This is a guest post by Alexander Hitchens
I recently wrote an article in Lebanon’s Daily Star about Clare Short and Lord Alderdice offering a platform to Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, where I argued that they are serving only to encourage Hamas that they do not need to abandon jihadism. Recently, the group issued a message which confirms just how helpful members of the UK government have been.
The NEFA foundation have today released a Hamas communique entitled ‘anti-Hamas approach fading’, where the organisation outline why they believe that there is a shift taking place in the international approach to Hamas, with some countries giving signs that the time has come to bring them into the fold. Why on earth would they have gotten such an impression? According to the announcement:
“There is simply a growing international perception…that the old ‘isolate Hamas’ approach is not working…
…The signs are unmistakable. Lawmakers from the UK and EU, travelling independently, have made widely publicised visits to the recently re-elected Hamas leader, Khaled Meshal in Damascus. And, last week, Meshal delivered a speech via a teleconference uplink to a closed parliamentary session at Westminster, further undermining the boycott.”
The UK lawmakers referred to here are presumably, Clare Short, Jenny Tonge, and a number of other British Parliamentarians who have been falling over themselves to appease the terrorist organisation.
The announcement has an almost triumphant tone, and Hamas boast that their anti-Israel stance is beginning to pay dividends, with them having to make barely any concessions:
“Alongside fiery Hamas declarations, such as that delivered last Friday in a Gaza mosque by a top Hamas man, Mahmoud Al-Zahar, in which he vowed the organisation would ‘never ever’recognise Israel, there are distinct signs of Hamas pragmatism. There has been an almost total lull in rocket fire from Gaza at settlements in recent weeks.
This pragmatism is meant to stem less from fear of Zionist retaliation and is geared more to bolstering the tentative gains in international credibility. Coupled with the uncompromising ideological stance against the Zionist entity, it seems also to serve in strengthening Hamas vis-à-vis a flagging Palestinian Authority.”
The reference to international credibility is crucial here, as this is what Hamas crave, and they think they are getting it thanks to the overtures coming from this country. Furthermore, they have been led to believe that their ‘uncompromising ideological stance’, which is clearly laid out in their founding Charter, need not change in order for them to be considered by the rest of the world as a legitimate entity.
Clearly, the UK ministers and Lords who have been telling Hamas that they do not need to change and will soon get the legitimacy they want, believe they are doing the right thing. Their thinking goes something along the lines of “we can bring peace to the Middle East by giving Hamas what they demand, and in turn this will contribute hugely to a decline in international jihadist terrorism because all jihadists are driven by the plight of their Palestinian brothers.” There are two major problems with this type of thinking. First, to cite but a few jihadist terrorist groups, Al-Qaeda barely even mentioned Palestine before 9/11, the Bali bombers gave about 10 justifications for their murder of over 200 innocents, and Lashkar e-Toiba killed nearly 200 Indians and Europeans because they want to turn India into an Islamic state. Thus, if we were to fix the Palestinian issue tomorrow, very little would change on the international jihad front. The second problem with this approach is that it encourages groups like Hamas not to change their approach, but instead to persevere with killing civilians until they achieve their goals.
Whenever a suicide bomb goes off either here or in the Middle East, we need to stop asking “what did we do to deserve this?”, and instead start learning what the killers themselves say they really want