Creating Hamastan

Why is the US accepting a known terrorist organization's participation in Palestinian elections?

hamas men masked 298 (photo credit: AP [file])
hamas men masked 298
(photo credit: AP [file])
President George Bush could give his plan for winning the war against Islamic radicalism a major boost if he publicly demanded from the Palestinian Authority that it prohibit Hamas's participation in the upcoming Palestinian election. But judging from how Hamas is dealt with by the US administration, you would not know that it sits at the heart of the Islamo-Fascist movement, which Bush has been repeatedly condemning for the past three weeks. In his recent press conference with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Bush refrained from clearly objecting to Hamas participation in the Palestinian Authority election next January. This, despite the fact that Hamas's ideology and goals fit squarely with those the president described as Islamo-Fascist: "Its leaders pretend to be an aggrieved party, representing the powerless against imperial enemies... they seek to end dissent in every form, to control every aspect of life, and to rule the soul itself, while promising a future of justice and holiness, the terrorists are preparing a future oppression and misery." Compare Hamas statements and its charter to those of al-Qaida, Hizbullah and other Islamist organizations. All strive to establish a caliphate encircling the globe. Al-Qaida says: "We will turn the White House and the British parliament into mosques," as documented by Jonathan Dahoah Halevi, director of Orient Research Group in Toronto. Similarly, Qatar-based sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi says "Islam will take over Europe by Dawa." The spiritual leader of Hamas, the late Ahmad Yassin said: "The 21st century is the century of Islam," and his successor Mahmoud Zahar says, "Israel will disappear and after it the US." Bush also said after his meeting with Abbas, "the way forward is confronting the threat armed gangs present to the creation of democratic Palestine." Indeed, the Palestinian Authority has promised, yet again, to disarm Fatah and the other terrorist groups under its umbrella. Meanwhile, the PA, with US assistance, is planning to retrain all terrorists and incorporate them into the its security forces. Adding Hamas to this fray would guarantee that terrorism remains part of the Palestinian agenda. PA negotiator Saeb Erekat responds that allowing Hamas to participate in the election would be the terror group's first step toward giving up its weapons. However, even Erekat knows this is wishful thinking. Unlike the Irish Republican Army, which at last laid downs it arms after being part of the political process for decades, Hamas does not wish to lay down its arms. It wants to use the democratic process to gain power, which would ultimately eradicate democracy. The major difference between the IRA and Hamas is that the IRA's goals were limited to affecting British policy in Ireland. Their intention was never to spread Catholicism around the globe. Hamas, in its charter, says "We must spread the spirit of Jihad among the [Islamic] Umma, clash with the enemies and join the ranks of the Jihad fighters." Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar has laid out the goal of an Islamist Palestinian state "based on the principles of the Sharia and... part of the Arab Islamist Umma." In the Sharia-led Palestine, mixed dancing will be prohibited, Zahar states: "If a man is holding the hand of a woman and dances with her in front of people, is this a way to serve the national interest?" Zahar defines homosexuals and lesbians as "a minority of moral and mental deviants" who will have no rights. IN SHORT, as Zahar told Newsweek in August, Palestine "should be Hamastan." Despite such candor, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan argues that Israel should allow Hamas to participate in the election and that the Palestinian Authority relax its pressure on the terrorist group to disarm. This follows Annan's well-established pattern of legitimizing Hamas which, despite being listed on the US and EU terrorist lists, is still missing from that of the UN. At least 90 percent of the vote in the 2003 UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) workers union election was won by Hamas, according to Hamas's London magazine Filastin Al-Muslima. Supporters of Hamas would have us repeat the errors of the Oslo era. In 1993, Israel gave the opportunity to one of the world's most notorious terrorists to lead the newly created Palestinian Authority. In 1996, two years after receiving the Nobel peace prize, Arafat was elected president. But legitimizing Arafat did little to change his terrorist agenda. His intifadas cost the lives of thousands of innocent Israelis and Palestinians, while destroying the PA economy. It should go without saying that an Islamist Palestinian state spells the end of any process of negotiations with Israel. As Zahar puts it, "It is in our national interest to stop the cooperation with Israel in any field." According to Zahar, Hamas will use all the weapons at its disposal to extend Palestine across all of Israel. This goal is not unlike Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's statement that Israel should be "wiped off the face of the earth." Allowing Hamas to participate in the coming PA election contradicts Bush's promise to keep "an untiring vigil against the enemies of rising democracies." Rachel Ehrenfeld, author of Funding Evil; How Terrorism is Financed - and How to Stop It, is director of the American Center for Democracy. Alyssa Lappen is a freelance journalist.