On July 11, the Washington Post editorial editor treats readers to an opinion column, "Aggression Under False Pretenses," by Ismail Haniyeh. Haniyeh is a leader of Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement) in the Gaza Strip. Hamas is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, Israel, the European Union, Canada, Australia and other countries. Haniyeh is also, following January's victory by Hamas in the Palestinian legislative elections, prime minister of the Palestinian Authority. But by reading the column, one would not know that Hamas is a terrorist organization, responsible for the murders of hundreds of Israelis and others, or that Haniyeh is a member, let alone a leader. The Post Op-Ed identifies him only as the PA's prime minister.
The column itself is full of double-speak — some of it useful, if readers already know the Hamas code. This is not the first time recently that The Washington Post has made its Op-Ed page available to Hamas propaganda.
On January 31, the paper published "What Hamas Is Seeking," by Mousa abu Marzook, the number two leader in Hamas' Damascus headquarters. Marzook extended Hamas' campaign tactic to down-play its anti-Israel, anti-Western, Islamic fundamentalism — at least for foreign consumption. He attempted to enlist the sympathy of U.S. readers by drawing a false parallel between the Palestinian Arabs' war against the Jewish state and Americans' love of freedom and equality. The Post gave him 981 words to do so, when its average Op-Ed runs around 750 words.
CAMERA faulted the Post for collaborating with Hamas' then-current public relations effort. Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor, attempted to defend his decision in his own column, "The Goal of These Pages" (February 5). Hiatt claimed that publishing Marzook's piece was legitimate since "the party's platform and intentions are newsworthy." That they are — with their antisemitism and Islamic triumphalism. But Marzook's column avoids or fudged the substance of Hamas' platform and intentions.
CAMERA suggested at the time that Marzook's commentary should have been paired, or quickly followed by, an expert counterpoint analyzing for Post readers Hamas' double game. No such column followed. Instead, subscribers now get "Marzook, the Sequel," in Haniyeh's commentary.
The Latest Spin
The Post gives Haniyeh 1,155 words (an adjacent column by the paper's own Eugene Robinson runs 719 words) which, among other things:
1) Attempts to compare America's July 4th celebration of independence "from colonial occupation" to the Palestinian Arabs' struggle.
But Hamas is in no way comparable to the Americans who waged war against the British military and Israel is not similar to King George III's England. Haniyeh conveniently forgets that the "military wing" of the Continental Congress did not routinely infiltrate England, murder King George III's subjects in their shops and homes, deny England's "right to exist," and insist on the superiority of its people on religious grounds. And unlike King George III, Israeli leaders accepted a two-nation compromise solution . If the Arabs had also accepted the two-state solution back in 1947, when it was offered by the United Nations in its Partition Plan, there would have been 59 years of peace and prosperity for both peoples rather than years of relentless terrorism against Israel and hardship for the Palestinians. The people responsible for preventing Palestinian statehood are not Israelis, but the Palestinians themselves. Even today, the Hamas leaders/terrorists refuse to recognize Israel's legitimacy and prolong/escalate the state of war through acts of violence and terrorism and by indoctrinatng their people with extremist rejectionist beliefs.
2) Alleges once again that Israel imprisons residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip "for resisting the illegal, ongoing occupation that is condemned by international law."
This, while Palestinian terrorists launch thousands of rockets at Israel from the Gaza Strip, unoccupied following Israel's unilateral withdrawal last August. This, while Palestinian "resistance" — anti-Israel terrorism — is itself a series of crimes against humanity. This, after Palestinian leadership committed itself as part of the Oslo process and the international diplomatic "road map" to ending terrorism and resolving outstanding issues through negotiations, but failed to do so.
Israelâ€™s presence in the disputed territories is legal. Israel gained the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) in self-defense in 1967, continues to resist Palestinian terrorism originating from there, and remains the legitimate military authority pending negotiated settlement under U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the Oslo accords and the "road map."
3) Plays the victim. Haniyeh writes "The current Gaza invasion is only the latest effort to destroy the results of fair and free elections held early this year."
The Palestinians are free to vote for whomever they want, but there are consequences for electing a terrorist government that provides a safe haven for terrorists, promotes ethnic cleansing, and commits its own acts of unprovoked violence against Israel.
Haniyeh writes that "as I inspect the ruins of our infrastructure — the largess of donor nations and international efforts all turned to rubble once more by F-16s and American-made missiles — my thoughts again turn to the minds of Americans. What do they think of this?"
Maybe they think just what Post editorial writers thought when they wrote "Hamas' War; The movement defended armed attacks and hostage-taking; now it's complaining that Israel is fighting back," July 2. Criticizing PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah movement, the United Nations, Egypt, and other Arab countries for not leaning on the Hamas-led PA, the Post noted Israel's restraint in Gaza and suggested that "instead of fulminating about supposed Israeli war crimes, these actors ought to be demanding that Hamas — and its sponsors in Damascus and Tehran — stop their own acts of terrorism and war."
4) Urges Americans to "give careful and well-informed thought to root causes."
The root cause of the violence remains: Arab leaders have refused to accept that Jews have legitimate human rights and that it is not acceptable to murder Jewish civilians over a political disagreement. The Arabs have refused to accept that both peoples have historical ties to the land and that a permanent two-state solution is a fair compromise.
5) Refers to "a supposedly 'legitimate' state such as Israel" which allegedly "has had to conduct decades of war against a subject refugee population ...."
That's spin in overdrive: It is Hamas that conducts war against a country whose population includes several million Jewish refugees from Arab countries and their descendants; it is the Palestinian Arabs who — unlike any other post-World War II refugee population — have insisted on multi-generational refugee status and refused and been refused resettlement in Arab countries; its the Palestinians who insist on conducting a terrorist war against Israel and, as the Post's July 2 editorial noted, complain when Israel fights back.
6) Laments Israeli "aggression ... against 3.9 million civilians living in the world's largest prison camps."
If a reader already knows that the Arab population of the West Bank and Gaza Strip grew dramatically under Israel's post-1967 control, as did the area's economic growth, health standards and educational levels — until the Palestinians' 1987 - 1992 intifada — that conditions again improved markedly during the 1993 - 2000 Oslo period, and declined with the second intifada, he or she knows that Haniyeh is blowing smoke. Especially if the reader recalls that Hamas did its best to destroy the Oslo process, beginning suicide bombings in 1994, and to prevent "the occupation" from ending in the two-state solution proposed by Israel and the United States at Camp David in 2000, joining enthusiastically in Yasser Arafat's "al Aqsa intifada." But readers who donâ€™t know, and who assume that Post Op-Eds are fact-checked, will be misled.
It should also be noted that Gaza shares a border with Egypt and Gazans are free to access the rest of the world through Egypt. If the Palestinians are unhappy that they are often not welcome to visit, pass through or work in Israel due to anti-terror security measures, they should keep in mind that Israel wouldn't need checkpoints if the Palestinians stopped their brutal terrorism against Jewish civilians in restaurants, malls, hotels and buses.
Haniyeh reveals himself to readers already knowledgeable about Hamas' ideology and strategy — that is, who have other sources of information in addition to the Post. He acknowledges that "the occupation," Israeli control of the West Bank, is not the underlying problem. Israel's existence inside the pre-'67 lines is. For example: "Contrary to popular depictions of the crisis in the American media, the dispute is not only about Gaza and the West Bank; it is a wider national conflict that can be resolved only by addressing the full dimensions of Palestinian national rights in an integrated manner." This means not only a West Bank and Gaza Strip "Palestine," but also "resolving the 1948 Palestinian refugee issue fairly, on the basis of international legitimacy and established law. Meaningful negotiations with a non-expansionist, law-abiding Israel can proceed only after this tremendous labor has begun."
Translation: According to Hamas, the Jews are not a nationality but only a religious group to be subordinated, like Christians, under Islamic rule. They are not entitled to a country. The Arab "refugees" from 1948 -- from a war the Arabs started in violation of international law -- and their several million descendants, must be allowed to "return" to Israel, destroying the Jewish state demographically. And according to Hamas, contrary to international law, including the British Mandate for Palestine and U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, Israel does not have any legitimate claims in Judea and Samaria, so all Jewish communities there must be dismantled. Basically, Israel must first surrender, then negotiations can begin. Hamas, Haniyeh claims, is law-abiding, Israel is not.
Haniyeh promises more terrorism, "If Israel will not allow Palestinians to live in peace, dignity, and national integrity [a state in all the West Bank, Israel, and Gaza Strip], Israelis themselves will not be able to enjoy those same rights." He claims terrorism is permissible, "a matter of law, as settled in the Fourth Geneva Convention." Here Hamas attempts to kidnap not just Israelis, but international law. The Geneva Convention, not to mention any other international law, does not shield Hamas.
He tosses dust about a peaceful Holy Land "for all the Semitic people of the region." There are Semitic languages, not Semitic peoples. But Haniyeh's "peaceful Holy Land for all the Semitic people of the region" is code for Hamas' "one-state solution," an Islamic theocracy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.