In light of the recent killing of Ahmed Yassin, I took the time today to examine the Covenant of Hamas to try to understand the background of the organization that Yassin started. The broader conflict of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict isn’t the issue here – I honestly haven’t done enough homework to postulate a solution or opinion on the general conflict.
From the preamble: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it” (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).
The slogan (Article 8): Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its constitution: Jihad is its path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes. Article Six says that Hamas “strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine”. So they say that essentially, holy war is their solution to achieve their goal, the conversion of Israel into a Palestinian state. They don’t seem to hide that they are declaring war against Israel.
Article Seven includes the quote “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”
Article Thirteen adds “Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement.”, and later “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad.”.
These aren’t selective quotes designed to indict Hamas. Look at the source document for yourself, see if there are sections that contradict, or even moderate the extreme message here. The message is that the objective is the elimination of Israel, the establishment of a Palestinian state, that includes all of its holy places (in spite of the fact that many such sites are also holy to Jews). Their terms are absolute, and their stated method of choice to achieve this is violence against Israel.
Hamas has, since its inception, declared Jihad – holy war – against Israel. Violence is a part of their organization’s definition. The fact is that Yassin was the head of a group that had openly declared war. So you have a group that has declared that it exists for the purpose of war, and that it will not surrender until their absolute demands are met. Based on the rules established by Hamas, their only acceptable outcome is the conquest of land to which Jewish people also have a legitimate claim. Compromise and treaty are not permissible outcomes to them, and violence is their stated goal until their demands are met in full. Who is the world, the global media to question the ability of a country to strike out against a group that has declared war against them? If Israel is unwilling to fully surrender all “Palestinian” lands, then the only other way to avoid conflict with Hamas is to destroy it. Hopefully, the rest of the Palestinian movement can distance itself from the absolutist demands of this extremist group, and look for a peaceful solution based on compromise and understanding rather than violence and absolutism.