by Khaled Abu Toameh • December 13, 2016 at 5:00 am
"We will not recognize Israel because it will inevitably go away. And we will not backtrack on the option of armed struggle until the liberation of all Palestine." — Khalil Al-Haya, Hamas senior official.
The abandonment of Gaza by Israel in 2005 drove the Palestinian vote for Hamas the next year. It also explains why many Palestinians continue to support Hamas -- because they still believe that violence is the way to defeat Israel.
Hamas believes that Israel does not have the right to defend itself against rockets and terror attacks. It even considers Israel's self-defense as an "act of terror."
In yet another sign that exposes Hamas's ongoing preparations to attack Israel, the movement last week held a drill with live ammunition in the northern Gaza Strip.
"What has been achieved so far is a small jihad, and the big jihad is still awaiting us." — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas is convinced that his "diplomatic jihad" against Israel is no less effective than Hamas's jihad of terrorism.
Yet even if Abbas manages to achieve reconciliation with Hamas, this move should not be seen as sign of pragmatism on the part of the Islamist movement. Under no circumstances will Hamas relinquish its policy of the destruction of Israel and its replacement with an Islamist state.
From Abbas's point of view, Hamas's terrorism will only increase the pressure on Israel to capitulate. Here Abbas has an ally in Hamas: to multiply jihads to force Israel to its knees.
Last October, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met in Qatar with Khaled Mashaal and another Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, as part of his rapprochement with the Islamist movement. Pictured above: Abbas (right) meets with Khaled Mashaal in Qatar on July 20, 2014, in a previous reconciliation attempt. (Image source: Handout from the PA President's Office/Thaer Ghanem)
The Palestinian Islamist movement, Hamas, which is currently celebrating the 29th anniversary of its founding, misses no opportunity to broadcast its stated reason for being: to wage jihad (holy war) in order to achieve its goal of destroying Israel. Those who allege that Hamas is moving toward pragmatism and moderation might take note.
Last week, tens of thousands of Palestinians took to the streets of the Gaza Strip to participate in rallies marking the anniversary of the founding of Hamas. As in previous years, the rallies were held under the motto of jihad and "armed resistance" until the liberation of all Palestine, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Another message that emerged loud and clear from the rallies: Hamas will never recognize Israel's right to exist.