Hamas – myths and facts

“If we talk to Hamas, we will be encouraging terrorism”

Fact:

  • Political process never encourages terrorism
  • Injustice and Impunity cause resistance
  •  Israel is already talking to Hamas – how else did it reach a ceasefire agreement?
  • If we had taken that approach in Northern Ireland, we would still be fighting.

Background 

  • Hamas was elected with 74 of the 132 seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council. The EU, Israel and the Quartet are boycotting Hamas.[1]Israel arrested parliamentarians including the Speaker.
  • Israel does talk to Hamas, albeit indirectly. In June 2008 an Egyptian brokered Hamas-Israel ceasefire entered into force.
  • Although theUK government “does not talk to Hamas”, Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs have spoken to Hamas during visits to Gaza and theWest Bank.

[1] http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200607/ldselect/ldeucom/132/13206.htm#a7

“Why won’t Hamas accept the three Quartet principles?”

  • Israelis claim to want talks without preconditions, but what are the Quartet principles if not preconditions?
  • Hamas have offered a “long-term truce” and few doubt they will recognise Israel as part of an agreement, but why should they give up their bargaining chips before they start?
  • Hamas has been observing the existing ceasefire better than the Israelis

Background 

“Palestine must first recognise Israel …

  •  The PLO – representing all Palestinians – has already recognised Israel since 1993.  Israel has never reciprocated by recognising Palestine even though over 130 countries now do.
  •  Israel has now moved the goalposts by demanding to be recognised “as a Jewish state” without explaining what that means. Arab Israelis fear it would mean their removal by force.
  • Hamas has always said it would recognise a state of Israel within legitimate 1967 borders as part of an agreement – but not without knowing the terms of that agreement.

….renounce violence…:

  • Hamas started observing and policing its ceasefire with Israel from July 2008 and – outside the period of the Israeli assault of 2008-9 and other isolated flare-ups – has largely maintained it.
  • Hamas leader Khaled Meshal has offered Israel a “long-term truce” and promised that, once Palestine is independent, “we would practise democracy peacefully without violence”.[1]
  • The second intifada ended seven years ago and the last suicide bombing was over five years ago.
  • All Palestinians maintain that the UN charter gives them a “right to resist” occupation even though they now support a policy of non-violence.
  • Israeli airstrikes and cross-border fire continue to kill many civilians in Gaza: in 2011 59 civilians were killed and 2,059 injured.[2]
  • In the West Bank non-violent protests have been met with live ammunition, rubber bullets, high velocity tear gas canisters, tear gas and stun grenades. So far this year 67 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli forces on average every week.[1] 131 Palestinians were injured in demonstrations in April 2012. [2]

…. adhere to previous agreements’’:

  • Israel should also have to abide by existing agreements. But they announced a new settlement of more than 5,000 homes at Givat Hamatos which reneges on principles agreed by most Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, including Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak, known as the ‘‘Clinton Parameters.’’ (Foundation for Middle East Peace) [3]

[1] UN OCHA Humanitarian Monitor see above

[2] UN OCHA Humanitarian Monitor see above; HoC Library Standard Note: SN/IA/5968 Hamas, Fatah and the Middle East Quartet principleshttp://www.parliament.uk/topics/Middle-EastArchive.htm#SN

[3] HoC Library Standard Note: SN/IA/5968 Hamas, Fatah and the Middle East Quartet principleshttp://www.parliament.uk/topics/Middle-EastArchive.htm#SN


[1] BBC interview with Meshal http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/4693382.stm

[2] UN OCHA Humanitarian Monitor see above

Contact Details

This briefing has been produced by Martin Linton, Sally Fitzharris and Taris Ahmad. For further questions please contact:

Martin Linton, martin@martinlinton.org

Sally Fitzharris, sally@sallyfitzharris.co.uk

Taris Ahmad, international.law.taris@gmail.com

Further information

Map of West Bank settlement

http://www.ochaopt.org/fsonlinemaps.aspx

Trajectory of the Wall

http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_west_bank_barrier_route_update_july_2011.pdf

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