importance of the Hamas charter by pointing at the “charter of Likud” and implying that it is equally evil.
I am not a Likud supporter. If I were an Israeli voter, I would likely vote for a centrist party such as Yesh Atid or a center-left party such as the Labor party. My interest in the Hamas charter versus the “Likud charter” analogy is due to the fact that its ultimate target is not the Likud but Israel.
The one and only similarity between the Hamas charter and the “Likud charter” (see note 1) is that the Hamas charter aims to take over land that is internationally recognized as belonging to Israel (i.e., within the pre-1967 borders) while the “Likud charter” aims to annex land recognized internationally as Palestinian land, although not part of a recognized state:
- The Hamas charter states that Hamas wants “the liberation of Palestine” and “strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine”.
- The “Likud charter” states that the Likud supports “Safeguarding the right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel as an eternal, inalienable right, working diligently to settle and develop all parts of the land of Israel, and extending national sovereignty to them”.
This lone similarity is further weakened by the Hamas charter’s admission that “Palestine” exists only as a result of violent conquest: “the soil of Palestine, ever since it was conquered by the companions of the Prophet” and “land the Moslems have conquered by force”. That conquest never resulted in the creation of an internationally recognized and independent state of “Palestine”, so the Likud claim over the “Land of Israel” is justified by them as taking back 3000-years-old Jewish land conquered by invaders who used violent and illegitimate means.
A further weakening of this similarity is caused by Islamic scholars who point to a section of the Quran acknowledging Israel as the home of the Jews, thereby invalidating Hamas’ interpretation of the Quran as endorsing their claim over “Palestine”.
This is the extent of the similarities. The differences, however, are massive.
Type of government:
- The Hamas charter aims to impose “Islamic Sharia (law)” on “Palestine”, and it states, “Any procedure in contradiction to Islamic Sharia, where Palestine is concerned, is null and void” and “Peace and quiet would not be possible except under the wing of Islam”. Hamas apologists betray the Palestinians when they ignore the Hamas ideology of death as conveyed in the charter. What do people like Corbyn think would happen if Hamas is able to “liberate Palestine”? The tyranny that the residents of Gaza live under would be extended to all of “Palestine”.
- The Likud and its “charter” have always respected the Israeli liberal democratic system of government. In fact, the “Likud charter” pledges, “Maintaining a democratic form of government: guaranteeing the supremacy of law, human and civil rights, freedom of conscience, individual freedoms, equal rights and opportunities of all citizens of the state and preventing discrimination on the grounds of gender, race, ethnic origin, religion, status, or viewpoint” and “Integrating minority populations into the national and party organizations”.
Love versus Hatred:
- The Hamas charter is very explicit in promoting hatred towards Jews and other “infidels” (see note 2).
- The “Likud charter” talks about “cultivating love of the country in the hearts of the people”, and it displays no hatred towards other nations or religions.
Use of violence to achieve territorial conquest:
- Hamas has repeatedly shown its willingness to use terrorism, to sacrifice the lives of Palestinians, and even to indoctrinate and abuse children in order to destroy Israel and replace it with an Islamic Caliphate. Since the full and voluntary evacuation of Israelis from Gaza in 2005, in between daily rocket attacks and other acts of violence against Israeli civilians inside Israel’s internationally recognized borders, Hamas has initiated three wars against Israel for that stated goal.
- The Likud has only used non-violent means (albeit illegal means in the eyes of many in the international community) towards its goal of “safeguarding the right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel”, which consist of building houses for Israelis, both Jews and non-Jews. If the Likud had wanted to violently take over the West Bank and Gaza and subjugate its residents to complete Israeli control, it could have done so since the IDF has the requisite military capability. Instead, the Likud government has respected the Olso accord signed by the Labor government of Yitzhak Rabin, it has shown no inclination towards re-invading Gaza, it has been reluctant to send IDF troops into Gaza to defend against terrorist attacks, and it is more reluctant than the Labor opposition to destroy the terror tunnels that Hamas is building with the aid money earmarked for civilian reconstruction.
- Hamas has never accepted a two-state solution, in theory or in practice. False reports that its leader had accepted it were later denied by Hamas. In one of its more recent statements on this topic, Hamas reiterated that “it would never accept the two-state solution or give up ‘one inch of the land of Palestine’”. Beyond Hamas’ words, its rejection of a two-state solution is reflected in its actions. Israeli Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh showed that recent events prove that Hamas’ goal is still “the total destruction of Israel” and that it has no plan to “reject its own charter and accept a two-state solution”. Abu Toameh wrote, “Forever looming, of course, is the illusion that Abbas will be able to persuade Hamas to abandon its aim to destroy Israel. Hamas will never exchange its attack tunnels for PA cabinet portfolios.”
- While the “Likud charter” pledges to safeguard “the right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel”, during his tenure as Prime Minister, its leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, has taken steps in the direction of a two-state solution – even though he does not believe that it is a realistic objective in the short term due to the unfavorable conditions on the Palestinian side (an assessment that I agree with). One of Bibi’s most recent statements on this topic was that he still wishes to see “two states for two peoples, a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes a Jewish state”. Bibi’s government even implemented a 10-month settlements freeze, and he released Palestinian criminals in an attempt to entice the reluctant Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas into peace talks.
Dishonest attempt at moral equivalency
Even if all these differences between the Hamas charter and the “Likud charter” did not exist, that still would not indicate an equivalence between Palestinian and Israeli attitudes towards a two-state solution. This is because Hamas has totalitarian authority over Gaza, and it would violently establish the same dictatorship over any land vacated by Israel. The Likud, on the other hand, is one of many parties in Israel, and like other Israeli parties, it respects Israel’s peaceful democratic institutions, it participates lawfully in elections, it forms legitimate coalitions with other parties, and it respects the lengths of its electoral mandates.
It is abundantly clear that there is no moral equivalency between the Hamas charter and the “Likud charter”, and there is even less moral equivalency between the Palestinian and Israeli sides of the conflict. This is yet another attempt by anti-Semites to mislead people into supporting an anti-Israel agenda that is not based on concrete or defensible evidence.
I write “Likud charter” in double quotes because there is no actual document with that name. There is a Likud constitution, and its Hebrew version is available online. There is no official English version, but Daily Kos provides a translation. Since Daily Kos is hostile to the Likud, referring to it as a “despicable organization”, it is reasonable to assume that the translation it provides is not meant to show the Likud in a good light, therefore any negative parts of that constitution are very likely to have been included. The website Likud Anglos also provides a translation of the Likud constitution, and it is almost exactly the same as the Daily Kos translation, suggesting that one website copied the text from the other or that they both obtained it from the same source.
Hatred in the Hamas charter:
- Introduction: “Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious”.
- Article 7: “The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said: ‘The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews’”.
- Article 15: “In face of the Jews’ usurpation of Palestine, it is compulsory that the banner of Jihad be raised”.
- Article 20: “In their Nazi treatment, the Jews made no exception for women or children”.
- Article 22: “The day Islam appears, the forces of infidelity would unite to challenge it, for the infidels are of one nation”.
- Article 28: “We should not forget to remind every Moslem that when the Jews conquered the Holy City in 1967”, and “Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Moslem people”.
- Article 32: “The Movement adds its efforts to the efforts of all those who are active in the Palestinian arena. Arab and Islamic Peoples should augment by further steps on their part; Islamic groupings all over the Arab world should also do the same, since all of these are the best-equipped for the future role in the fight with the warmongering Jews”.
- Article 34: “Our word hath formerly been given unto our servants the apostles; that they should certainly be assisted against the infidels, and that our armies should surely be the conquerors”.