In recent interviews recorded for the English-speaking world, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal has sought to present a less radical side of Hamas, one that is unworthy of the “terrorist” moniker. The reality is that Hamas remains a terrorist organization, as the most recent interview clearly reveals.
During an interview with Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News posted on August 22nd, Meshaal, the political leader of Hamas who lives safe and secure in Qatar, rejected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assertion that ISIS was like Hamas and Hamas like ISIS, stating, “We are not a religious, violent group,” calling ISIS (also known as the Islamic State) a “totally different phenomenon.” As he explained, “We are fighting against aggression in our land.”
Why then did the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, send this tweet out on August 16? “We are continuing our struggle. ALLAH IS OUR GOAL, THE PROPHET IS OUR LEADER, JIHAD IS OUR WAY, AND DEATH FOR ALLAH IS OUR MOST EXALTED WISH.” (Caps in the original.)
That sounds pretty religious and violent to me. In fact, it sounds totally religious and violent.
Not only so, but to anyone familiar with the infamous Hamas Charter, this mirrors the slogan found there, as noted on Israel’s IDF Blog, which rightly stated that, “This recent tweet serves as a reminder of Hamas’ radical Islamist nature so enshrined in the terror group’s charter.”
In the interview, Meshaal acknowledged for the first time Hamas’ role in the kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli teenagers, something that foes of Israel had been denying for the last two months.
He did specify that the operation was carried out by a lone Hamas cell rather than by the direct command of their leadership, but rather than renounce the cold-blooded murders for what they were, he sought to justify them: “We were not aware of this action taken by this group of Hamas members in advance,” he said. “But we understand people are frustrated under the occupation and the oppression, and they take all kinds of action.”
Yes, they take all kinds of actions, like kidnapping and killing three unarmed rabbinical students. As Meshaal explained, “Our view is that soldiers and settlers on the West Bank are aggressors, and they are illegally living in this occupied and stolen land. And the right to resist is the right of Palestinians.”
So, since the boys lived in a West Bank settlement, the Hamas operatives had “the right” to kidnap and murder them.
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.