In the wake of the Hamas victory in the Palestinian legislative elections, Washington is already under pressure to emulate the wrong-headed policies of the late 1980s and early 1990s, when American policy-makers labored to persuade Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organization to say they recognized Israel's right to exist. The result was the 1993 Oslo Accords and the endless and naive "peace process" that followed: seven years of substantial Israeli political and territorial concessions in exchange for empty promises to end the conflict with Israel and to prevent Palestinian terrorism. Now there is a new drumbeat of demands that Washington court Hamas - in other words, that we repeat what failed.
It makes no sense to go chasing after the likes of Hamas boss Mohammed Zohhar, to cajole him into making a meaningless statement laden with caveats about continuing "a ceasefire" with Israel - even as Hamas and its terrorist allies fire rockets into Israel and prepare for a new round of terrorist strikes. Washington and the EU should never, ever, subsidize Zohhar and his ilk.
The Palestinian Authority election is finally over, The election results are in. The votes have been counted and tallied. And the winner is Hamas, one of the world's leading terrorist organizations. The world is "shocked" and "stunned" at this victory. The political analysts are now grappling with the obvious question, "How can the United States backed "Roadmap to Peace" be implemented with such a group at the helm"?
As Jews we are not "surprised" at the outcome of this election. As a matter of fact, we are shocked that the world is shocked. We are not living in perpetual fantasy, convincing ourselves that the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians want peace with the State of Israel. Their words and actions have been crystal clear for many years. They will not renounce violence to achieve their ends. They clearly and unequivocally call for the total annihilation of the Jewish State. They spell it out for us in neon lights, and yet we remain blind to their true ambitions. Between their well funded propaganda campaign, their active recruitment of suicide bombers and their ability to win the hearts of their people, they know they are winning their war for the "liberation of Palestine".
Immediately following their victory in the polls, Hamas leader Mahmoud A-Zahar said, "The armed struggle will continue, and it will cause Israel to make great concessions, and will change the way Egypt and Jordan relate to Israel as well."
And for those that believe that Hamas is committed to the principle of democracy and can work within the mainstream political framework, it is imperative that we take a closer look at the history of Hamas and their track record.
Hamas was founded by Islamic militant extremists in the Gaza Strip in 1988, shortly after the first intifada broke out. The word Hamas is an acronym for the Arabic words for "Islamic Resistance Movement." The organization is devoted chiefly to the obliteration of Israel. Its charter states, "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it." The charter further states, "There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors."
Hamas is responsible for 24 murders before the Oslo Accords, 156 more before the Oslo War began in September 2000, and at least another 377 since then - a total of at least 557.
The organization's first mass attack was a car bomb that blew up at a bus stop in Afula in April 1994, murdering 8 and wounding 51. Among the most horrific Hamas attacks were the following:
22 people murdered and 56 wounded in a suicide bombing attack on the No. 5 bus on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv in October of 1994.
26 murdered by suicide bomber on a #18 bus near the Jerusalem Central Bus Station in February of 1996.
16 murdered in the Machane Yehuda open market in Jerusalem in a double suicide attack in July of 1997.
23 dead and 115 wounded when a Hamas suicide bomber blew himself up on a No. 2 bus line coming from the Western Wall in Jerusalem in August of 2003.
45 murdered within the space of five days in March 2002: a suicide Hamas terrorist blew himself up in a Haifa resturant, killing 15, and another one did the same in the Park Hotel in Netanya during a Passover Seder, murdering some 30 and wounding 144.
The ten worst Oslo War Hamas attacks, in which a total of 186 were murdered, also included the following:
June 1, 2001 - Dolpinarium in Tel Aviv, 21 murdered - mostly new-immigrant teenagers from the Soviet Union.
August 9, 2001 - Sbarro's Pizzeria in Jerusalem, 15 murdered
December 2, 2001 - Haifa bus, 15 murdered
May 7, 2002 - Rishon Letzion hall, 16 murdered
June 18, 2002 - #32 bus from Gilo, Jerusalem 19 murdered
March 5, 2003 - #37 bus in Haifa, 15 murdered
June 11, 2003 - #14 bus, Jerusalem, 17 murdered
And the list goes on.
With a history that is replete with such actions, how can any clear thinking, rational person actually believe that Hamas is dedicated to democracy. We all know that the United States is dedicated to the belief that they can convince blood thirsty terrorists that peaceful and civilized democratic processes are the way to go. Now that the results are in, the Bush administration has egg on their faces. The Washington Post reported early this week that the U.S. had, relatively secretly, spent $2 million in recent weeks to promote Fatah, the party that would ostensibly carry out and abide by the US backed, "Roadmap to Peace."
So much for attempting to co-opt democracy at work.
And what do the leaders of the Israeli government have to say? Just prior to the PA elections, the Herzilya Conference was held in which Israeli lawmakers set out policy statements. The entire gamut of leaders, from Olmert to Netanyahu, (who purport to be "right- wingers") all present plans in which further territorial concessions would be made to the Arab enemy. If the truth be told, there is no clear and distinct delineation of "left" and "right" wing parties in Israel anymore. The entire mainstream Israeli political system is handing over a victory to Hamas by stating their willingness to make even further painful compromises and concessions.
Let us face the tragic facts. The Arabs do not want peace with us. How much clearer can they make it. We cannot convince them to make peace through handing them our G-d given land over to them. The mentality of the Arab enemy is different than ours. They interpret concessions and compromises as signs of weakness and they prey upon it and have even more contempt for us. They know that their war for statehood is predicated on relentless murderous attacks of innocent Israeli citizens and Jews worldwide. We reward them for their heinous murders by giving them even more land and greater economic incentives.
What nation in the world rewards violence with gifts and expressions of compromise?
The answer is clear, however we close our eyes and hearts to it. The answer is to turn our hearts to Hashem and to be as dedicated to carrying out the precepts of His holy Torah. The answer is to cry out and cleave to the Almighty G-d of Israel. The answer is to purge the Arab enemy from out midst and to treasure the land that the Lord our G-d gave to us in His compassion and mercy. The answer is to be dedicated and committed to our faith and to have the courage to see the truth and act upon it.
We are living in precarious times. We have a choice at this juncture of Jewish history. We can become Jewish lemmings and participate in our own collective suicide by continuing on the path of concessions and more forced evacuations of Jews from their homes or we can raise the gauntlet and put an end to this madness. We have in our ability to be the harbingers of the final redemption. We must only fear Hashem Yisborach and not the nations of the world. We must know that when we deal with our enemies according to the commandments of the Torah that Hashem will be at our side and never leave us. He is our strength, savior, and shield and will deliver our enemies into our hands if we only believe in Him. Only through Jewish strength and power and the willingness to have complete Emunah and Bitachon (faith and trust) in the Almighty G-d of Israel can we emerge victorious.
Let us remember the words of the sweet singer of Israel, King David who said, "The will of those who fear Him He will do; and their cry He will hear, and save them." (Psalm 145)