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Hamas Unwilling to Compromise

Hamas’s political leader Khaled Mashaal said in an interview earlier this week that the Palestinians would “never stop the intifada.” The statement should dash any hopes that Hamas might compromise for the sake of peace.

Mashaal’s statements come just a week after European leaders called for dialogue with the Islamist terrorist organization. “We have to help the Hamas to develop,” Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi was quoted as saying by Italian media.

Mashaal told McClatchy Newspapers that Hamas would not make any significant concessions to Israel or Fatah, its Palestinian rival, in order to further Middle East peace talks. Hamas, he said, would not recognize Israel or agree to early Palestinian elections, which Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas is pushing for.

Moreover, Mashaal threatened a third intifada, or violent uprising, if Israel does not hand over the West Bank. He explained that the only path to a Palestinian state was the Hamas road of resistance.

“When a series of Palestinian leaders tried one road—the way of political dialogue—and then hit a blockade, do you think it is realistic to keep going down the same path?” he said.

“The Palestinian people will never stop the intifada,” Mashaal said. “Maybe they will calm down. Sometimes they might stop to catch their breath.

This thinking would of course explain Hamas’s current policy of limiting rocket attacks against Israel (even so, such “limited” attacks consisted of 110 rocket attacks and 170 mortar attacks into Israel, originating from Gaza, in the past two months). Mashaal’s statements confirm the lunacy in assumptions that the recent comparative calm in terrorist activity means a change of heart on the part of Hamas, or progress in Israeli-Palestinian relations.

True to form, Mashaal blames the current rift between Hamas and Fatah on Israel and the U.S. In a separate interview this week with Agence France Presse, Mashaal stated, “Israeli and American interference is responsible for blocking the reconciliation.”

To assume that the rivalry between the two factions would override the common goal of all Palestinian factions to destroy Israel is very flawed thinking. McClatchy said that Mashaal, in his interview, went out of his way to avoid criticizing Abbas.

It is certainly misguided of Israel and the West to think that propping up Fatah in the West Bank will diminish the power of Hamas. Any resulting agreement between Fatah and Israel would only give Hamas further opportunity. If Israel were to withdraw troops from large segments of the West Bank, for example, this, as former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Dore Gold writes, would simply “set the stage for a complete Hamas takeover in the West Bank as well [as Gaza] and create a huge victory for radical Islam.”

The uncompromising stance and determination of Hamas to continue its struggle underscores the foolishness of Israel negotiating for peace. Return to theTrumpet.com to read our article “Retreat and Restraint” in the upcoming October Trumpet for more.

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