|Screen capture from CNN|
WaPo is calling this "a sign of increasing boldness" after Hamas "held its own against an Israeli military offensive" and will be his chance to "congratulate its leaders and fighters for battling Israel" according to a senior - but "careful" - Hamas official in Gaza who "spoke on condition of anonymity because of security concern".
It's a propitious time to take a look at some of the open silliness that routinely affects media "experts" when they deal with the practitioners of child-murder.
Mashaal recently enjoyed a well-publicized on-air interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour in which she reflected the spirit of honest journalistic enquiry as she asked him: "Is it useful to kill civilians?":
"Let me give you the truth... We don't target the civilians... The resistance does not target the civilians... We are ready to accept a purely peaceful way, as long as we obtain our demands... Our people is the victim... The offer must come from the attacker [Israel]..."Noting that Ms Amanpour - like most on-camera reporters - evidently lacks the background information to demolish his absurd response, he presses on:
"I accept a Palestinian state according to 1967 borders with Jerusalem as the capital, with the right to return [meaning the entry of millions of Palestinian Arabs into Israel]..."Somehow, the terrorist has been understood as implying that Hamas - whose declared, uncompromising, principal goal is to destroy Israel - has abandoned its ideology and is ready to accept something more moderate.
Arab-Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh understands Mashaal better than most Westerners, and has no qualms about stating clearly what is happening. Even while Mashaal was on CNN, his Gaza-based Hamas colleagues were talking - in the Arabic language - about continuing the fight against Israel until the "liberation of all our lands, from the sea to the river."
Writing for the Gatestone Institute think-tank on Friday ["How Hamas Is Trying to Fool Everyone"], Abu Toameh re-states the one essential principle that outsiders keep avoiding and/or denying:
"Is Hamas really on its way to moderation and pragmatism, as some Western political analysts and diplomats have come to believe? And what do some Hamas leaders mean when they say that they are ready to accept a Palestinian state "only" in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem? ...Mashaal's remark is nothing but an attempt to mislead the international community into believing that Hamas has endorsed the two-state solution and is willing to live in peace alongside Israel... Hamas has not changed or relinquished its dream of replacing Israel with an Islamist state that is funded and armed by Iran. Unless Hamas changes its charter, the talk about changes in its strategy only serves to spread the movement's campaign of deception."He goes on to point out that the one true construction of Mashaal's statement is the opposite of what is being spun out of his words: Hamas knows it cannot achieve its goal of destroying Israel for now and will therefore take whatever land it can get from the Israelis... and then continue the fight to "liberate" "Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea".
In fact Mashaal said just that to Christiane Amanpour:
"Palestine, from the river to the sea, from the north to the south, it is my land. And the land of my fathers and grandfathers, inhabited by the Palestinians from a long time ago... but because of the circumstances of the region, because of the keenness to stop the bloodshed, the Palestinians today, and Hamas, have agreed on a program that accepts the 1967 borders."Mashaal is not alone in putting things this way: first they take the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, east Jerusalem. Then they use these as a launching pad in the process of eliminating Israel. Mission accomplished.
Abu Toameh again:
"Hamas is engaged in a subtle campaign to win the sympathy of the international community by appearing as if it is ready to abandon its dream of destroying Israel. Mashaal's remarks should be seen in the context of a new Hamas tactic aimed at turning the radical Islamist movement into a legitimate and recognized player in the international and regional arenas. Those who have been misled into believing Hamas's lies should be referred to the movement's charter, where it is clearly stated that "The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it…"They know this. But they continue to ignore it. Why spoil a neat and compelling narrative by introducing facts?