web analytics
July 1, 2015 / 14 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Mashaal Cannot Change Hamas

Even if Mashaal himself changes, Hamas will always remain the same Hamas.
Khaled Mashaal

Khaled Mashaal

The recent re-election of Khaled Mashaal as Hamas leader has been interpreted by some Arab and Western analysts as a sign of the radical Islamist’s desire to march toward “moderation and pragmatism.”

Hamas, according to political analyst Ahmed Rafik Awad, chose the “moderate” Mashaal in order to avoid internal differences.

According to Awad, Mashal is known for his “balanced personality and centrist positions, making him an extremely acceptable figure in the Arab and international arena.”

Another analyst, Walid al-Mudalal, said that the re-election of Mashaal for another four years “would give him a chance to continue his effort to rearrange Hamas’s relations with the West and convince the West that Hamas is not its enemy.”

Some Western analysts have been quick to endorse this theory by pointing out that under Mashaal Hamas would adopt a new and moderate strategy, including accepting Israel’s right to exist.

Their argument is apparently based on remarks made by Mashaal [in English, of course, but not in Arabic] to the effect that Hamas is prepared to accept the two-state solution.

What the optimists are ignoring, however, is Mashaal’s assertion that acceptance of the two-state solution does not mean recognizing Israel’s right to exist.

Mashaal is, in fact, saying that Hamas will accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria -.ed], Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem without giving up its struggle to eliminate Israel.

Hamas re-elected Mashaal not because he has become a pragmatist and a moderate. He was re-elected because Hamas believes that he has the skills to change the West’s attitude toward Hamas. There is, after all, nothing better than a leader who can appear on CNN and try to market Hamas as a peace-loving liberation movement.

Mashaal may be a charismatic and pragmatic man, but at the end of the day he will not be able to change Hamas’s charter calling for the destruction of Israel.

Nor will Mashaal be able to rein in Hamas’s armed wing, Izaddin al-Kassam, which is responsible for hundreds of suicide bombings and thousands of rocket attacks against Israel.

Al-Kassam has many commanders in the Gaza Strip who do not share Mashaal’s ostensible pragmatism and moderation. One of them is Mahmoud Zahar, an influential Hamas figure in the Gaza Strip.

Over the past two years, Mashaal has repeatedly failed to convince his rivals in Hamas to agree to unity with Fatah. When Mashaal signed the last Doha “reconciliation” agreement with Mahmoud Abbas in Qatar last year, most Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip came out against him.

So if Mashaal has been unable to convince his own movement to accept reconciliation with Fatah, he is less likely to persuade other Hamas figures and followers to abandon their radical ideology — let alone accept Israel’s right to exist.

Further evidence of the challenges facing the new-old leader of Hamas was provided this week when leaders of the Islamist movement in the Gaza Strip repeated their commitment to violence.

In response to statements made by U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland to the effect that Washington would not conduct any dialogue with Hamas, leaders of the movement reiterated their refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist or their own willingness to renounce violence.

“We categorically reject these statements,” said Hamas spokesman Ezat al-Risheq. “Hamas refuses to recognize the Zionist entity and the legitimacy of its occupation of Palestine,” he said. “Palestinian resistance is not terrorism, but a legitimate project in line with international laws.”

Hamas Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, also reaffirmed his movement’s refusal to recognize Israel and renounce terrorism.

Those who expect real changes in Hamas following the re-election of Mashaal are living in an illusion. Even if Mashaal himself changes, Hamas will always remain the same Hamas.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

About the Author: Khaled Abu Toameh, an Arab Muslim, is a veteran award-winning journalist who has been covering Palestinian affairs for nearly three decades.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “Mashaal Cannot Change Hamas”

  1. Tim Upham says:

    We will believe it, when we see it.

  2. Tim Upham says:

    We will believe it, when we see it.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Pro-Israel Group: Tell Chuck Schumer Not to Cave [video]
Latest Indepth Stories
Matan Katzman. regional executive at the StandWithUs

No longer will delegitimization efforts go unchallenged. That’s a silence we will continue to break.

Flag of Sweden

Increasingly, Sweden is becoming a country where anti-Semitism & supporting terrorism is acceptable.

Community-Jewels-logo

Rabbi Pfeffer points out that at his site, there are no one-line answers. “We want to show the people we’re interested in their questions,” he says.

Menachem Zivotofsky sued the U.S. government because the U.S. refused to include "Israel" alongside "Jerusalem" as the place of his birth on his passport. So far the courts have sided with the government.

The problem with US treatment of Israel did not start with Obama but with birth of Jewish State

The pathetic failure of the Marianne to reach Gaza is the best thing that has happened to Israel since Hamas mis-fired a rocket on its own civilians.

Wonder why Israel has the world’s most insane rules of engagement imposed on its military? Read on..

Think political Islam’s a problem now just wait until an Islamist nuclear umbrella covers the region

Fiorina’s wrong about Islam which embraces our death&destruction confusing pc theories for hard fact

Bangladesh PM Hasina is fighting terror not only for her nation but for the entire civilized world.

No necessity to redefine marriage, just address equal rights for couples in non-nuclear families

PM Netanyahu has pledged the nation won’t rest until the hero Eli Cohen is returned home to Israel

“Palestinian armed groups” & “local authorities” are named in the report; Hamas’ absence stands out

Dating apps have really changed the way many young Jews approach dating.

The families of those slain even publicly forgave the murderer. Charleston was serene and at peace.

Changing plans needn’t be a frustrating experience. Sometimes the new path proves far more rewarding

More Articles from Khaled Abu Toameh
US has no problem with Egypt's bombing hundreds of homes of Gaza civilians but can't stand to see Israel destroy a terrorist's home.

Egypt has been more effective against Gazan smuggling tunnels than Israel’s military operations

This masked "soldier" carrying a machine-gun is not part of a terrorist organization, according to the European Court of Justice.

Hamas is continuing to prepare its next war against Israel instead of improving conditions in Gaza

Riot started when Muslim students wore the Pal. kaffiyeh and Druze students demanded them removed

Kerry and Obama must start listening to what Palestinian leaders are telling their people in Arabic.

Adult activists who send and encourage children to take part in violence should be held accountable.

To flee Gaza, Palestinian migrants reputedly paid $1000s to Hamas officials and Egyptian smugglers.

Fatah: Hamas stole relief aid for Gaza and distributed it amongst its followers in mosques.

Arab leaders who want the US to stop Islamic State are afraid of being dubbed traitors and US agents

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/khaled-abu-toameh/mashaal-cannot-change-hamas/2013/04/16/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: