The president, indeed the world, should have seen this coming. For years - from mosques throughout the region, to newspapers and television programs - the violent rhetoric against Israel, Jews and the West has not only been tolerated, but also promoted by states we claim are our "friends." We now say we will have nothing to do with Hamas, but that will change. We will eventually deal with Hamas after they claim to have eliminated or modified their charter for Western consumption.
How does one modify a charter that is the will of "God"? A senior Hamas official, Mushir al-Masri, told the Associated Press that recognizing Israel and negotiating with it are "not on our agenda." Even if Hamas did negotiate with Israel, why would anyone believe it would live up to any promises it might make?
People who have tried to draw distinctions between the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah and other groups have been in denial. They are all cut from the same terrorist cloth and all seek the same objectives despite occasional rhetoric to the contrary: a Palestine that doesn't include Israel.
What else is one to make of a statement by Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi, in an interview with Al-Jazeera, as reported in the Jerusalem Post on June 10, 2003: "By Allah, we will not leave one Jew in Palestine. We will fight them with all the strength we have. This is our land, not the Jews . You will have no security except outside the homeland Palestine . We have Allah on our side."
Last Sept. 16, Mushir al-Masri addressed a rally in Gaza. His remarks were carried on Al-Jazeera TV: "We have come here in multitudes to proclaim that Hirbiya and Ashkelon will be taken by the mujahideen . that weapons of the resistance that you see here will remain . so that we can liberate Palestine - all of Palestine - from the sea to the river, whether they like it or not."
Google "Hamas Charter" and after reading it and the foregoing statements, the only ones who can believe they mean something other than what they say and do must be in extreme denial. And that condition can get a lot of innocent people killed.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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