By Khalid Amayreh in occupied Jerusalem
There have been some rumors of late alleging that Hamas is willing to recognize Israel in exchange for the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.
Some anti-Hamas websites indulged in more than a small amount of gloating and disinformation, effectively celebrating Hamas's alleged ideological turnabout.
Moreover, some Fatah spokesperson seized on the rumors, claiming that Hamas and Fatah were now on equal footing.
Even Hezbutahrir (the Islamic Liberation Party) which is notorious for trying to catch faults with Hamas, has castigated the Islamic movement for following the path of Fatah and abandoning the path of Islam.!!!
The truth of the matter is that for Hamas recognition of Israel, the Zionist entity which claims Palestine as an exclusive national Jewish homeland, remains an ultimate and inviolable red line.
Which means that the Islamic Liberation Movement will never ever recognize the illegitimate entity called Israel?
Hamas does recognize the physical existence of Israel, but it doesn't attach any moral legitimacy to that existence. This principled non-recognition of the Zionist regime is not a tactical or bargaining position which might change depending on the direction of political winds. It is rather an immutable bedrock upon which Hamas's very existence is based. It is a matter of religion for Hamas and all other Muslims who take their religion seriously.
Having said that, one must also point out that Hamas is not an inflexible movement adopting a set of empty slogans. The movement repeatedly declared its willingness to accept an extended truce or a modus vivendi with Israel in exchange for the creation of a viable and territorially contiguous Palestinian state.
Hamas also insists on the repatriation of Palestinian refugees to their original places of residence in what is now Israel.
This is not a new position. This has always been the movement's long-standing position ever since its creation in 1987.
Prime Minister Ismael Haniya was probably tendentiously misunderstood when he was quoted recently as saying that the movement would accept the outcome of any referendum pertaining to the peace process with Israel. What Haniya actually meant was that Hamas wouldn't employ any undemocratic means to force its vision and agenda upon the Palestinian people. But he never meant and he never would mean or even imply that the movement would abandon its ideological tenets in this regard, namely its ideological and religious rejection of Israel.
In fact, recognition of Israel's legitimacy as far Hamas is concerned is tantamount to a kind of blasphemy or even apostasy. It would mean an acknowledgement that the Israeli historical narrative was correct whereas the Palestinian historical narrative was incorrect.
It would mean that historical Palestine never ever belonged to the Palestinian people, who had been "encroaching squatters living on land that didn't belong to them."
It would mean a delegitimization of the entire Palestinian history as well as a vindication of Zionism. It would mean a definitive recognition by the Palestinian people that the murder of the Palestinians, their ethnic cleansing from Palestine and expulsion to the four corners of the globe at the hands of Zionism were perfectly legitimate.
Interestingly, even those Palestinians who have formally recognized Israel would argue openly that they did so under duress and that they didn't believe for a second that the creation of Israel in Palestine in 1948 had any iota of legitimacy.
In any case, Hamas is not above the Palestinian people. But it is answerable to Islam and Muslims, and any move by the movement that is not compatible with the teachings of Islam will be rejected outright.
In the final analysis, Hamas would lose its own raison d'etre , and rightly so, if it recognized Israel.
Now, for those who are worried that Hamas might be on its way to becoming another Fatah, they should take it easy and be calm because Hamas will never ever recognize Israel .
This fact, however, doesn't necessarily negate the possibility that there are some people associated with the movement in one way or the other who might be prompted to voice stands that are too pragmatic especially in light of the International situation, especially western subservience to Israel.
However, these people, with all due respect, don’t represent Hamas's true position even if they claimed otherwise.
As to those who fulminates against Hamas every time a movement's spokesman utters some words that can be interpreted differently, they, too, should take it easy and don't be too hasty in passing judgment on one of the most noble phenomena the enduring Palestinian struggle for liberty has produced.
In the final analysis, even talking with Israel and reaching tentative agreements with it is not per se incompatible with the teachings of Islam. There is only one ultimate red line as far managing the historical conflict with Zionism is concerned. And that is accepting the moral legitimacy of Israel.
Of all people, Hamas does realize that a theft, even after the passage of 65 years, doesn't become legitimate.
A final point. Hamas is not against Israel because Israel is Jewish. Hamas is against Israel because Israel is a thief, armed robber, and murderer.
In short, the infrastructure of Zionism must be dismantled. Perhaps then, Arabs and Jews would live in peace and justice.
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|Timothy V. Gatto|