Khaled Mashaal and Jacob Zuma.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The decision by South Africa’s ruling ANC Party to host a Hamas delegation last week should have aroused shock and dismay among countries truly committed to achieving a more peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians than is currently the case. Instead, the silence was deafening.
South African President Jacob Zuma chose to meet with Khaled Mashaal, the leader of the Gaza-based terrorist organization that openly declares its intention to establish an Islamic state upon the ruins of the State of Israel.
As Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt wrote in a letter to Zuma, “This meeting serves to legitimize Hamas, an unabashed terrorist organization, whose ultimate goal is the establishment of an Islamic Palestinian state through the violent destruction of the State of Israel.” Indeed, during the current wave of Palestinian violence in Israel, Hamas has called for an escalation of attacks against Israelis, including reportedly suicide bombings, and has publicly cheered terrorist attacks that have killed and wounded Israeli civilians.
“The reception of Hamas by the leader of South Africa and its ruling party gives official legitimacy to this terrorist, pro-violence, anti-peace, anti-Semitic organization,” the ADL said.
“This meeting will likely be seen as an act of hostility towards Israel, and create significant discomfort and apprehension among South Africa’s Jewish community.”
The ADL’s warning about the meeting being likely to cause “apprehension” among South African Jewry was an understatement.
Telfed, the South African Zionist Federation, condemned the meeting in harsh terms that signified the grave concern of the country’s Jewish community at the increasing demonstrations of hostility toward Israel by Pretoria.
Telfed noted in a statement that over the last few weeks a dozen Israelis have lost their lives and numerous others have been wounded due to the constant incitement from terrorist organizations, particularly Hamas.
As Teled wrote, “This is not resistance, this is terror. If South Africa wants to play a meaningful role in brokering any kind of solution in the Middle East, statements such as equating Hamas as a ‘resistance’ movement and accusing Israel of ‘encroaching on Palestine and creating Bantustans’ as well as many of the other points that have clearly demonstrated blatant bias have sadly sidelined South Africa as a credible mediator.”
The South African government will have more credibility if it dares to consider a few pertinent facts. First and foremost, Hamas is an Islamist extremist terrorist organization, dedicated, as spelled out in its charter, to eradicate the State of Israel.
An offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, like Islamic State it strives to establish a neo-caliphate ruled by Shari’a, Muslim religious law.
The 1988 Hamas Covenant is a virtual manual of anti-Semitism.
Like the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion, it accuses Jews of an international conspiracy to control of the world.
In Hamas theology, Islam forbids the existence of a Jewish state in Palestine. Its preachers teach that the Jewish people has no connection with the Land of Israel, nor with the Temple Mount, where no Jewish Temples ever existed anyway.
To further this goal, Mashaal and other Hamas leaders have denounced compromise with Israel as a betrayal of the Palestinian cause.
Since 1994, Hamas has been the main perpetrator of terrorist attacks in Israel, targeting shopping malls, cafes, buses and hotels. Its deadly outrages include the March 2002 suicide bombing of the Park Hotel in Netanya, killing 30 and wounding 140 during their Passover Seder; the August 2001 suicide bombing of the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem, killing 15 and wounding 130; and the June 2001 suicide bombing at the Dolphinarium nightclub in Tel Aviv, killing 21 and wounding 120, most of them teenagers.
Hamas has been behind the thousands of rockets that have targeted Israel’s population centers, and is responsible for 2008’s Operation Cast Lead, 2012’s Operation Pillar of Defense and last year’s Operation Protective Edge to root out the attacks.
The US government has designated Hamas a Foreign Terrorist Organization. The international community has established a policy of isolating Hamas, and made financial aid to the Palestinians dependent on three conditions: recognizing Israel’s right to exist, renouncing the use of violence and terrorism, and accept previously negotiated Israeli-Palestinian agreements.
Hamas continues to refuse to comply with these conditions.
South Africa can restore its moral standing among the nations by requiring Hamas to meet these three conditions.