WHILE YOU STAND ON ONE LEG: I read Hamas’ “revised charter” today. It’s grim reading, asserting the narrative that Jews have no land of Israel homeland claim, and using the delegitimizing terms we see again and again in the West. A Jewish organization’s article Friday quotes Fatah as agreeing with Hamas that Israel “has no right to exist.” But Hamas’ revised charter is necessary reading for us, making vividly plain how we have to respond – asserting no less vigorously the Jewish claim to our homeland, and challenging the dirty words that have gained acceptance as accurate words in the West.
Hamas’ Revised Charter: A Clear Statement of the Arab Palestine Claim Warranting Clear Claiming by Us
Today I read a translation in English of Hamas’ revised charter. Despite what some on our side, according to a Jewish Press article debunking it earlier this month, “have begun to celebrate” as “the coming recognition of Israel by Hamas,” don’t kid yourself. Hamas’ revised charter does not give an inch.
*** It calls Israel “the Zionist Project … the Zionist entity …the Zionist state … the Zionist occupation.”
*** It defines [point #11] “the Palestinian cause” as “basically a cause of an occupied land and displaced people, and the right of return for all Palestinians who were displaced from the 1948 or 1967 lands, which means the whole of Palestine.”
It reinforces this rather firmly in point #19:
“19. We do not leave any part of the Palestinians’ land, under any circumstances, conditions or pressure, as long as the occupation remains. Hamas refuses any alternative which is not the whole liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea. And the creation of the Palestine independent state with its sovereignty, with Jerusalem as its capital, on the borders of the fourth of June 1967, with the return of refugees to their homes from where they were displaced is a common national consensual formula, and it does not mean the recognition of the Zionist state or the surrendering of Palestinian rights.”
*** It says [point #10] “Jerusalem city [not “East” Jerusalem] is the capital of Palestine” and that “all its Islamic and Christian holy places headed by Al Aqsa mosque is a non-negotiable right for Palestine, Arab and the Islamic nations.” It says: “We do not surrender any part of it, and all the occupation’s procedures in Jerusalem such as Judaization, settlement of the city as well as the forgery of the truth, are illegal.”
*** It says that “the Zionist Project” [point #14] “does not just attack the Palestinian people, it attacks the Arab and Islamic nations as well.” But, seemingly inconsistently, by me, it goes on [point #15] to “differentiate” [its term] between “Jews as people of the holy book, and Judaism as a religion,” having no conflict “with the Jews because they are the Jews,” on the one hand, while having “a conflict with the Zionists, occupiers and aggressors,” on the other, vowing to “fight anyone who tries to attack the Palestinian people or occupy their land whatever their religion, nationality or identity may be.”
I’ll get into this language and inconsistency in a moment, but first I want to draw your attention to a Unity Coalition for Israel article that appeared Friday, headlined: “Fatah Leader: Fatah and Hamas Agree Israel Has No Right To Exist.” It quotes a Fatah leader: “To this moment, Fatah does not recognize Israel,” and a Hamas leader: “Our principles say that our land is all of Palestine, including the land that is under occupation (i.e., Israel).”
So we’re not just talking here about the “militant” Hamas, and not the “moderate” Fatah.
As for what I above called an “inconsistency,” Hamas does not grant Jewish (and Christian) supporters of Israel the stake in Palestine it claims [point #14] for not just “the Palestine people,” but for “the Arab and Islamic nations as well.”
Indeed, at least one Jewish writer, writing of Hamas’ revised charter in the Jewish Press, April 3, seems, unless said with tongue-in-cheek, to accept this:
“… if you are Jewish and not living in Israel, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Hamas has no beef with you. The new charter distinguished between ‘the Jews as a People of the Book and as followers of a religion on one hand, and the occupation and the Zionist project on the other hand,’ promising that ‘Hamas does not view the conflict with the Zionist project as a conflict with the Jews because of their religion.’”
Here are some of the anti-Israel pejoratives permeating this Hamas revised charter, much of it accepted in the West and even parroted by the mainstream media and others.
Let’s start with Hamas’ obsession with calling Israel “the Zionist state, Zionist project, Zionist entity, Zionist occupation.” This is not a tribute to Zionism. What they are telling the world here, as elsewhere in the document, is to date Jewish connection to the land of Israel to Zionist times.
The answer to this, and to the media’s “creation and founding of Israel in 1948,” and “because of the Holocaust,” etc., etc., is for us to make the claim, as historian James Parkes put it, that the continuous tenacious homeland presence of Jews throughout post-biblical times wrote the Zionists’ “real title deeds.”
“the creation of Israel was illegal”
The answer to this is not that “the creation of Israel was not illegal,” but that Israel was not “created,” but reattained its independence as the twice-previously-sovereign homeland of the Jews. One substantial test of natural nationhood sovereignty is ability to defend that sovereignty against foreign invasion, which a homeland army of homeland Jews in fact did against Egyptian, Jordanian, Syrian, Iraqi and Lebanese invaders immediately upon its declaration of independence.
“the Palestinians are the Arab citizens who lived in Palestine before 1947. . . . the displacement that happened to Palestinians from the Zionist occupation”
Palestine’s 1947 population was less than two million people, a good third of them Jews, who were more referred to as “Palestinian” than were its Arabs. Arab “displacement” was brought about by the invasion rejecting partition and Israel’s re-independence. And more Jews were displaced from vast Muslim lands than Arabs left what became tiny Israel, and Israel absorbed these Jews while the Arab refugees’ descendants still live in “refugee camps,” including in the Palestine they never left. Talk about “forgery of the truth.” The world does not know that the Arab-Jewish conflict has a two-sided refugee issue. Whose fault is this? Ours, for not making the Jewish refugees as known in the West as “the Palestinian refugees.”
“Judaization of Jerusalem”
Judged by recent resolutions of the UN and its agencies, we’re not doing especially well at getting the West to resist Muslim rechristening, so to speak, of biblical place names in Israel, including above all in Jerusalem, to Muslim names. Here is where even Christians with more rachmones for “the Palestinians” than for us have their own stake that, at least seemingly to us, should override their Arab-Jewish Palestine conflict partisanship. Perhaps not, but few anti-Jewish canards strike deeper, and deserve stronger response, than “Judaization of Jerusalem.”
Hamas is using “occupation” here to refer to the entirety of the land “from the river to the sea,” not just to the “East” Jerusalem and “West Bank” to which many in the West, including many Jews, use it, but we need to throw it off from reference to Jewish presence in Judea, Samaria and historic Jerusalem, as well as within what Hamas here called “the borders of the fourth of June 1967,” a/k/a if only to us and those “borders”-defining document, the expressly not-border 1949 Israel-Jordan military ceasefire lines.
Two responses to the “revised” Hamas charter are needed.
One, without prejudice to negotiations for the conflict’s solution, is that we have to assert the historical and legal Jewish claim to the entirety of the land of Israel, from the river to the sea, as vigorously as the Arab side asserts the Arab claim to it.
The other is that we have to challenge the loaded lexicon, exploited once again effectively in this Hamas document, of Jewish homeland delegitimizing pejoratives, parroted too often in the West, by the media and even some of us.
And, btw, if we sigh over all this, it’s not with relief that Hamas has no conflict with us.