Hamas Doctrine: Detest Israel – Part III

Hamas Doctrine: Detest Israel – Part III – of three

Hamas – principles for the liberation of Palestine and Jihad against Zionism

Introduction: Anyone who believes that Hamas’ current fundamental beliefs are flexible enough to recognize Israel or that the organization will give up arms as a long-term political concession is simply naïve. As it has in the past Hamas may accept a tahdi’a or calming down of tensions, or even a temporary truce or hudna, negotiated by a third party, but for it to accept Israel as a reality is totally contrary to its ideological outlook. “Removing/ending occupation” for Hamas means Israel’s destruction. This collection of remarks by Hamas officials and representatives makes that case.

Just as al-Qaeda seeks the total destruction of western democracies, Hamas seeks Israel’s total demise.

Since its inception in 1988, Hamas has been crystal clear about its opposition to Zionism and Israel. It opposes any kind of negotiations or agreements that recognize Israel’s reality. Its more extreme spokesmen regularly offer incendiary remarks about Jews. Hamas has opposed all agreements and cooperation which either the PLO or the Palestinian Authority have signed with Israel. Hamas opposes any Palestinian or other Arab leader or state that recognizes Israel or Jews as a national identity. As it has most recently through Cairo, Hamas has accepted ceasefires with Israel through intermediaries in order to “buy time,” rearm and refurbish its capacity to rule, and to fight another day, but never to move toward acceptance or recognition of Israel. Over time, key leaders like Khaled Meshal, Ismail Haniyeh, Mahmoud al-Zahhar and others have been crystal clear that neither they nor Hamas will disarm nor give up militant action. They believe that all of the land west of the Jordan River belongs to them. Hamas does not equivocate in its outlook about its vision for tomorrow; all of its horizons require Israel’s destruction. Hamas seeks support from virtually any external source that will provide it diplomatic support, arms, training, and funding. The third of these collection of comments, like the previous two is remarkable for the consistency in views expressed by Hamas leaders who remain true to the contents stipulated in Hamas’s August 1988 Charter.

Hamas principles for the liberation of Palestine and Jihad against Zionism – Part III

October 1994: “The principles of Hamas are genuine and are determined by two things. First, the Islamic faith and principles, to which it adheres and which are derived from the Holy Koran; and second, the interests of the Palestinian people alone. Therefore, Hamas’ decisions are made by Hamas itself. Hamas’ organization, power, and leadership are inside the occupied territories. Undoubtedly, the battle against the Zionist is a cultural one. Hamas now represents the first phase of that war and we are certain that the Muslims and Arabs will sooner or later join us and liberate this area, just as it was liberated by Salah-al-Din more than eight centuries ago.” al-Quds (Palestinian Arab Radio), October 14, 1994.

November 1996: “Hamas’ jihad plan is the plan of a nation and not that of a movement. However, Hamas has decided to focus on this plan and has produced the program and mechanisms for this plan. Neither Hamas nor the Palestinian people as a whole can end the jihad and the fighting against the occupation, as long as the occupation is still there and continues its arrogance and injustice on the ground against the people and their rights.” Shaykh Jamal Mansur,Hamas leader in the West Bank, as quoted in London Filastin al-Muslimah, November 1996, pp. 12-14; quoted from Daily Report, FBIS-NESA, November 1, 1996.

April 1997: “They [the PA] openly say that their objective is to relinquish around 90 percent of the land of Palestine. ‘Shall I give them a chance to achieve it?” he asked. “Islam does not permit giving up one inch of Palestine and states that Palestine belongs to the Moslems, belongs to the Palestinian people, not to the Jews,” Rantisi said in al-Hayat, 22 April 1997. “This is the Islamic position, which says that if one inch of the Moslems’ land is occupied they must liberate it. Does Islam allow me to go along with the conspiracy against the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause and call this peace and coexist with it? I firmly believe that Islam does not allow this. When they speak of Oslo, they speak of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza with [East] Jerusalem as its capital while giving up the rest of Palestine. Oslo boils down to relinquishing Palestine, plus wishes which they call ‘a Palestinian state’.” Rantisi made similar remarks to al-Quds al-Arabi, adding: “My position is that I agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state on any [liberated] part of Palestine, but without giving up any part in exchange. This is liberation. But bartering land for land to which I am entitled is not liberation and is not permissible in Islam.” Hamas leader Abd al-Azziz Rantisi; quoted from Daily Report, FBIS-NESA, April 24, 1997.

October 1997: “….the objective aim is the liberation of Palestine. Our aim is to carry out jihad for the sake of God. [We are]…determined to continue along this path until the liberation of the last inch of Palestine. Hamas has its own strategy and political platform, through which it expresses the Palestinian people’s concerns and rights. It believes that this strategy is the only way for liberating Palestinian soil, which we do not find in the Oslo Agreement. Hamas’ approach is religious. Hence, reality cannot be correlated to Hamas without paying attention to this fact, because Hamas adheres to its Islamic principles; and these will not be changed by political reality, which has begun to confirm the veracity of Hamas’ perception of affairs.   Hamas’ perception of the Oslo Agreement and its failure, as well as Hamas’ prediction of the Agreement’s fate, proved true just as was fully anticipated. We are seeing that what Hamas said about Oslo is being realized today. According to the Oslo Agreement, we are supposed to regain 13 percent of the Palestinian territories. Even this has not been realized.

Hamas does not act nor operate inside or from the PA areas. It has other ways and means of operation which it will seek to preserve. When the intifadah erupted the power of Hamas was 2 percent, now it is 100 percent following ‘the jihad capital’ and the support that it derived among the Palestinian people’s ranks.

I believe that political dialogue with the PA is useless and a waste of time, because each of us has his own political program. But we welcome dialogue over issues pertaining to daily life with the aim of arranging the domestic Palestinian home, avoiding bloodshed and civil war, and continuing to organize affairs relating to people’s lives. The PA has its political commitments and clear perception of the Oslo Agreement. We have our Islamic commitments, which are affirmed by the principles of Hamas. Is it conceivable that we converge politically without one party relinquishing its position? Positions are prepared in advance. I do not believe that we will meet halfway. Each party has its own political program and plan. Hamas will not be harmed by maintaining its perspective and political program for as long as it takes. We will not give up our principles for which we have sacrificed. This is the crystal clear stance of Hamas.” Hamas leader ‘Abd-al-‘Aziz al-Rantisi, spokesman for the Islamic Resistance Movement, as quoted from Amman al-Sabil, September 30, 1997, p. 16; quoted from Daily Report, FBIS-NESA, October 2,1997.

April 2001: “The option of resistance and Jihad [struggle] is the only one that will force the Zionists to leave. The relationship with the enemy should not be one of negotiation or cooperation, but one of confrontation and resistance. We base our strategy on the following principles: (1) The option of resistance and Jihad [struggle] is the only one that will force the Zionists to leave. (2) The relationship with the enemy should not be one of negotiation or cooperation, but one of confrontation and resistance. (3) Ties between the Palestinian cause and its Arab and Moslem extensions must be strengthened, since the Palestinian cause doesn’t only concern the Palestinian people. The struggle against Israel is a clash between two civilizations for which the Arab nation must mobilize all its potential. As far as we in Hamas are concerned, we have never declared that we intend to stop our armed struggle against the occupation, negotiations or no negotiations.” Excerpts of Interview with Ismail Haniyeh, who was then the secretary to Hamas leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yasin) Falastin al-Muslimah, April 17, 2001.

March 2002: “Neither (George) Tenet nor (George) Mitchell can solve the Palestinian issue. They are just sedatives because only the liberation of the land and the Palestinian people’s return to their homeland and holy places can solve our issue. We will not lay down arms and no authority or people can hand over their weapons before liberation. We say liberation first and then disarmament. Anything else comes under the US-Israeli plot to isolate the Palestinians and impose the defective solutions on them. And this is something we absolutely refuse to accept.” Shakyh Ahmed Yasin, Hamas spiritual leader, al-Majallah (London), March 31, 2002

March 2005: “If Hamas enters the [PA] government, it is ready to accept a long term truce and keep the conflict open. …The issue does not necessarily have to be settled by this generation. There are countries that remained under occupation for long years. …Therefore, if our generation cannot act, it must not make concessions.” Mahmoud al-Zahhar, al-Jezirah (satellite television), March 20, 2005.

December 2011: “The principles [of Hamas] are definitive and non-negotiable: Palestine means Palestine in its entirety, from the River to the Sea. There will be no concession of a single inch of the land of Palestine. The fact that Hamas, at one stage or another, accepts the goal of gradual liberation – of Gaza, of the West Bank, or of Jerusalem – is not at the expense of our strategic vision with regard to the land of Palestine. We will work with our people with regard to the things upon which we agree politically, and we will exert all our efforts and our power of resistance to achieve this common goal. However, we maintain two conditions – as I am sure do many of our people, as well as the factions of the mujahideen and the resistance: first, that we will not concede a single inch of the land of Palestine, and second, that we will not recognize Israel.” Remarks by Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, Al-Aqsa TV, December 14, 2011.

December 2012:Palestine is ours from the river to the sea and from the south to the north. There will be no concession on any inch of the land. We will never recognize the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation, and therefore there is no legitimacy for Israel, no matter how long it will take. We will free Jerusalem inch by inch, stone by stone. Israel has no right to be in Jerusalem.” Remarks by Khaled Meshal, Hamas political leader, Gaza Strip, New York Times, December 8, 2012.

Note on sources:  This collection of remarks made by Hamas officials, their representatives, or spokesmen was taken from a variety of sources. Going back to the 1990s, some of the material here was translated from various languages by the  US Department of Commerce’s Foreign Broadcast Information Service. Other items were collected from authoritative Arab sources; others were read on the internet.  Obviously, this list of remarks is not exhaustive, but it is representative. They are all indicative of the uncompromising beliefs and fierce ideology held by Hamas adherents.

Previously August 3, 2014 Hamas on opposing agreements, negotiations, or recognition of Israel – Part I
Previously, August 4, 2014 Hamas on Israel and Israel’s illegitimacy – Part II


About the Author
Ken Stein is Professor of Contemporary Middle Eastern History and Political Science at Emory University. He is the author of Heroic Diplomacy: Sadat, Kissinger, Carter, Begin and the Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace, 1999 and with Ambassador Samuel W. Lewis, Making Peace Among Arabs and Israelis Lessons from Fifty Years of Negotiating Experience, 1991.