April 2015 The political leader of the militant Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas says the results of Israel’s elections will further diminish hopes for peace. Khaled Meshaal told the BBC the victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and its right-wing allies meant there would be ‘more extremism’. He said Hamas was not looking for any escalation, but would defend itself. Militants in Gaza led by Hamas fought a 50-day war with Israel last summer that left more than 2,200 people dead. Last week, Amnesty International said rockets and mortar attacks on civilian areas in Israel during the conflict amounted to war crimes. ‘Right on the rise’ Hamas is designated a terrorist organisation by Israel, the US and other countries due to its long record of attacks on Israelis and its refusal to renounce violence. Under its charter, the group is committed to the destruction of Israel.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s pre-election vow not to allow a Palestinian state was criticised by the US But to its supporters Hamas is seen as a legitimate resistance movement. In an interview with BBC Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen in Qatar, Mr Meshaal said attacks on Israel would continue ‘as long as there is occupation, aggression, war and killing’. But he stressed that Hamas was ‘careful to respect international humanitarian law and to target only military targets’.”
Read/watch the entire interview here.
The GMBDW is less than impressed with this interview of Mr. Meshaal in which the BBC interviewer appears unwilling or unable to ask any difficult questions or to confront Meshaal with his own contradictions. For example, a simple review of GMBDW coverage on Meshaal suggests that the following statements represent something less than complete honesty on the part of Meshaal. Here, Meshaal claims that Hamas has accepted the basis for a “two-state solution”:
Although Hamas has opposed years of on-off peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, Mr Meshaal said he and the group had agreed to accept the boundaries which existed before the 1967 Middle East war as the basis for those of a future Palestinian state.
However, it is well known that Hamas accepts the 1967 boundaries only has a “hudna” or temporary truce and in fact seeks the completely destruction of the Jewish state. In December 2012, the GMBDW reported on the first visit ever to Gaza by Mr. Meshaal in which he made the following remarks:
Meshal, who has led Hamas from exile, used the occasion to reiterate the group’s long-held principles, calling for ‘armed resistance’ to eliminate Israel. ‘Palestine, from the river to the sea, from north to south, is our land,’ Meshal said, ‘Not an inch of it can be conceded.’ ‘We cannot recognize the legitimacy of Israel’s occupation of Palestine,’ he said. ‘There is no legitimacy to occupation, and therefore no legitimacy for Israel, no matter how long it will take.’ ‘Liberating Palestine, all of Palestine, is a duty, a right and a goal,’ he added.
In another part of the BBC interview, Mr. Meshaal claims that “Islam does not allow killing innocent people” and that Hamas condemns “violence under the name of Jihad:
Hamas, he added, was “an active resistance with a just cause, battling the occupier.” “Others practice violence under the name of jihad, which we condemn. And this is not Islam. Islam encourages its followers to fight those who occupy their land and their sacred places. But Islam does not allow killing innocent people, civilians, or killing based on identity, belief and different views, political or religious.”
We won’t bother reviewing the many years and many civilian deaths and injuries caused by Hamas suicide, unguided missile, and other attacks but we do note that as recently as October of 2014, we reported that Khalid Meshaal had completed the picture of Hamas responsibility for the June kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank, an event which sparked the last round of the Gaza conflict. In the interview, Meshaal acknowledges that Hamas field operatives have free reign to plan and execute operations with the blessing of the leadership. In addition, we had reported in October 2012 that Meshaal had given a speech in Cairo in which said:
Nothing will restore the homeland but jihad, the rifle, and self-sacrifice” and that Zionists are the enemies of Allah and of Muhammad, Jesus, Moses, and Abraham – the enemies of the Prophets, of the Messengers, of values, and of morality.’
The BBC interviewer fails completely to question Mr Meshaal about the years of vitriolic anti-Semitism espoused by Hamas. In just one example example, in 2009 we reported on comments made by on anti-Semitic comments made by a Hamas MP and cleric who said:
It is well known that the Jews are bent on spreading abomination, depravity, and all types of corruption on the face of the Earth. Given that the diseases inflicted by God upon us constitute divine punishment for abomination, crime, and great sins – it is the Jews who are behind most of the abominations. They are the ones who spread obscenity and depravity, as well as brothels, nightclubs, discotheques, cinemas, chalets, casinos, and other devilish dens of temptation. Therefore, people who are afraid of the bestial swine flu should be even more afraid of the measures taken by the Zionist devils, which are more lethal to humanity than pigs.
In September 2014, we reported on Mr. Meshaal’s own view of Jews when he said that the Israelis had “perpetrated a new holocaust, even worse than the holocaust perpetrated by Hitler.”
“Mr Meshaal was born in 1956 in the village of Silwad, near the West Bank city of Ramallah. Meshaal has been increasingly important since Sheikh Yassin died. His father, like many other Palestinians, travelled to the Gulf emirate of Kuwait in the 1960s for work. His family followed after the area fell under Israeli occupation in 1967.At school, Mr Meshaal became involved in Palestinian and Islamic activism. He joined the Muslim Brotherhood in 1971. Mr Meshaal continued to take interest political Islam while studying physics at Kuwait University and he founded a student organisation called the List of the Islamic Right. After graduating in 1978, he spent a number of years teaching physics in Kuwait. In 1987, Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Gaza founded the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, in response to a mass uprising against the Israeli occupation. Mr Meshaal became increasingly involved with Hamas over the next few years, leading what was known as the Kuwait contingent of Palestinians who lived and worked there.
Read the rest here.
A 2009 book review provides further detail on Mr. Meshaal’s early activities in the Kuwaiti Muslim Brotherhood.