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As Hamas, Fatah Sign Unity Pledge, Meshal Calls for Palestinian State in 1967 Borders

The Israeli far-right and its supporters have just suffered another stinging blow in its campaign to smear Hamas as an Al-Qaeda clone (yes, Bibi had the chutzpah to use that no outrageous comparison today).  During the Hamas-Fatah signing ceremony for their unity deal, Hamas’ leader had this to say about his movement’s political goals:

“We will have one authority and one decision,” Mr. Meshal said from the podium. “We need to achieve the common goal: a Palestinian state with full sovereignty on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as the capital, no settlers, and we will not give up the right of return.”

What happened to the blood-curdling calls for the elimination of Israel?  For drinking Jewish blood?  Killing Jewish babies?  Nowhere to be seen.

Even Ethan Bronner, who wrote this story, couldn’t bear losing an opportunity to quote his usual narischkeit about Hamas’ avowed goal of eliminating the Jewish state, when he wrote:

Hamas, the Islamist group that rejects Israel’s existence…

Bronner usually subtly changes the phrasing depending on context.  Note, he couldn’t very well claim as he usually does, that Hamas wishes to destroy the Jewish state, when its chief leader has just essentially said he would accept a Palestinian state in ’67 borders.  So instead, he merely claims that Hamas “rejects Israel’s existence.”  Since Meshal made no statement about Israel, Bronner’s on solid ground, at least in his view.  But the truth is that Hamas doesn’t follow the narrative Bronner and other Israelis have constructed for it.

Now we’ll hear from them that Meshal was slyly concealing his true beliefs in Israel’s demise and telling a world audience what it wanted to hear.

The truth is that Hamas, no matter what we might think of it and how much we dislike its political-theological agenda, is a pragmatic movement.  When it perceives it has something to gain in the long-term, it has shown it can moderate its political agenda.  This happened during the PA election campaign.  And it’s happening now.  Never before has Hamas been treated with respect by the Egyptian government.  Never before has the PA shown real willingness to reconcile and hold new elections.  Never before has the world been closer to declaring a Palestinian state.

This is not to say that Hamas will become a conventional Social Democratic party any time soon.  Nor that we will not read conflicting statements from its leadership on these and other subjects.  But the point is that Hamas, like any political movement, can change when it perceives it has something to gain.  As long as the international community shows Hamas that it does have something to gain, it can expect pragmatism.  But if the General Assembly refuses to recognize Palestine, or Fatah pulls a fast one, or Israel invades Gaza again, we can expect the same old rejectionist Hamas, and we’ll have only ourselves to blame for that.

{ 76 comments… add one }
  • Shaun May 5, 2011, 1:15 AM

    “…and we will not give up the right of return.”

    What does this mean?

    • Richard Silverstein May 5, 2011, 1:36 AM

      I think it means that he won’t give up the right of return of items to the Ramallah Costco. What do you think it means??

    • Deïr Yassin May 5, 2011, 4:12 AM

      You’ve never heard of the resolution 194 ? Abba Eban told the whole world in May 1949 that his governement would implement it as soon as possible, that they were in fact already working on it. The implementation of the 194 was in fact a condition for Israel’s admission to the UN.
      I hope Haver is around – he/she is an expert on the topic :-)

      And just in case, some propagandists intervene: the 194 concerns the original refugees AND their descendants, and to the place of origin, that is, not an eventual Palestinian state. According to UNRWA, there are actually 4,8 millions Palestinian refugees, who ALL individually should be given the choice between the right of return (ROR) and financial compensations. The ROR has been reaffirmed more than 100 times at the UN.

  • Tim Haughton May 5, 2011, 2:29 AM

    If you read Hamas’s election platform from 2006, the platform on which they were elected, it is very moderate. There is no mention of wiping Israel off the map or driving Jews into the sea. Oddly, this never gets mentioned in the corporate press.

    What is most odd, is that Netanyahu’s election platform from 2009, and Likud’s constitution openly calls for the destruction of Palestine.

    Remind me, which is the extremist party again?

    • Yonatan May 5, 2011, 8:12 PM

      Can you provide links to both of these statements? Where does the Likud (which I do not vote for, BTW), call for the destruction of Palestine? Also, where can I find this so-called pragmatic Hamas election platform?

      • Richard Silverstein May 5, 2011, 9:21 PM

        Where does the Likud (which I do not vote for, BTW), call for the destruction of Palestine?

        Omigod. You can actually have the guts to ask where the Likud calls for the destruction of Palestine? How about when Bibi in 1989 called for the expulsion of Israeli Palestinians? What do you call expulsion if not the destruction of a people? Likud has never recognized the right of the Palestinians to a state of their own, notwithstanding Bibi’s ridiculous fictional acceptance of a 2 state solution which he’s never taken a single step to implement.

        where can I find this so-called pragmatic Hamas election platform?

        Instead of asking readers to spoon feed you why don’t you use Google to find Hamas 2006 PA election platform. It’s out there & would probably take you all of 45 seconds to find.

      • Tim Haughton May 6, 2011, 2:49 AM

        Hi Yonatan, go to Likud’s official website, and look at their constitution. It expressly calls for Israel to settle in, and expand its sovereignty so all of Eretz Yisrael, engulfing Palestine and wiping it from the map.

        You can read this here in English:

        link to en.netanyahu.org.il

        There’s a link on there to the Hebrew version.

        A translation of Hamas platform on which they ran for election can be found here:

        link to israelipalestinian.procon.org

  • Daniel F. May 5, 2011, 2:31 AM

    “..and we will not give up the right of return”

    What more did they need to say?,by not giving up on the right of return they reserve the right to continue the conflict.

    • Tim Haughton May 5, 2011, 2:38 AM

      Daniel, it’s called a “right” for a reason. Palestinian rights trump Israeli “wants” 7 days a week.

      • Daniel F. May 5, 2011, 5:39 AM

        It’s the “trump” word in your post that has we worried.

        I recognize Palestinian rights to self determination so long as they do not impinge upon Jewish rights to the same.
        A pragmatic approach that enables both nations to live and prosper will,I believe,be successful.

        • Richard Silverstein May 5, 2011, 1:17 PM

          First, how can Palestinian self determination “impinge” on Jewish? And 2nd, rather than “Jewish self determination” you would be far better phrasing that as “Israeli self determination” unless you wish to throw over 1 milion citizens of your nation into the trash.

          • Daniel F. May 5, 2011, 7:08 PM

            Q:how can Palestinian self determination “impinge” on Jewish?
            1) In an environment of limited resources (land,water ect)
            use of same by any group limits it’s availability to others.
            2) Due to the culture gap (as in difference between two cultures that cause mutual misunderstanding )
            activities that are part of the Palestinian culture (eg:call of Muezzin to morning prayer) may impinge upon perceived “quality of life” rights of Jews living nearby.
            Should the Hajj be state subsidized?
            Should Yeshivot be state subsidized?
            What special provisions should be made for Ramadan?
            Israeli Jews, Muslims and Christians do not have identical innate psychological needs

            I used the term “Jewish self determination” to emphasize
            values held dear to Jewish Israelis vs values held dear to Palestinian Israelis (both sets of values would be a subset of Israeli values)
            Within Israel, Palestinian self determination should not unduly impinge upon Jewish self determination or vice versa.

            Any perceived disrespect was neither implied or intended.

          • Richard Silverstein May 6, 2011, 12:56 AM

            Are you really arguing that Jewish self determination is compromised because Israel can’t hog all the water resources in the region? This is what Jewish self determination has come to?

            And a Muzzein’s call to prayer will someone offend or disturb a Jew?? Really?

            I don’t think any religious institution should be state subsidized unless the institutions of all religions inside the country are. But generally I think there should be a vast reduction in all religious subsidies as they induce all manner of corruption, at least as they’re administered now.

            Israeli Jews, Muslims and Christians do not have identical innate psychological needs

            They’re all human beings. How are their innate psychological needs different? And what do psychological needs have to do with Jewish self determination, which was your original claim?

            Any perceived disrespect was neither implied or intended.

            I appreciate yr saying that.

          • Vicky May 5, 2011, 11:11 PM

            Water justice is an enormous area of concern, as currently 80% of the West Bank’s water is routed directly into Israel, with a further 10% going to the settlements. The Palestinians of the West Bank get what’s left. The problem is illustrated at its hideous worst in certain parts of the Hebron region, where each person has 15 litres of water per day to meet all their needs. The bare emergency minimum as stipulated by the World Health Organisation is 70 litres per day.

            This is not self-determination. This is just pure selfishness, and this is not compatible with the Jewish values you speak of. Through sustainable water development (e.g. the building of desalination plants, careful maintenance of the aquifers that Israel currently neglects appallingly, and better water management on the part of local authorities) it would be possible to share these water resources.

            As for the call to prayer, you hear that at the Kotel. Why not elsewhere? Special provisions for Ramadan – I’m not sure what you mean. There are no special provisions made for Ramadan even in Palestinian society; those who choose can fast, and those who don’t choose to don’t.

        • Tim Haughton May 6, 2011, 2:51 AM

          You’re worried that I prioritise Palestinian rights over Israeli aspirations?

          What a peculiar outlook you must have.

      • fuster May 5, 2011, 6:46 PM

        the right of return is considered a right, but the interpretation of that right that Palestinians and supporters of the Palestinians claim is a novel one.

        grandchildren and such aren’t usually considered to be entitled to that right.

        • Richard Silverstein May 5, 2011, 9:09 PM

          You mean you want to wait out the direct survivors till they’re all dead & then say you only recognize the right of living survivors so you won’t have to allow anyone to return. Sorry, that doesn’t work too well.

        • Deïr Yassin May 5, 2011, 11:15 PM

          @ Fuster
          “Grandchildren and such aren’t usually considered to be entitled to that right”
          Well, the Palestinian case is special: You could eventually look it up at UNRWA’s website. All descendants are entitled to the ROR. The only obligation is that they have kept a bond to the region. It’s still much more restrictive than the Jewish ROR according to which even a converted Jew can “return to his ancestral homeland”.
          And as far as your “usually” is concerned: let’s say that it isn’t usual either that the UN vote the establishment of a state on 55% of other people’s land, which then end up with 78%.

          The interpretations of the ROR by Palestinians – and the international community – is NOT a novel one. You’re simply ignorant on the matter.

    • Deïr Yassin May 5, 2011, 4:18 AM

      @ Daniel.
      If my memory is correct, you immigrated to Israel from Ireland as an adult, didn’t you ? After 2000 years, you finally “returned to your ancient homeland”. You don’t think the Palestinians deserve the same right ?

      • Daniel F. May 5, 2011, 4:50 AM

        @ Deïr Yassin
        I am impressed that you have a profile.
        To business…

        1) The Palestinians most certainly deserve the same right.

        2) May I take this opportunity to wish the Palestinian nation
        every success and happiness in their self realization.

        3) I pray for a peaceful and mutually beneficial cooperation
        between a strong Israel and a strong Palestine.

        • Deïr Yassin May 5, 2011, 2:16 PM

          I don’t have a profile, but I remember things that are of interest to the topic we’re discussing here. If you stated that you love Madonna more than Britney Spears, I would propbably have forgotten within a minute.
          The fact that you immigrated as an adult has a certain importance, and as far as I’m concerned, NO immigrant has any right to prevent Palestinians from “returning to their homes and live in peace with their neighbours” as stipulated by the 194.
          And whether you like it or not, the ROR is to the place of origin, whether this is Haifa, Akka or Ramleh.

          • Daniel F. May 5, 2011, 3:31 PM

            @Deïr Yassin
            Forgive my jest,a little levity for the heart.

            “NO immigrant has any right to prevent Palestinians from “returning to their homes and live in peace with their
            neighbours as stipulated by the 194.”

            I can certainly understand how,from a Palestinian point of view, Jewish immigration to Israel appears incongruous.
            In truth, I have not given much thought to the ROR but I respect that it is an issue that is close to the heart of all Palestinians.
            Perhaps we should first deal with the establishment of a Palestinian state.Difficult tasks,such as reconciliation between Jews and Palestinians should be undertaken in steps,where each successful step lends itself to the next.

          • Richard Silverstein May 5, 2011, 8:47 PM

            I have not given much thought to the ROR

            This is precisely the problem. YOu’re going to have to start giving a lot more thought to issues that are close to the hearts of Palestinian refugees who likely will be returning to your country in some numbers. Establishing a Palestinian state is not something that should or must happen independently or prior to determining how to resolve ROR. You can’t place one before the other, much as you might wish to.

    • Vicky May 5, 2011, 6:17 AM

      It’s also worth noting here that during negotiations, Palestinian representatives have only ever asked for the right of return to be implemented symbolically. At Camp David Israel offered to allow the repatriation of 100,000 Palestinian refugees within Israel itself, an infinitesimally small number compared to the millions worldwide – but it also sought to dictate how many refugees could be absorbed into the nascent Palestinian state, calling for a cap of half a million. The Palestinian side felt unable to accept this, as the number of refugees already present in West Bank and Gazan refugee camps by far outstrips that figure. Israel was effectively trying to bar the future state of Palestine from taking in any more refugees from abroad, even though the Palestinian negotiators were not calling for a full implementation of the ROR.

      If the right of return were to be offered to all Palestinian refugees, even the most generous estimates suggest that only one million would choose to return. It is sad that people would see the return of dispossessed people to their homes as a continuation of conflict. Who knows? Given the chance, you might get quite fond of them after a while. The whole point of conflict resolution is that friendship results. It’s not enough just to be without violence.

    • free man May 5, 2011, 1:40 PM

      It means the Pals will not give up the right to return to all parts of Palestine and the Jews will not give up the right to return to Judea and Samaria and we’re in for another generation of murder and bad blood on both sides.

      • Vicky May 5, 2011, 2:05 PM

        What about having one binational state?

        In his interview immediately following his brother’s killing, Motti Fogel stated that he did not see settlement dismantlement as an answer; it could only cause more distress. I agree with him. A lot of the atrocities that happen in this region are only made possible because people on both sides did not know each other. It’s easy to kill when your target has no face.

        When separation has caused so much hurt already, it seems strange to make it part of the solution.

        • free man May 6, 2011, 6:25 AM

          A state is not just an empty shell, it means something to the people who live in it. The whole essence of the state of Israel is to be a unique state with a predominant Jewish community. You cannot combine it with another state, just like you cannot combine Turkey and Greece together to form a “Tureece” state, it just does not work that way.
          I don’t think the Palestinians will agree to that either. If they do, we can solve the problem by adding Gaza strip to Egypt and the West bank to Jordan.
          BTW, your assumption that we don’t know one another is (how should I call it), well “American Hutzpa”. I’ve lived and worked with Arabs my whole life.

          In addition, to fix some misconceptions. The separation did not start by the Israeli side (although the Israelis did abuse the separation wall later in a very wrong way), it started by Palestinian side. For example, the last time I want for Ramalla was to buy cakes some 20 years ago. I was walking the main street when a couple of friends saw me and asked me (in alarm) what was I doing there. I told them I came to buy cakes and they told me (in concern) to return back as fast as I can cause it was not safe for me to be there. That was my last time in Ramalla.

          • Vicky May 6, 2011, 8:18 AM

            Free man,

            Israel already is a binational state. Nearly a quarter of its citizens are Palestinian, which is an extremely significant minority. The question is what type of binational state this is going to be – one that continues to oppress its citizens, or one that is truly welcoming to each person.

            You are right: states are not just empty shells. They have meaning. As Dr Izzudin Abuleish pointed out, Palestine and Israel are like conjoined twins – their stories are so closely intertwined that it will be very difficult to sever the places. It makes more sense for people to try and give some positive and hopeful meaning to this intimate connection instead of trying to break it. Rethinking what it means to be a Jewish state might help this process, as Motti Fogel suggests. Perhaps Jewishness is not solely determined by the number of Jews in a place (especially not when there is division within the community on who does and doesn’t qualify as a Jew) but by spirit and attitude.

            I’m not American, and my observation that Jews and Palestinians do not know one another is borne out of my experience here. Many Israelis are keen to tell me that they have worked with Arabs, but when I ask if they regularly socialise with these people, eat dinner in their houses, or speak their language (after all, Arabic like Hebrew is an official language of the state…) the answer is usually no.

            The separation began with the ethnic cleansing and all its subsequent injustices. Segregation was an intrinsic part of the system, and always has been. The wall is just the most recent and visible manifestation of that. People have always been able to get round this system and become friends, but there are things that hold them back, and fear is the main one. It seems to me that these same old fears taint much of the discourse about a two-state solution, which is why I reject it.

          • Deïr Yassin May 6, 2011, 8:43 AM

            @ free man
            “The whole essence of the state of Israel is to be a unique state with a predominantly Jewish community”

            No, the whole essence of the state of Israel is that it wasn’t established on the mythical “land without a people’, and the Palestinians are never going to give up the ROR.
            You better study the partition plan (the 181): that ‘predominantly Jewish state’ you’re talking about was supposed to have a Jewish population only slightly superior to the Arab population, and the borders had already been redrawn to fit that goal. Still, it was close to 50-50%, and only 10.000 Jews were supposed to live in the Arab state.

            The Hasbarist-in-chief at the time, Ben Gourion, promised that the State of Israel would make no distinction based on religion or ethnic origins. Do you at least know your own Declaraion of Independance ? It’s all in there.

            By the way, how do you recognize “American chutzpah” ? I mean, the rest of us know that Vicky is not American…

            PS. Your story of the separation wall starting on the Palestinian side is just plain BS and stories of ‘how good we know each other’ and ‘I’ve worked with Arabs all my life’ just break my heart…

          • Richard Silverstein May 6, 2011, 1:57 PM

            The whole essence of the state of Israel is to be a unique state with a predominant Jewish community.

            No, that’s YOUR idea and the idea perhaps of many, if not most Israelis. But there is a considerable minority of Israeli Jews who do not seek for Jews or Judaism to be “predominant” or superior inside Israel. The analogies to Turkey & Greece are simply wrong because neither Turkey nor Greece claims the lands of the other as their own nor has significant numbers of refugees who lived in one country or the other who were expelled from their homeland.

            we can solve the problem by adding Gaza strip to Egypt and the West bank to Jordan.

            Yes, that’s the view of Likud which you are parroting except usually they merely want to expel the Palestinians from the West Bank to Jordan & take the land for themselves. So I guess you’re slightly more moderate than they, but not much more.

            I’ve lived and worked with Arabs my whole life.

            Don’t you just love when Israeli Jews tell you that some of their best friends are Arab??? And how well they understand that “Arab mentality.” This guy knows Arabs as well as I know Afghanis.

            The separation did not start by the Israeli side

            Oh no, surely Meir Kahane didn’t begin calling for racial separation between Jews and Arabs in the early 1970s. And Israeli Palestinians haven’t been murdered by Israeli Jews inside Israel and in the West Bank. Surely the impulse for separation comes only fr. the Palestinian side. If you say it, that makes it so…puh-leeze.

  • Oded May 5, 2011, 6:08 AM

    In what ways is Hamas differs from Al-Qaeda ?

    • Richard Silverstein May 5, 2011, 1:19 PM

      Oh Lord, stop wasting our time. If you’re such an idiot that you’d ask such a question, you need to first start by doing some reading. Though I’m afraid that such reading might do harm to your brain function & actually force you to think.

      This is so patently hasbarist trollery that I warn you I have a very low threshhold for it.

      • Oh May 5, 2011, 1:28 PM

        Your comment opposes your entire blog, Richard.

        • Richard Silverstein May 5, 2011, 2:12 PM

          Sorry, but I have no patience for provocateurs. Anyone with a brain in their head can read the comment threads & see how things operate here. Stupid questions get stupid answers. Articulate questions, even if they disagree w. my views, will be answered as articulately as I can.

          • Kalea May 5, 2011, 8:03 PM

            I liked your answer and found it totally appropriate. Oded is merely parroting Netanyahu. This is your blog and you have every right to elevate the discussion beyond small-minded bias and hasbarist propaganda. Hasbarists bring their script with them to every blog trying to dominate and sabotage discussions that expose Israel and the fallacies Israelis use to monopolize the world’s sympathy and deprive Palestinians of their humanity and whatever credibility might help their cause and pressure Israel into surrendering anything.

      • free man May 6, 2011, 7:02 AM

        Yes, stop wasting our time. You Idiot.

        Hamas is a religouse movement aimes to eradicate Israel and free Palestine as it is Holy Muslim territory.

        While Al-Qaeda, accroding to wiki:
        “Al-Qaeda ideologues envision a complete break from the foreign influences in Muslim countries, and the creation of a new Islamic caliphate.”

        You see, totally different.

        • Richard Silverstein May 6, 2011, 1:47 PM

          You Idiot.

          And you, my friend just lost yr comment privileges.

          Yr claims about Hamas are false. It does not currently seek to eradicate Palestine as Meshal explicitly said in his statement quoted in this post. Nor does it seek to establish a Muslim caliphate. It is only interested in the issue of Palestine, not pan-Islamism as Al Qaeda is. You, my friend, are an ignoramus & we’re well rid of you.

          • Vicky May 7, 2011, 12:08 AM

            Free man,

            Khaled Hroub has written a useful introduction to Hamas (‘Hamas: A Beginner’s Guide’). It’s in Q&A format, so it’s easily accessible to people who don’t have the time or the inclination to read a long and meticulous political biography. You can just dip in and out. It’s pretty basic, but it does demonstrate the ways in which Hamas differs from al-Qaeda (and other Islamist movements).


            I’ve enjoyed talking to Free man over the time we’ve both been here. Based on his comments (particularly those he wrote following the death of Juliano Meir-Khamis) he is a well-meaning person who just happens to be scared. I see this from what he wrote about his children once. There are a lot of Israelis who fit this profile, and sometimes they will write or say things about Palestinian history/politics/culture that are muddled or just plain ignorant – because that’s what they know. A terrible aspect of segregation that is not discussed nearly enough is the effect it has on people’s ability and willingness to access information about those on the other side of the divide. I can’t feel annoyed with Free man for not being familiar with the worldview of Hamas when I learn that he’s a person who has felt deterred from setting foot in Ramallah for the last twenty years. A fearful climate like this doesn’t do wonders for anybody’s knowledge of anything.

            What are we to do about it? Of course it’s your blog, and you’re within your rights to decide who you want commenting here, but I’m not sure what’s achieved by barring such people from participating.

  • Oded May 5, 2011, 10:36 AM

    Here is what you are missing, Mashaal is not a moderate person, he says Common goal, ant that is the common denominator between the PLO and Hamas is the 1967 border. did he say anything about Hamas goals ? no. did he ever retract the Hamas covenant ? no. Hamas always stated that upon the return to 1967 border they will sign a cease fire, never stated that is their goal, their goal is outlined in the covenant.
    this is the same Mashaal, who stated today that the Americans are criminals for killing Osama Bin_laden (the moderate people fellowship.) stating:
    Hamas Politburo Chief demands West ‘recognize atrocity’ of al-Qaeda head’s killing, burial at sea. ‘There are moral rules and the shedding the blood of Arabs and Muslims by Americans is unacceptable,’ he says (link to ynetnews.com)

    Speaking of morals after shooting an anti missile tank on an Israeli school bus, a laser guided system (no mistake possible) that’s the definition of Hypocrisy.

    Talking of Hypocrisy, i see you were condemning Israelis who misspelled Arab names, while you are spelling his name
    MESHAL ? (Mashaal is the correct spelling of his name) where is your cronies choir that prayed on the poor guys ? some integrity, what a chutzpa.

    • Deïr Yassin May 5, 2011, 1:10 PM

      @ Oded)
      “I see you were condemnig Israelis who mispelled Arab names, while you are spelling his name Meshal – Mashaal is the correct spelling of his name”

      Another Israeli knowing the spelling of Arabic better than any Arab. Only long vowels are written in Arabic, and Khâled Mesh’al’s name in Arabic is written: mîm – shîn – ain – lâm with NO long vowels. The short vovel ‘a’ becomes ‘e’-like combined with certain consonants, and you can thus write ‘meshal’, ‘mashal’, meshaal or mash’al, the ‘ transcribing the ain.
      You better stick to lecturing on Hebrew.
      PS. We’re stilll waiting for any major Israeli political party recognizing a Palestinian state within defined borders.

    • Richard Silverstein May 5, 2011, 2:04 PM

      Whoa, a big stretch. Sorry, but I won’t go there. His words are clear. If you want to turn them into silly putty that’s your prerogative, but it doesn’t sell here.

      I’m making a new comment rule here. The Hamas covenant is officially chopped liver. It has no bearing on Hamas’ current policy and no leader ever refers to it. It isn’t followed & doesn’t determine anything except in the eyes of propagandists like you. So no further propagandistic references to the convenant. If you do, you’re violating the comment rules.

      What Meshal or Hamas said about Osama bin Laden is again off topic & irrelevant to a discussion about its views about Israel.

      The school bus attack is also off topic. Read the comment rules, again. YOu comment on the topic of the blog post. Capice??

      Every major English language publication spells his name Meshal. Are you know claiming you’re an Arabic scholar?? You unfortunately don’t understand there are readers here who, if you’re wrong as you likely are, will make mince meat of you. If you’re not wrong you’ll have to explain why English language major media outlets who study these things spell his name the way I do.

      You might want to spend a bit more time trying to make your comments better phrased in English. IT’s hard to follow you at times.

      • what May 5, 2011, 2:45 PM

        The Hamas covenant is officially chopped liver. It has no bearing on Hamas’ current policy and no leader ever refers to it. It isn’t followed & doesn’t determine anything except in the eyes of propagandists like you.

        Why aren’t they considered a threat in your eyes? Is every “oppression” legal?

        What Meshal or Hamas said about Osama bin Laden is again off topic & irrelevant to a discussion about its views about Israel.

        Why is it off topic… Hamas is one of the only figures in the Arab world that proclaimed such statements. And yet Abass considers them to be brothers.
        Is it OK if Iran rejoices in pure hate towards the West, criticizes it and executes homosexuals or stones women at the same time? I’d rather them just hate than act hypocrite.

        • Kalea May 5, 2011, 8:11 PM

          What does Iran have to do with this discussion???

        • Richard Silverstein May 5, 2011, 8:53 PM

          Again, don’t ask me why things are. Go read the comment rules first & then ask questions. One of those rules says that comments must be “on topic.” Which means that when a post deals with Hamas & Khaled Meshal’s statement that the Palestinian gov’t will negotiate based on 1967 borders, that Meshal’s views on Osama bin Laden have nothing to do with the blog post topic & are therefore “off topic.” That should be easy to understand & very clear. If it’s not & you do it again, you’ll hear from me & the next violation may have consequences in terms of yr participation in the threads.

          There are tens of thousands of comments here. That’s why there are rules & that’s why comments must stay on topic in order to keep conversation relevant to the actual subject matter of the posts.

          Again Iran is off topic. So consider yrself warned. Next off topic comment will result in moderation.

          If you need to publish comments on those subjects there are thousands of websites at which you may do this. But not this one unless, again, it’s on topic.

  • asi May 5, 2011, 1:25 PM

    Masshal talk about Bin Laden….
    link to ynetnews.com

    this is the guy Israel need to do peace with….

    • Richard Silverstein May 5, 2011, 1:33 PM

      Off topic. If you don’t stay on topic, your future comments will be moderated.

    • Ali May 5, 2011, 6:08 PM

      So what?…..You have members in your Knesset Praising Terrorists like Goldstein, such as Ben-Ari. What is your point exactly?.

    • Kalea May 5, 2011, 8:21 PM

      The irony of that ynet article is that the author waits until the very last paragraph to write this:

      “Meanwhile, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh urged militant groups in Gaza Strip to adhere to the de facto truce with Israel, reached after several days of fighting in April. Haniyeh stressed the move is vital for the success of the new-found Palestinian unity.”

      But noooh, you had to post biased tripe and conveniently neglect what’s hopeful and relevant to this blog.

      You hasbarists are so predictable.

  • fuster May 5, 2011, 7:21 PM

    —What happened to the blood-curdling calls for the elimination of Israel?—-

    Not a thing has happened to those calls. they’re still made when it suits Hamas’ purposes.

    It’s willing to stop firing missiles from Gaza but still has been calling for an armed uprising against Israel to be launched from the West Bank.

    They say whatever suits them. Trusting them or their good intentions is reckless.
    They either make manifest a pacific intent or they’re to be dealt with as still hostile and an enemy.

    • Richard Silverstein May 5, 2011, 9:17 PM

      they’re still made when it suits Hamas’ purposes

      Wrong. As I wrote, there will be many diff. statements coming from Hamas as there come from every gov’t when it faces a major decision affecting the entire nation. But the extremism & rejectionism of Hamas is generally receding & being replaced with pragmatism. I can’t say the same for the Israeli gov’t which seems to be moving in the opposite direction.

      still has been calling for an armed uprising against Israel to be launched from the West Bank.

      Stuff ‘n nonsense. How would Hamas undertake an armed uprising in the West Bank & why would it believe there was any chance of such a thing happening. And what does this have to do with Israel & Meshal’s statement about 1967 borders?? Nothing, & off topic again.

      They say whatever suits them. Trusting them or their good intentions is reckless.
      They either make manifest a pacific intent or they’re to be dealt with as still hostile and an enemy.

      This is far truer of the lying opportunist running Israel and his governing coalition and his intelligence services & military forces, than it is about Hamas. The movement has just manifested its pacifc intent by recognizing Palestine in 1967 borders. When Bibi can manifest any similar pacific intent the Messiah will be on his way.

  • Oded May 5, 2011, 9:01 PM

    this is your response to mine ?

  • David May 6, 2011, 4:19 AM

    One thing I haven’t seen in all this thread is a comment about Hamas recognizing Israel.

    Perhaps there are thoughs who think this is obvious… I don’t know. But I did see this on a CNN report:

    “Hamas will refrain from any violence and … Hamas will be interested in the peace process,” Nabil Shaath said on Israel Radio.

    But, he said, “I don’t think that Hamas should be asked to recognize Israel.

    link to cnn.com

    So just exactly with whom does Hamas wish to share this 1967 border… not meant to be cute, but I’m trying to figure out if Hamas isn’t yet ready to recognize Israel according to Shaath, then what do they see as the basis for a border of 1967…with what country…. a country they don’t recognize?

    What is promising is that Shaath said Hamas is “interested in the peace process”. If there is real truth (teeth behind the rhetoric) and he means peace with Israel and not (only) with his fellow Fatah folk, then there is progress.

    It’s track record of past doesn’t lead to an immediate “vote of confience” for Hamas’ “new leaf”. Other acts of good-wll, good intention might go a long way to garner support for their joining Fatah.

    • David May 6, 2011, 4:22 AM

      Just an added thought… or answer…

      If they base this declaration of desired borders on 1967, presumably res.242… does that then mean by defacto ( accepting 242) that they recognize Israel?

      • Richard Silverstein May 6, 2011, 2:01 PM

        De facto, yes that’s precisely right & you’ve answered yr own question. But not explicitly or as publicly as you (or I) would wish. But all that matters at this point is de facto. Explicit recognition will come down the road once both sides prove they can live with ea. other peacefully.

      • fuster May 7, 2011, 4:16 PM

        no. they de facto understand that Israel exists, but they do not and will not commit to anything that says that Israel’s existence is legit or that it SHOULD continue.

        they continue to hold to there stated views of what SHOULD BE and what they desire to be and what it is their duty to wish and work toward…..until they definitively say otherwise.

        this unstated acceptance is vaporous and it will be taken by different people to mean different things but will not commit Hamas to anything.

        • Richard Silverstein May 7, 2011, 10:02 PM

          Of course it’s “vaporous” to you who has his own political agenda which discounts everything anyone fr. Hamas says. But isn’t it interesting that one of Israel’s most distinguished former intelligence chiefs feels profoundly differently than you?

          Meshal has just committed to the words he’s expressed in this interview. You may deny or discount it, but you’d be denying the reality of what he said.

          • fuster May 8, 2011, 8:46 AM

            Richard, the reality of what he says isn’t particularly impressive until there are actions that prove out purported pacific intentions.

            I hope that the actions will bear out the words, but I’m not rushing to be gushing over words and am not going to be brushing away tears of joy just yet.

            Hamas and the PA have announced reconciliation deals before and they’ve fallen apart before, amounting to nothing.

          • Richard Silverstein May 8, 2011, 4:45 PM

            Similarly, the words Bibi says are meaningless unless accompanied by action. Bibi hasn’t shown any real actions to back up any statements he’s made that would offer any hope of peace. I have much more faith in Hamas’ willingness to realize its words than I do in Bibi’s. Neither has been flawless in execution of their policy statements, but Hamas is FAR more faithful to them than Bibi.

    • Tim Haughton May 6, 2011, 4:50 AM

      Hamas is an Islamist organisation, and as such can never recognise the legitimacy of Israel. For all its ideological rigidity, it offers flexibility within its ideological framework.

      They offer a Hudna, or long term truce, which is the equivalent of a de facto settlement.

      It’s frustrating for atheists like me, but it’s important to understand what they’re actually saying.

      But yes, Hamas already offers de facto recognition to Israel, which is all they are required to do under international law.

      As the Israel/Palestine scholar Norman Finkelstein has repeatedly pointed out: Gandhi never accepted the legitimacy of Pakistan, but it was, he said, a reality he was forced to accept.

      This is identical to Hamas’ position on Israel. Are we going to hold Hamas to a higher standard than Gandhi?

      • David May 6, 2011, 7:12 AM

        I find it ironic that you are linking Gandhi and Hamas. Gandhi was a pacifist and promoted his ideas and politics through non-violence. Not so Hamas.

        Ghandi, I don’t think, ever promoted the destruction of a soveirgn country, and although Hamas may have amended their take on destorying Israel… it was something they did actively promote.

        Hamas still believes in an armed struggle against Israel …its “Occupation”. Would Hamas call Israel ” a reality they are forced to accept- and let it exist, peacefully- if some form of peace agreement ( a big “if” I admit) between Fatah/Hamas and israel is reached, short of turning Israel into an Islamic country :>) – just a little humor.

        Your point about Islam and Hamas… I’m no expert on Islam, though I do understand (I think) that the issue of Wakf (sp?) and lands that were once under Islamic rule… even if they are transfered/conquered to non-Islamic rule, still are considered lands that should be ruled under Islamic law/control. Thus, Hamas sees the land of Israel as land that may be ruled by non-Islamic power, but should be ruled by Islamic law…. If I’m wrong, certainly don’t mind being corrected.

        Under what circumstances can Hamas, or any Islamic ruling power cancel the Hudna.

        • Richard Silverstein May 6, 2011, 1:46 PM

          I’m no expert on Islam

          That’s about the most accurate statement you make in this entire comment. Indeed, you know almost nothing about Islam. When a peace agreement is negotiated it will be negotiated on the basis of politics and not religious law: not halacha nor sharia. Thank God, neither one rules (yet) in Israel or Palestine.

          • David May 9, 2011, 7:35 AM

            I disagree. I researched this specific issue for a documentary film I was working on and indeed, Wakf does pertain to items such as buidings, land and terriories. It is a Holy religious endowment / or charitable contribution that cannot be revoked.

            I agree that Hamas’ claim today is political, not religious, but their ideology stems from Islam, the same way the State of Israel stems from Judaism.

            You may want to take the connection to religion out of the equation, but I don’t think either side will comlpetely alienate themselves from their religious ideologies.

            What are the “basis of politics?” You don’t think both sides will interject their particular “brand” of politics and ideologies?

            Granted they probably won’t be swinging Korans and Chumashim around during negotiations, but they will each bring that history/ideology/culture to the table.

            I’d like to think that this will be tempered with Democracy and fair negotiations, but I’m not sure if either side is ready or willing to that just yet.

          • Richard Silverstein May 9, 2011, 12:26 PM

            I have absolutely NO interest is discussing the Wakf & regardless of how much research you claim to have done on the subject I’m certain there are Muslims here who would run rings around whatever knowledge you claim on the matter. Besides, we can talk too about Ateret Cohanim & the extremist right’s theological arguments about reviving the Temple & animal sacrifices, bringing back the High Priesthood & not giving back an inch of Bibilical Israe. What’s the point? So regardless, we’re not talking about Wakf. We’re talking about a political settlement of a political issue.

            Religious ideologies are poison on both sides & will play little or no role ultimately in resolving the conflict. After a political solution the religious issues will be sorted out.

    • Tim Haughton May 6, 2011, 4:52 AM

      You might also be interested in this:

      link to usip.org

  • Daniel F. May 7, 2011, 8:52 AM

    What about the 900,000 to 1,000,000 Jews who left
    or were forced to leave Arab or Muslim countries (250K from Morocco alone)
    What about their ROR or compensation for abandoned or confiscated assets.
    Did Israel keep them in camps or assimilate them.
    Again, I call for a pragmatic and realistic approach that,while respecting the Palestinians and their ROR does not cause an unbearable social upheaval in Israel.
    Social justice with a little common sense.

    In addition I want to state that the future for Israel and her neighbors does not lie in arguing about limited resources
    but in the creation of new resources through the technical education of all her citizens to reap future economical bounties.

    The economic potential of the immediate area is phenomenal,better to have half of a big cake that all of a small one.

    • Richard Silverstein May 7, 2011, 7:07 PM

      No Jews were forced to leave Morocco. In fact, the king at the time begged Jews not to leave. And the situation was quite complicated in ARab countries. In a few they may’ve been forced to leave. In some, the Jews left because Israel planted bombs to spook the Jews into leaving. In some, Jews were afraid (for varying reasons) and left but weren’t forced to do so. In some, they left for personal reasons. The situation for Arab Jews was in no way similar to the Nakba or Holocaust as many argue.

      I would not be opposed to forcing Arab governments to restore property that Arab Jews lost or compensate them for it. And certainly it would be wonderful if Arab countries became tolerant enough to welcome back their former Jewish citizens.

      And I’m simply not going to get into the Jewish Arab Holocaust argument here. It’s been argued here scores of times.

      There ARE limited resources in Israel-Palestine. How do you propose to create new water resources for example when there’s only a finite amt of it & Israel is stealing more than its fair share. But yes, a peace agreement would create a much bigger pie for all & I’m with you on that pt.

      • Daniel F. May 8, 2011, 5:56 AM

        “How do you propose to create new water resources”

        Desalination,which needs a awful lot of energy but guess who found a lot of natural gas recently.

        It is very important to keep our feet on the ground and to take things step by step.
        Initial confidence building between the parties is imperative.
        For the Jewish population in Israel the cessation of terror
        would be an extremely significant step.
        What would be seen an equivalent and reciprocal confidence building step for the Palestinians?.

        • Richard Silverstein May 8, 2011, 4:50 PM

          Desalination is not a long-term viable or cost effective method of producing potable water. It’s incredibly expensive, uses tons of energy & just not viable unless you have the means of a Saudi Arabia, which no frontline Arab state does.

  • Adam June 22, 2011, 6:24 PM

    [comment rule violation–negating existence of Israeli or Palestinian peoples is prohibited]

  • Adam June 25, 2011, 12:12 PM

    [comment rule violation–NO ONE makes up fake quotations in my name, and if you put words I didn’t say in my mouth again you WILL be banned]

  • Richard Silverstein May 5, 2011, 1:35 PM

    I approve comments here that are on topic, relevant and substantive. If you try to be witty and snarky and yr comment is not substantive & contains no real arguments, it will not be approved.

  • Oded May 5, 2011, 4:06 PM

    You basically prohibit any debate with your rules. the only thing permissible is to state how great is Hamas,
    i guess you just can’t raise to the challenge of actually substantiating your views with real material and not your vision of what Hamas is.
    good luck.
    by the way you regulary violate your first comment rule
    1. insults, baiting, vulgarity, harassment or abuse directed toward the blog owner or other commenters are not tolerated

    when you refer to people as idiots, brainless.

    maybe you should add another comment rule, Richard Silverstein is exempt from all comment rules, and can make new rules whenever people point to him that he is violating his own comment rules.

  • Kalea May 5, 2011, 8:44 PM

    Read my reply to Richard near the top of the comments, and go start your own blog where you can expand your rant against Hamas to your heart’s content and stop trying to sabotage the discussion here. I prefer to keep an open mind where Hamas is concerned because unlike you, I empathize with people who’ve lived under military oppression and occupation for decades and understand that sometimes people resist violently when they’re deprived of their rights and oppressed and although I shun even violent resistance I personally want to give these people a chance to unite to give themselves the only possible opportunity to achieve freedom and statehood they have left, which I firmly believe is the last and only hope for peace and your precious Israel.

    We’re all aware of Hamas’s history and Israel’s violent history and frankly we don’t need you replaying Hamas’s violent history exclusively like a broken record just so you can taint and diminish this discussion.

  • Richard Silverstein May 5, 2011, 8:44 PM

    Whoa, you’re gone, buddy, real gone.

  • Richard Silverstein May 5, 2011, 9:06 PM

    You basically prohibit any debate with your rules.

    45,000 comments, many of which disagree w. my views say you lie (or are ignorant). What IS true is that YOU can’t set the comment rules, & that you don’t like my comment rules. Well, welcome to the club. There are a few others of you out there. But the blog wasn’t created with just you in mind. There are hundreds of thousands of other readers & commenters out there as well, some of whom don’t agree with YOUR views. That’s why there are rules, to make it as fair as possible for as many as possible. I’m not saying you or others won’t disagree. That’s your prerogative. But in the end, it’s my blog & I set the rules whether you like ’em or not.

    And yes, I freely admit that if you ask a stupid, self-evident, patently provocative question which is just asking for a fight, you’re not going to get the gentlest reception here. Another unwritten rule here is: don’t be cute, don’t be coy, & don’t try to appear to be asking or saying something that you aren’t. If you want to argue about something, as long as it’s on topic, make a clear statement of your views & support them with facts & evidence. That’s the way to participate in the comment threads here.

    Just as an example, when Meshal said a Palestinian gov’t would demand the recognition of ROR & you wrote “what does this mean?” That’s a dumb question. If you want to argue with his view you may. That would be a direct statement which would be fine. But to ask what Khaled Meshal means when he calls for ROR is insulting to everyone’s intelligence here. I don’t know, maybe your question was innocent posed (though I doubt it) & you don’t understand the problem with it. But I took it as presumptuous & passive-aggressive.

    As for my views of what Hamas is, every word that I state about Hamas is backed up by scores of posts I’ve written on the general subject. Those posts in turn are based on credible media reports which document various views or statements by Hamas. For example, Rashid Khalidi has written the definitive critique of the Hamas convenant provocation. You wouldn’t have read that. But if you’d bother to do the least digging in this blog using Google you’d find a reference to that post & find Khalidi’s post. I assure you that Rashid Khalidi knows 1,000 times more than you do about Hamas.

    I rarely use the terms idiot or brainless to describe people. But when they post here under false pretences it irks me & gets that response. If people want to be straightforward & candid they won’t be treated that way. If you abuse my hospitality here you won’t be treated well.

    And that’s the last I’m going to say to you explaining why I don’t maintain the comment rules for your personal benefit.

  • Richard Silverstein May 5, 2011, 9:11 PM

    Sorry, I’m not in the mood for your whining about what a bad, bad man I am. If you want to waste everyone’s time w. such whining your comments won’t be published (besides such complaints are off topic). If you want to comment on a substantive issue or the post at hand, do so.

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