The Media’s Standard Propaganda Refrains About Hamas

by Jul 7, 2014Foreign Policy15 comments

Hamas leader Khaled Meshal, who was legitimately appointed Prime Minister of the Palestinian government following Hamas's victory in 2006 democratic elections.

The mainstream media has standard refrains about the Palestinian group Hamas that serve to misinform the public and manufacture consent for US policy.

Hamas, the Iran-backed group that took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, is a violent, extremist organization committed to Israel’s destruction. Gaza militants regularly fire rockets into Israel; in 2012, Hamas fought an eight-day war with Israel.

That’s the obligatory standard refrain in the mainstream media when it comes to Hamas, this particular example coming from the New York Times, the standard-bearer of propaganda serving to manufacture consent for the US policy of financially, militarily, and diplomatically supporting Israel’s violations of international law and violations of human rights against the Palestinian people.

Let’s break this down, shall we?

The Hamas ‘Coup’ in Gaza

The Times, when repeating how the Hamas “took control of” Gaza, never feels inclined to inform readers how this occurred. It is typical for it to be described as a Hamas “coup” in Gaza. The truth, however, is quite different.

Naturally, the Times doesn’t inform its readers that Hamas actually came to power through democratic elections in 2006. This outcome, however, was not acceptable to the US and Israel, who conspired with the head of the Palestinian Authority, President Mahmoud Abbas, to overthrow the Hamas government. Factional violence thus broke out between Hamas and Fatah (the party to which Abbas belongs), with the result being Hamas expelling Fatah and remaining in control of Gaza while the Abbas-headed government remaining illegitimately in power in the West Bank.

‘Committed to Israel’s Destruction’

Likewise, it just wouldn’t do to mention the fact that Hamas has repeatedly, since at least 2005, reiterated its acceptance of a Palestinian state alongside Israel within the pre-June 1967 borders, in accordance with the international consensus on a two-state solution to the conflict.

‘Regularly Fire Rockets Into Israel’

Nor would it do to inform readers that in fact Hamas has largely held to its ceasefire agreements, which have repeatedly been violated by Israel. Moreover, Hamas has encouraged other factions to abide by ceasefires, including with harsh crackdowns on extremist Salafist groups.

It was Israel, for example, that violated a six-month ceasefire in 2008, following which it launched its 22-day full-scale military assault on the civilian population and infrastructure of the Gaza Strip, code-named “Operation Cast Lead”.

Likewise, the eight-day war in 2012 the Times refers to was begun by Israel when it used the opportunity of a ceasefire that had just been brokered by Egypt and that was being honored by Hamas to draw a Hamas official out of hiding in order to assassinate him.

Obstacle to Peace front cover

Thoroughly Deconstructing Mainstream Narratives

I’ve extensively documented the full details of all of these points in my forthcoming book, Obstacle to Peace: The US Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, which systematically and thoroughly deconstructs the mainstream narratives about the conflict. Here, for example, is a relevant excerpt from Chapter 2, which covers “Operation Cast Lead” in great detail:

[A]s for the obligatory claim that Hamas sought Israel’s destruction, also commonly manifest as a claim that Hamas rejected Israel’s “right to exist”, Hamas had in fact long declared its intention of seeking a Palestinian state alongside Israel. This is a position Hamas has reiterated constantly over the years.

To cite a few examples, in early 2005, Hamas issued a document stating that goal and “unequivocally” recognizing the pre-June 1967 line as Israel’s border.[i]

In early 2006, Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar publicly stated that Hamas was seeking a Palestinian state and would accept a long-term truce with Israel if it withdrew from the territories it occupied in 1967.[ii]

Ismail Haniyeh, as already noted, had reiterated to the Washington Post in February 2006 that Hamas would accept an agreement for “the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital with 1967 borders”.[iii]

In December 2006, Hamas leader Khaled Meshal said that “all the Palestinian factions agree to a return of Israel’s borders to pre-1967 designations…. We accept the need for two countries to exist, but Israel has no legitimacy so long as the occupation continues.”[iv]

Meshal said in January 2007 that Hamas was “with the consensus of the necessity of establishing a Palestinian state on the June 4 borders, including (East) Jerusalem, the right of return and the withdrawal of Israel to these borders.” When asked whether this presupposed the existence of Israel, he answered, “The problem is not that there is an entity called Israel. The problem is that the Palestinian state is non-existent.” Meshal explained: “There will remain a state called Israel. This is an issue of fact, but the Palestinians should not be required to recognize Israel…. As a Palestinian today I speak of a Palestinian and Arab demand for a state on 1967 borders. It is true that in reality there will be an entity or a state called Israel on the rest of Palestinian land…. We are demanding a Palestinian state on the 1967 border including Jerusalem and the right of return.”[v]

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter met with Hamas officials in April 2008 and relayed their acceptance of a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines and willingness to “accept the right of Israel to live as a neighbor next door in peace” if it withdrew.[vi]

Hamas’s “ultimate goal”, Carter said, “is to see Israel living in their allocated borders, the 1967 borders, and a contiguous, vital Palestinian state alongside.”[vii]

Meshal at the same time repeated, “We accept a state on the June 4 line with Jerusalem as capital, real sovereignty and full right of return for refugees but without recognizing Israel…. We have offered a truce if Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders, a truce of 10 years as proof of recognition.”[viii]

Haaretz explained that “Meshal used the Arabic word hudna, meaning truce, which is more concrete than tahdiya—a period of calm—which Hamas often uses to describe a simple cease-fire. Hudna implies a recognition of the other party’s existence.”[ix]

On November 8, 2008, four days after Israel’s violation of the ceasefire, Haniyeh once again reiterated his government’s willingness to accept a Palestinian state within the 1967 lines.[x]

Stay posted! Subscribe to my newsletter below to get more inside looks and updates about the book.

Notes

[i] Arnon Regular, “Jihad denies reports it struck ceasefire deal with Abbas,” Haaretz, January 21, 2005.

[ii] “Hamas leader sets conditions for truce,” CNN, January 29, 2006.

[iii] “‘We Do Not Wish to Throw Them Into the Sea,’Washington Post, February 26, 2006.

[iv] “Report: Hamas chief Meshal calls for 10-year cease-fire,” Haaretz, December 11, 2006.

[v] “Q&A with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal,” Reuters, January 10, 2007.

[vi] “Carter Mideast trip: Few tangible results,” Associated Press, April 21, 2008.

[vii] Griff Witte, “Carter: Hamas Ready To Live Beside Israel,” Washington Post, April 22, 2008.

[viii] Roee Nahmias, “Hamas says accepts Palestinian statehood,” Ynetnews, April 21, 2008.

[ix] Barak Ravid, “Meshal offers 10-year truce for Palestinian state on ‘67 borders,” Haaretz, April 21, 2008.

[x] Amira Hass, “Haniyeh: Hamas willing to accept Palestinian state with 1967 borders,” Haaretz, November 9, 2008.

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About Jeremy R. Hammond

About Jeremy R. Hammond

I am an independent journalist, political analyst, publisher and editor of Foreign Policy Journal, book author, and writing coach.

My writings empower readers with the knowledge they need to see through state propaganda intended to manufacture their consent for criminal government policies.

By recognizing when we are being lied to and why, we can fight effectively for liberty, peace, and justice, in order to create a better world for ourselves, our children, and future generations of humanity.

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15 Comments

    • Jeremy R. Hammond

      Pointing out facts about Hamas’s repeated offer of a long-term truce does not equate to “support” for the group.

      Reply
  1. Barry Meridian

    Haniyeh showed to be the Islamic fascist he is.

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/annihilate-israel-hamas-leaders-tell-gaza-youth/#ixzz32ZJ2pFpB
    ‘Annihilate Israel,’ Hamas leaders urge Gaza teens
    In video of camp graduation ceremony, top officials urge young Palestinians to keep fighting Zionists, carry jihad across the world
    BY LAZAR BERMAN AND ELHANAN MILLER
    January 24, 2014,

    ‘Love death for the sake of Allah as much as our enemies love life,” Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh told thousands of young Palestinians at last week’s graduation ceremony for Hamas camps in the Gaza Strip’s Yarmouk Stadium.

    Haniyeh and other senior Hamas officials exhorted the young graduates to not only annihilate Israel, but also to carry their fight across the globe, in a January 16 Al-Aqsa TV broadcast translated by MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute.

    “This generation, Allah willing, will vanquish Israel,” said Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hammad.

    Reply
    • Jeremy R. Hammond

      Indeed, allowing the refugees ethnically cleansed from Palestine by the Zionists to return to their homeland would mean the end of the “Jewish state”.

      Reply
    • Jeremy R. Hammond

      Curious what your opinion is on the ethnic cleansing of most of the Arab population from Palestine and theft of their land by Zionist forces to establish the “Jewish state”.

      Reply
  2. Larisa

    “‘Committed to Israel’s Destruction’

    Likewise, it just wouldn’t do to mention the fact that Hamas has repeatedly, since at least 2005, reiterated its acceptance of a Palestinian state alongside Israel within the pre-June 1967 borders, in accordance with the international consensus on a two-state solution to the conflict.”

    In the context of a long-term truce or an actual permanent peace? I wasn’t aware of any offers of the latter, and I do think there’s a big difference; an offer of a permanent peace does involve accepting of the permanent existence of Israel as a neighbouring state on the ’67 borders, whereas a long-term truce would seem to suggest that they’re not pulling the plug on the idea of the Palestinian state built on those ’67 borders taking up arms against Israel in the future. While by the time the truce expires they may have changed their mind, that’s still a pretty important grey area.

    Hamas have said they are willing to coexist with the Jews in one state, but I haven’t seen any concrete quotes about coexisting with the Jews as a neighbouring state in the green-line on a permanent basis, so at best it seems like a “end the occupation and then maybe we will or maybe we won’t try to destroy Israel later”. I’d certainly be glad if there is a quote out there that proves me wrong about this, but I don’t think a long-term truce can be considered equal to an offer of a peace treaty.

    Reply
    • Larisa

      Additionally, this article would suggest that Hamas does not recognize Israel or intend to recognize it in the future, so that combined with no offer that I’m aware of of a permanent peace even if the occupation ends would suggest that any offer of a hudna isn’t with the goal of a permanent peace on the ’67 borders.

      “Hamas will not recognize Israel. This is a red line that cannot be crossed. The future government is not interested in providing Israel with recognition”

      http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/05/interview-abu-marzouk-hamas-israel-fatah-reconciliation.html

      Reply
      • Jeremy R. Hammond

        Why would Hamas recognize Israel when Israel refuses to recognize Palestine and rejects the Palestinians’ right to self-determination, as it has since its birth, when it ethnically cleansed Palestine’s Arab inhabitants to establish the “Jewish state”? Why should Hamas recognize Israel when Israel rejects the 1967 lines as the basis for an agreement on borders and insists on annexing illegally constructed settlement, as well as occupied East Jerusalem?

        Let Israel accept Hamas’s long-term truce proposal. Let it comply with international law, cease its illegal colonization of Palestine, withdraw from occupied Palestinian soil, end its illegal blockade of Gaza, and commit no further war crimes against the Palestinians. This would be a good start.

    • Jeremy R. Hammond

      In the context of a long-term truce or an actual permanent peace?

      I can only assume from your question you did not read the excerpt from the book. Please do so. You’ll see that it’s in the context of a long-term truce to determine Israel’s seriousness about permanent peace.

      If by suggesting Hamas might later seek to “destroy” Israel you mean that they would refuse to surrender the right of Palestinian refugees ethnically cleansed in 1948 to return to their homeland, that is certainly a reasonable fear for any racist who insists that Israel remain a demographically “Jewish state”.

      Reply
      • Larisa

        So there hasn’t been an offer of a permanent peace in exchange for ending the occupation, but rather an offer of a long-term truce which could or could not lead to an offer of a permanent peace?

        Has there been an offer of a permanent peace in exchange for a return to the 67 borders AND right of return? I was unaware that this offer had been made. Since right of return would negate the issue of demographics, and legally speaking the right of return is supposed to be for those who wish to live peacefully within Israel coexisting alongside its Jewish populace, I would think that expecting an end to the occupation and right of return in exchange only for a long-term truce between Israel and Palestine, and by extension the Jewish and Palestinian people, would be a bit odd.

        I have no problem with Palestinian right of return if it seemed certain that it was going to be in exchange for a permanent peace, incidentally, and I suspect most people who are concerned about the right of return are concerned because they’re worried that after 6 decades of war, it may not actually be that peaceful. Here’s hoping history proves that concern unwarranted, but I think you would be greatly exaggerating to say that there is no reason for people to be worried.

      • Jeremy R. Hammond

        So there hasn’t been an offer of a permanent peace in exchange for ending the occupation, but rather an offer of a long-term truce which could or could not lead to an offer of a permanent peace?

        A long-term truce that could lead to a permanent peace depending on Israel showing its seriousness about that possibility by ceasing illegal settlement constructing, withdrawing from occupied territory, and lifting the illegal blockade of Gaza, correct.

        Has there been an offer of a permanent peace in exchange for a return to the 67 borders AND right of return?

        Hamas has not and will not surrender the right of return. The PA has at times seemed willing to do so, on the other hand. This is one of the reasons Israel will not negotiate with Hamas, but only the PA.

        I would think that expecting an end to the occupation and right of return in exchange only for a long-term truce between Israel and Palestine, and by extension the Jewish and Palestinian people, would be a bit odd.

        It is not a precondition for the long-term truce offer that Israel respect and actually implement the right of return. Israel is legally obligated to end the occupation, to cease settlement construction, and to end its blockade of Gaza. These are non-negotiable. Hamas is saying if Israel will show its seriousnous about peace by respecting international law and the rights of the Palestinians, then it is willing to enter into a long-term truce with a Palestinian state neighboring Israel along the 1967 lines. I fail to see anything “odd” about this position. It is quite reasonable.

        I have no problem with Palestinian right of return if it seemed certain that it was going to be in exchange for a permanent peace…

        The right of return is non-negotiable. Israel has a moral and legal obligation stemming from customary international law to allow those wishing to return to their homeland to do so, along with compensation, as well as to compensate those who might wish to resettle elsewhere.

  3. Mimi

    BRAVO Jeremy R. Hammond!!!
    Keep telling the WORLD the TRUTH about the Zionist terrorist,LYING, Racist state of Israel!!!

    Reply

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