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Hasbara Project

The Hamas Charter or Covenant is Defunct

BBSNews 2014-10-02 — By Michael Hess. All indications are, from multiple sources inside and outside of Hamas, that the Hamas Covenant is defunct. You will notice in comment sections just like this one, that there are people who are trying to sell “Jew-hate” that actually consider themselves supposed Israel “supporters”. They use a line that has been focus group shopped, to try and proclaim the idea that all Palestinians are antisemitic and as such their legal rights to self-determination and their very nation state is a non-starter.

There is scant to none evidence that any actual Hamas official or any other Palestinian militant group uses this “Jew hate” imagery. It is more of a false ideological stance of “defenders” of the state of Israel, than it is any official policy position of Palestinian officials whether Fatah or Hamas. It is a rhetorical device encouraged by Faux News polling propaganda “guru” Frank Luntz and it has outworn any usefulness that it might have had with people too gullible to explore the facts on their own instead of relying on failing and misrepresentative Hasbara propaganda devices, because it is false.

The overwhelming evidence shows that the Hamas covenant is defunct. But contrarily, the over-powering actions of the Israeli government show that official Israel has the intent and the means to destroy Palestinian nationhood, certainly not the other way around. It is evident to anyone who reads the near daily news of the building or planning of yet another illegal “settlement” (colony) in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Abu Marzouk, senior official from Hamas who claimed the Hamas Charter or Covenant is 'defunct'. Image Credit: Investigative Project.

Abu Marzouk, senior official from Hamas who claimed the Hamas Charter or Covenant is ‘defunct’. Image Credit: Investigative Project.

Many so-called “supporters” of Israel are mainly dangerous ideologues with little use for the truth. They do not want peace. They deny that there even is such a thing as a Palestinian. It is exceedingly foolhardy for them to create a dynamic in the global conversation about growing antisemitism when they are the ones spreading the tropes of “Jew hate”.

I have noted, as have the Jewish members of my family, and Jews that I have discussed this with, and Jews from various anti-occupation groups, have all noticed that these so-called “supporters” of Israel spread more antisemitic propaganda than we have ever heard from any other source.

It is horrible to have to even write about this phenomenon. There is an online cadre of characters who refuse to cross the threshold of a library. They won’t read any Arab sources of information because they believe they are always tainted against them. They won’t read anything from a so-called “leftist” because they believe that “leftists” are traitors. They assume that any American President who is a Democrat is “anti-Israel”. Don’t ever bring up United Nations resolutions, they believe that the U.N. is all a plot against Jews.

Most of all, this vanguard of Hasbarians, the online personae that will defend the state of Israel at any cost, even their own, mostly anonymous, credibility, these propagandists will not even acknowledge the rule of law.

At the outset I would recommend the reading of a copy of the Hamas Covenant by a named translator, rather than the oft quoted incorrect translation. The version translated in 1990 for the Islamic Association for Palestine by Muhammad Maqs at the Institute of Palestinian Studies has provenance.

Hamas experts acknowledge the covenant is defunct

In an article I wrote about the Hamas Covenant, ‘Hamas Charter (Covenant) Explained‘ I quote Hamas expert Khaled Hroub where he wrote in the summer of 2008:

“Since Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections in January 2006, its political positions as presented in the Western media hark back to its 1988 charter, with almost no reference to its considerable evolution under the impact of political developments. The present article analyzes (with long verbatim extracts) three recent key Hamas documents: its fall 2005 electoral platform, its draft program for a coalition government, and its cabinet platform as presented on 27 March 2006.

Analysis of the documents reveals not only a strong programmatic and, indeed, state building emphasis, but also considerable nuance in its positions with regard to resistance and a two-state solution. The article pays particular attention to the sectarian content of the documents, finding a progressive de-emphasis on religion in the three.”

The Army War College acknowledges the Hamas covenant is defunct

From the Army War College, in December of 2008, Dr. Sherifa D. Zuhur writes:

“HAMAS emerged as the chief rival to the secularist-nationalist framework of Fatah, the dominant member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). This occurred as Palestinians rebelled against the worsening conditions they experienced following the Oslo Peace Accords. HAMAS’ political and strategic development has been both ignored and misreported in Israeli and Western sources which villainizes the group, much as the PLO was once characterized as an anti-Semitic terrorist group. Relatively few detailed treatments in English counter the media blitz that reduces HAMAS to its early, now defunct, 1988 charter.”

Hamas leaders acknowledge the covenant is defunct

On August 15th, 2014 Giles Fraser reports for the Guardian:

“Yes, the Hamas charter, drawn up in 1988, explicitly calls for the destruction of Israel. Yes, it is antisemitic. But nonetheless, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal has claimed that the charter is “a piece of history and no longer relevant, but cannot be changed for internal reasons”. And Hamas number two, Mousa Abu Marzouk (with a PhD from Louisiana Tech), has gone ever further and called it “defunct”: “The charter is not the Qur’an. It can be amended.” Maybe sincere, maybe not. But you don’t get the impression that Isis would say anything like this. Nor indeed that Isis would be interested in participating in any sort of democratic process – remember Hamas won elections in the Gaza Strip in 2006.”

Abu Marzouk also caused a stir within Hamas in the second week of September 2014 when he said Sharia law did not forbid direct negotiations with Israel. Haaretz reported:

The Hamas policy of not negotiating directly with Israel is “not sharia law” and could be relaxed, a senior official of the organization said on Thursday.


“Just as it’s possible to negotiate while fighting, it’s possible to negotiate by talking,” said Moussa Abu Marzouk in an interview with Al Quds TV.


“Up to now, our policy has been not to negotiate directly with Israel, but … we’re not talking about something that is forbidden according to sharia law.”

Hamas flag.

Hamas flag.

There has always been evidence of a political evolution of Hamas for anyone willing to actually look for it. Many of the ‘cadre’ focus on one line from a defunct founding document that takes much of its direction of religious imagery from Muslim Brotherhood member “…Imam Hasan al-Banna who established the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928. He was assassinated in Cairo, Egypt 39 years before the first known Hamas Covenant/Charter in 1988. The line is of bluster and portent of a continued struggle for Palestinian rights on their own land.” (Ibid)

Understanding the major players in this conflict does not imply support for them yet this is the trend we see today on the Internet with so many people. They immediately jump to the conclusion that if you try and understand a resistance group such as Hamas, then you must support them.

This irrational reasoning poisons the discourse. The simple fact is that there is no valid reason to treat the message of the Hamas document differently from the equally plain speaking Likud document that long preceded it.

Both use religious imagery to make a claim to the land and to deny a claim by the other. Christian dispensationalists also use religious imagery for a “Greater Israel”. Illegal colonists in illegal colonies also use “Greater Israel” religious imagery to make a claim to the land. These “Greater Israel” orations based on religious imagery and myth are quite dangerous because in a stark difference from Hamas being focused solely on ending the occupation by Israel of Palestinian land, the “Greater Israel” people believe that the state of Israel actually encompasses not only the entirety of historic Palestine but also portions of several other countries.

This is why it is crucial, and this critical point cannot be overstated, that the rule of law must be used to end this conflict. There can be no durable agreement where one or another religious sect is seen to “win”.

A solution based on the rule of law, outside of religious imagery is the most likely to result in a binding and viable peace. An agreement that is seen to be a triumph of one religion or another in this conflict would guarantee increasing violence that is already an extremist religious backdrop in the Middle East.

A major problem for the state of Israel and its “supporters” remains the repeated breeches of international law, in particular the grave breach of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Conventions more than 500,000 times. These represent the undeniable true power in this one-sided equation by the actions of the state of Israel beyond the mere words found in the Likud Platform. Hamas has no such power and never has or will.

The illegal occupations breed documents not borne from reason but birthed out of despair and hopelessness in the face of a violent, all powerful and implacable occupier state.

This breeds resistance not only from Hamas but also the international community. Hamas has no power to existentially threaten the state of Israel. They have no army, navy, air force or very much beyond kitchen made “rockets”, small-caliber weapons, and rocks.

Words from a defunct document do not bear the ability to eliminate a nation, otherwise the words in the Likud Platform must also be seen as a rhetorical attempt to destroy a nation. The huge red elephant in the room is the fact that it is the state of Israel’s actions that are resulting in the destruction of the nation of Palestine. Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups have absolutely no power to destroy the Israeli nation.

However, the very actions of the state of Israel has transmitted to the world that much more than mere words, the action of moving more than a half a million people from an occupier state into an occupied state, and the brutal occupation army that goes along with that to enforce this belligerent occupation, these brutal colonial ambitions by the state of Israel, cause people to resist. Those actions are a testament to the attempt by the state of Israel to destroy the Palestinian nation.

Taken in this context, it is exceedingly hard to see where a few words in a now admitted defunct document, dismissed by high ranking Hamas officials, “defunct” according to the U. S. Army War College, is much of a threat except to people who seem to be pushing so-called “Jew hate” more than any of the dreaded protagonists on the Palestinian side of this entirely lopsided in Israel’s favor conflict over land already occupied at the birth of the nation of Israel in 1948.

These Hasbarians, those that have taken the meaning of the Yiddish word Hasbara (explaining) to vile depths, are just as extremist as those they seek to destroy through rhetorical methods calculated to destroy an entire nation of millions of Palestinians.

These Hasbarians have no counter-parts. There is no concerted effort of Palestinians supporters seeking to destroy the nation of Israel. It is important to bear this in mind. There is however a provable cadre of propagandists, some of them paid and educated by the state of Israel for this express purpose, to destroy the very idea of Palestinian nationhood even though this has long been the accepted solution by the entire planet.

Can Hamas be ruthless in its methods and tactics, undoubtedly. But the proven ability of the state of Israel to use any method at all, including focus-group based sound bites and bumper sticker sloganeering, to disclaim even the existence of the very Palestinians in their midst, those millions of souls that the state of Israel illegally occupies, must be the yardstick with which this decades-long conflict must be seen.

Extremist, so-called “supporters” of Israel cannot be allowed to destroy the Two State Solution(tm). The glaring problem obviously is that the state of Israel itself, through its well-publicized actions, has very nearly made a viable state of Palestine an impossibility. It may already be too late and these Hasbarians bear a grave responsibility. They have demanded a One State Solution(tm) that virtually guarantees fully-fledged Apartheid for the state of Israel.

The Hasbarians, who tout a defunct document to deny Palestinian self-determination and their legal rights under international law, are a unique phenomenon that uses antisemitic imagery more than any other group, and they are doing their online best to destroy any possibility of peace in a conflict that is seen as the key and lynchpin to a wider Middle East peace that can only be achieved by the rule of law.

Misrepresentation of the facts is their stock in trade. They cannot be allowed to destroy the Two State Solution(tm) based on false information and slight of hand. Rational people recognize who actually has the power to make peace. And that is not a rag tag group of militants alone. It is entirely in the power of the state of Israel, the entity with all the power and even nuclear weapons.