An analysis of the Palestinian election by the Guardian’s diplomatic editor, Ewen MacAskill, softens and justifies Hamas’s goals and motives, depicting the terrorist organization’s political victory ludicrously as a chance to achieve real peace between Israelis and Palestinians. This delusional attitude and acceptance of Hamas’s rhetoric reflects the predominant Guardian position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
After declaring that “the Hamas success also has a huge plus attached to it” because the group’s involvement in the election “represents a remarkable shift: a move towards politicisation of a hardline violent organisation,” making a peace deal a real possibility, MacAskill goes on to parrot the terrorist organization’s propaganda:
The organisation has for years had a compromise on offer, one espoused by its founder and leader, Sheikh Yassin, before his assassination by Israel. Hamas says it will not give up its aim of winning back Israel but it also says that will commit itself to an indefinite ceasefire, the effect of which is de facto recognition of Israel.
Winning back Israel? When did Hamas or the Palestinians ever govern Israel? Palestine was governed by a British mandate and before that by the Ottoman Turks. MacAskill thus allies himself with the Hamas position implying that Israel rightfully belongs to the Palestinians.
In his attempt to mitigate Hamas’s goals, MacAskill goes further than even the terrorist organization’s leaders. Hamas does not claim that a ceasefire constitutes “de facto recognition of Israel.” On the contrary, Hamas leaders have clearly explicated in recent newspaper interviews precisely the opposite–that a ceasefire or hudna is only a temporary measure that does not interfere with Hamas’s ultimate goal of destroying the Jewish state. MEMRI, for example, quotes recent interviews with the following Hamas leaders on their view of the ceasefire:
Isma’il Haniyya, who headed the Hamas list of candidates for the Legislative Council, said in an interview with the French news agency AFP that “Hamas supports the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital in the territories occupied [by Israel] in 1967 ‑ as an interim solution. However, Hamas will continue to maintain its views regarding the boundaries of historical Palestine, and [in terms of] refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the occupation.” (Al‑Ayyam [Palestinian Authority], January 22, 2006)
Dr. Mahmoud Al‑Rumhi, a candidate on the Hamas list, explained: “Hamas is aware of the changes that have occurred in the region and in the world, and is therefore proposing an interim solution. This solution is not new. I first mentioned it in 1988, and referred to it again in the 90s. The shahid Sheikh Ahmad Yassin repeated these statements in 2002 and 2003, and announced that [Hamas] is willing to accept an interim solution based on the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital in the territories that were occupied in 1967, removal of the settlements, and return of the refugees ‑ all this in return for a hudna [truce] of limited duration. This does not stand in contradiction to [the fact that] we have a strategic position…” (Interview in Al‑Hayat Al‑Jadida [PA], January 19, 2006)
Another candidate on the Hamas list, Ahmad Bahr, repeated at a Gaza election rally that “Hamas is willing to accept a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders as an interim solution, but without giving up a single grain of Palestinian soil, without recognizing the State of Israel, and on condition that Hamas retain the right to possess arms.” (Al‑Hayat Al‑Jadida [PA], January 22, 2006)
According to media reports, Hamas has retained a media consultant to improve the movement’s image. (Al‑Sharq Al‑Awsat [London], January 21, 2006) With commentators like Mr. MacAskill so busily polishing that image, it’s not obvious that Hamas even needs to hire a consultant.