Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hamas position

The United States Institute for Peace has issued an appraisal by Paul L. Scham of the Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies and Osama Abu Irshaid of what they see as the Hamas position. It's interesting. This is the summary:
  • Although peaceful coexistence between Israel and Hamas is clearly •not possible under
    the formulations that comprise Hamas’s 1988 charter, Hamas has, in practice, moved
    well beyond its charter. Indeed, Hamas has been carefully and consciously adjusting
    its political program for years and has sent repeated signals that it may be ready to
    begin a process of coexisting with Israel.
  • As evidenced by numerous statements, Hamas is not hostile to Jews because of religion.
    Rather, Hamas’s view toward Israel is based on a fundamental belief that Israel
    has occupied land that is inherently Palestinian and Islamic.
  • For Hamas, “recognition” of Israel would represent a negation of the rightness of its
    own cause and would be indefensible under Islam. It considers unacceptable for itself
    the actions of those Muslim countries that have recognized Israel, such as Egypt and
    Jordan, and those that have indicated their willingness to do so, such as Saudi Arabia
    and the rest of the Arab League, because they have provided no theological justification
    for their policies toward Israel.
  • Although Hamas, as an Islamic organization, will not transgress shari‘a, which it
    understands as forbidding recognition, it has formulated mechanisms that allow
    it to deal with the reality of Israel as a fait accompli. These mechanisms include
    the religious concepts of tahadiya and hudna and Hamas’s own concept of
    “Palestinian legitimacy.”
  • Tahadiya refers to a short-term calming period between conflicting parties during
    which differences are not put aside. A tahadiya stopped most violence between Hamas
    and Israel from June to December 2008.
  • Hudna is a truce for a specific period, which is based on the practice of the Prophet
    Mohammad and on subsequent events in Muslim history. Hamas has indicated on a
    number of occasions its willingness to accede to a hudna with Israel, assuming basic
    Palestinian rights as set forth in the Arab Peace Initiative (API) are agreed to first.
  • Palestinian legitimacy is a term employed by Hamas to describe its willingness to consider
    accepting a binding peace treaty, such as the proposal set forth in the API, so
    long as the treaty is first ratified by the Palestinian people in a referendum. Although
    Hamas would not directly participate in peace negotiations with Israel, Hamas has
    indicated that it would be willing to be part of a Palestinian coalition government
    with Fatah under which Fatah would negotiate the actual treaty.
  • Although a peace process under such circumstances might, for Israelis and Westerners,
    seem involved, arcane, and of dubious utility, it is necessary to consider the
    possibility of such a process because there is no realistic scenario under which Hamas
    will disappear. Understanding the Islamic bases of Hamas’s policies and worldview will
    be essential for the success of any process in which it is engaged.

1 comment:

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