If you (still) read The New York Times, pretty much all you know about the bedside interview of Abdel Aziz Rantisi, the Hamas arch terrorist and pediatrician who escaped an Israeli missile assault this week with a minor leg injury, is that he "vowed revenge from his hospital bed."
However, this Dumas-like description doesn't quite fit Rantisi's hospital-room rant as reported elsewhere. Knowing what the Hamas leader actually said makes Palestinian government insistence on all "dialogue" and no action regarding Hamas (or, in the words of Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, "the brothers of Hamas") seem even more like the dangerous sham that it is.
Here are some of the Hamas leader's choicer words: "I swear we will not leave a single Jew in Palestine" -- which, in terror-speak, means "not a single Jew in Israel." This statement appeared in the Washington Times. "I am telling Sharon and all the Israeli murderers, you don't have any security unless you leave the country" (i.e., leave Israel), the Washington Post reported.
Such statements strike me more as conversation-enders than dialogue-openers. These sentiments don't promise "revenge" as much as they reaffirm the same old strategy of annihilation by terrorism that imperils Israel in the modern age -- now to a calamitous degree. Indeed, Internet news service IslamOnline.net characterized Rantisi's words as having "reaffirmed" the strategy of "resistance and rifle" -- terror-speak, it seems, for donning Orthodox garb and self-detonating a bus filled with office-bound commuters. That's exactly what a Hamas terrorist did the day after Rantisi spoke. Sixteen Israelis were killed during the afternoon rush hour on Wednesday, leaving scores maimed and wounded on a sunny Jerusalem thoroughfare.
"You have no option but Jihad and martyrdom," Rantisi told IslamOnline.net. "By Allah Almighty, we will pursue Jihad until we bring back all Palestinian refugees to their homeland and restore every inch of our usurped land" -- terror-speak, of course, for every inch of Israel. This wasn't Rantisi's first rant (and, regrettably, won't be his last). A few months back, Rantisi justified the loss of the space shuttle Columbia as "part of the divine punishment of America and, together with it, Zionism." Before that, the good doctor was calling for "thousands of squads of martyrs" to be equipped with "thousands of sophisticated explosives belts" to kill themselves, along with as many Americans and British troops as possible, for the greater glory of Saddam Hussein.