Dr. Reuven Berko - Israel Hayom
Hamas military wing's spokesman Abu Ubaida's declaration of the group's willingness to establish a Palestinian state on the "occupied territory" seized during the 1967 war, and following that, his verbal trial balloons and leaks attributed to senior Hamas officials, seem to point to a dramatic "turnaround" in the murderous terrorist organization. However, the Palestinian publicists make it clear that this is once again a trick of semantics designed to reason with friends and enemies in the spirit of the Islamic operational code of intimidation, deception and fraud.
At the recent "Palestine problem" panel organized at the Zeitouna conference in Beirut, Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal revealed the principles of a new document, rumored to be a revised Hamas charter. According to him, the paper presents Hamas' strategic vision in light of lessons learned in 2016 and moving forward into 2017, in a manner that will unite all forces around the "resistance."
Hamas official Ismail Radwan stressed that the document, which is still being drafted, gives expression to the organization's logic and pragmatic political vision, and that there is no intention for it to replace the existing Hamas charter. Political commentator Ibrahim Madhoun claimed that the document is a political-diplomatic paper that expresses pragmatic insights stemming from the organization's political ties with world powers and other countries, including China and Russia, and its accumulated political experience and constraints dictated by regional and global changes on the ground. Madhoun believes that the document does not renounce the "red lines" of the Hamas charter, including the motif of the "resistance" (the armed struggle); and since Hamas's religious affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood is solely ideological, there is no need for the organization to truly sever this connection.
Hamas will renounce Islamist terrorist organizations, to appease Arab nations and the West, and will fashion itself as a "Palestinian organization for national liberation," but, despite the willingness to establish "Palestine" along the 1967 borders, it will refuse to recognize Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization's agreements with it or to concede part of the "homeland." Since "the Hamas charter is not the Quran," reality will bring about semantic changes in an effort to improve its image.
Political analyst Hamza Abu Shanab believes that Hamas has proposed similar changes in the past, recalling Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin's willingness to instate a long-term "hudna" (truce) in exchange for Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza, the organization's offer to reach understandings on prisoners and its participation in the 2006 election. Therefore, the expected semantic changes regarding Hamas' ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and its stance against "the enemy" are meant to strengthen its relationship with nearby Arab countries and with the international community.
Therefore, under the framework of this "renovation," the phrase "the struggle against the Jews" will be traded in for "the war against the occupation," and Hamas will rebrand itself a "Palestinian organization for national liberation" -- and in renouncing the Muslim Brotherhood, it will also satisfy Egypt.
Political commentator Faiz Abu Shamala too believes that Hamas has no intention of voiding its charter or its ties to the Muslim Brotherhood as it aspires to be painted as a nationalist Palestinian movement fighting against the Zionists.
This is nothing other than a "coat of paint" applied to a wall of terrorism, and a call for "hudna," without referring to it by name. The organization's change in branding to the "organization for Palestinian national liberation and fighting the Zionists" puts it in the same position as the PLO, risks its status, and does not bring Palestinian reconciliation any closer. If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, the road to the heaven of Hamas' "hudna" is paved with bad intentions.