According to The Sydney Morning Herald:
It used to be that the image that the terrorists wanted to project was that the Palestinians turned to terrorism and suicide bombings because they are downtrodden and without any hope:Palestinian Davids standing alone against the Israeli Goliath--and that image, that propaganda has stood Palestinian terrorists in good stead. It got them the attention they wanted, and later the sympathy they needed.
Aziz Dweik, the Hamas-nominated Speaker of the council, sits in his office juggling mobile phones, all with a different piece of stirring music as the call sign. He has the air about him of a politician enjoying his victory.
Dr Dweik, by way of introduction - warm, smiling, welcoming - wants to make it clear that the Hamas cabinet consists mainly of people like him, professionals and academics, some of whom, like him, have studied abroad.
The idea, he says, that Palestinians are all ignorant terrorists is a lie cooked up by the Israelis and the Bush Administration.
But hey, it's a new millenium and as good marketers, terrorists in general and Hamas in particular have to keep up with the times. Saudi Arabia is not the only one that knows the value of good PR. No more Che Guevera; instead something of a more corporate image, politicians who care:
"In the meantime, we have work to do, laying down the ground for real democracy and transparency and getting rid of corruption. That is our first priority. We want to repair our economy. Then we must give our people some measure of social justice. And we want to promote international peace. We want international support.
And for good measure, a little admission...a little remorse:
"OK, yes, it happened, we did suicide attacks but now there is a truce. We deplore any action where civilians are killed, yes, including Israeli civilians. We are a moderate Islamic movement. We are not terrorists. We are freedom seekers. Please, tell your readers, please help us secure this goal."Very sweet. But hold that image and remember that in 2005 there were 2,990 terrorist attacks. Keep in mind that some of the victims of Palestinian terror lived in Gaza--and were killed by Hamas:
September 5 Gaza City: 4 killed and 27 wounded when a Hamas weapons lab blows up in a residential neighborhood.Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Inquirer not only treats Dweik with the same kid gloves, it sets the stage for him as well. Israel's operation in Jericho is briefly described--and distorted--in 2 sentences:
September 23 Jebaliya: 17 killed and 140 wounded when a Hamas truck, loaded with rockets intended for Israel, explodes early, killing seventeen Palestinians (including three children) and injuring another one-hundred and forty.
Two days earlier, Israeli troops, backed by tanks, armored bulldozers and helicopter gunships, had raided the Palestinian prison in Jericho. The soldiers forced the detainees to strip to their underwear before arresting six men implicated in the murder of an Israeli cabinet minister and in weapons smuggling.From that point on, it is all down hill: a puff piece which telegraphs its intent by the headline: Hamas leader has strong tie to West Phila.
The article goes on to quote Dweik comparing the Jericho operation and the prisoners in their underwear to Abu Ghraib, concluding that as a result, the US and the British cannot be relied on as brokers and no agreement with Israel can be trusted--the latter being a rather superfluous statement, seeing that Hamas had already made clear it did not feel bound by previous PA agreements.
Apparently the media are not the only ones babying Hamas. Last month, Hamas leaders had a meeting with Putin in Russia. Putin was very nice to say that Hamas really should consider recognizing Israel, and according to the article Putin was very understanding:
Russia will present the stand of the international Quartet of intermediaries in the Middle East settlement, which includes also the United States, the European Union and the UN. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, "the recognition of Israel, renunciation of violence, and respect for signed agreements are what the international community wants" from Palestine. At the same time, Russian diplomats said they would not demand anything from Hamas, who has the right to respect or reject the opinion of Moscow and the Quartet as a whole. [emphasis added]How does Russia--or anyone, for that matter--even assume it is possible to create constructive dialogue under such circumstances?
Hamas is well on its way towards the same recognition and support that was handed to the previous terrorist leaders of the Palestinians--with fewer demands. A situation that was already surreal, is becoming even more absurd.
We are just leaving Adar--V'Nahafoch Hu. Perhaps the greatest absurdity is not the terrorist enemy that Israel faces: Fatah and its branches or Hamas. The real absurdity may be that Israel has the military capability to defend itself, to keep her enemies out, and to deal effectively with the military threats her enemies pose--yet is being prevented from doing what it needs to do. It is the height of absurdity that the West--and the US included--ties Israel's hands and has step-by-step reduced her to the state she now finds herself in.
Perhaps the answer is to be found not in the complexity of the situation, but in simplicity.
Mark Steyn describes one possible approach. He recalls a past era when Britain talked openly and directly when faced with an intolerable situation:
In a more culturally confident age, the British in India were faced with the practice of "suttee" - the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. Gen. Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural:It is time for Israel to stop the politicing: put the posturing aside along with longwinded threats and drawing endless lines in the sand. It is time to be direct, blunt, and carry through. The world condones and accepts the random murder--and the threat of murder--of Israelis, by Hamas and Fatah, who both have convenants stating clearly their goal to destroy Israel. Israel's primary obligation is to protect its citizens. The terrorists have made clear what they are willing to do on behalf of the Palestinian Arabs. It is time for Israel to be clear as well. The Israeli election would be a good place to start.
"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks, and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."