You can’t trust Hamas to honour a ceasefire. Or allow foreign journalists to report the truth without fearing for their lives. Or stop using its people as human shields by deliberately firing rockets from schools, hospitals and other heavily populated areas.
But you can trust Hamas on one topic: Its desire to wipe Israel and the Jewish people off the map.
Furthermore, it is completely open about its intention to use any Palestinian unity government to further
When the rockets and air strikes give way to peace talks and political maneuvering, Israel and its allies cannot afford to lose track of these truths.
And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should stick to his original resolve that a merger between the political wing of Hamas and the so-called moderate Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas is not the solution to disarming Hamas.
At the time of writing, Hamas has broken the latest 72-hour ceasefire and resumed its rocket attacks on Israel.
Foreign journalists who have left Gaza are now revealing facts they couldn’t initially report for fear of retaliation.
“We saw the Hamas men,” a Spanish reporter told Ynet News. “But had we dared point the cameras at them, they would have opened fire at us and killed us.”
Indian journalist Sreenivasan Jain posted a video (http://tinyurl.com/mqjqutz) showing Hamas members setting up a rocket launching site right beside a hotel occupied by foreign journalists. He later saw the rockets fired minutes before a 72-hour ceasefire.
France 24 correspondent Gallagher Fenwick aired a report (http://tinyurl.com/nez5mox) showing rockets being launched close to a hotel and a mere 100 metres from a UN facility. His video includes shots of kids playing with the rocket launchers.
Sudarsan Raghavan of the Washington Post blogged (http://tinyurl.com/khf3op2) about visiting a bombed mosque in Gaza City. The building had been obliterated, but a pile of burned, ripped copies of the Koran lay on top of a perfectly intact prayer rug.
“The scene was too neat … the symbolism was obvious, almost too perfect,” he wrote.
“It was clear that someone had placed them there to attract sympathy for the Palestinian cause. A television crew spotted the pile and filmed it. Mission accomplished.”
It should be noted that none of these reporters has any particularly loyalty to Israel. In fact, they are highly critical of the Israeli air strikes and what they call the “Israeli propaganda machine.”
But they have independently confirmed Israel’s longtime insistence that Hamas rockets are deliberately placed in heavily populated civilian areas, often in or near UN facilities.
These rocket attacks, of course, draw return Israeli air strikes that cause heavy civilian casualties and international condemnation of Israel.
But let’s get back to the subject on which Hamas is (almost) completely trustworthy.
I don’t apologize for being a broken record about the fact that Hamas is a religious-based movement whose charter explicitly and unequivocally calls for the destruction of Israel and the extermination of the Jews.
Or the fact that Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, the Fatah leader, despite being the lesser of two evils, is no true partner for peace.
In fact, Palestinian Media Watch reports that the Abbas-controlled PA media have continued to fan the flames of the Gaza conflict, including rebroadcasting an Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade video vowing to “turn Tel Aviv into a ball of fire.” (http://tinyurl.com/oot8rga)
But even I am astounded by how open Hamas is being about how it would manipulate any unity government to its advantage.
In a remarkably candid interview with the New York Times (http://tinyurl.com/n3gjedz), senior Hamas political leader Mousa Abu Marzook said that Hamas would welcome a coalition government with Fatah. But he insisted that Hamas would keep its military wing outside the government – so that it could prepare for another war with Israel.
“Of course, they are outside the government,” Abu Marzook said of the military wing, the Qassam Brigades.
“It is as simple as that, like the way that Israel wants to destroy Qassam, and they haven’t done that, right?”
Some observers suggest that the only way Hamas will agree to a lasting ceasefire is to be allowed to preserve its military wing.
But why should Israel agree to yet another deal that only postpones the inevitable – two or three years of relative quiet followed by an even deadlier campaign of kidnappings and rocket attacks?
As Abu Marzook says, “We know how to make our resistance each time better than the previous time.”
Hamas is telling the world its true intentions. Isn’t it time we started listening?