March 15, 2008 - To enlighten those who may have harbored any doubts, Fathi Ahmad Hammad, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said it loud and said it proud: Palestinians deliberately use women and children as human shields.
This is the transcript of his remarks (but it is worth watching the clip just to hear the hatred in his voice):
[The enemies of Allah] do not know that the Palestinian people has developed its [methods] of death and death-seeking. For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land. The elderly excel at this, and so do the mujahideen and the children. This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahideen, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine. It is as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: 'We desire death like you desire life.'
Hammad is a leader of the Izzedeen al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, and in 2006 was elected to the Palestinian Parliament as a Hamas representative. He is also director of Al-Aqsa TV, which aired his comments on February 29.
You may remember Al-Aqsa TV. This is the TV station that fills dear little ears with hate, that brought Palestinian children Farfur Mouse and Nahoul
Now Hammad discloses the Hamas strategy, which some have suspected but few have actually believed: use people, especially women and children, as human shields. If you won't believe me, will you believe a member of Hamas?
This strategy has been immensely successful. Fire at Israeli cities from schoolyards, and make
But people still will not believe. The prevailing attitude is typified in the words of Javier Solana, head of foreign policy for the European Union:
'I cannot imagine that the religious imperative, the real religious imperative, can make anybody destroy another country.... Therefore that is an abuse of religion.... I don't think the essence of Hamas is the destruction of
This is the mistake Westerners, profoundly ignorant of history, make over and over again: to assume that all cultures everywhere hold the same values they do. This is a dangerous form of ethnocentrism.
Perhaps if Solana had been listening, he would have heard how Hamas repeatedly proclaims its intention to destroy
He might have read the following from the Hamas Charter:
Our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave.
The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!
Solana's dangerous naïveté is a luxury the world cannot afford.
So what does all of this add up to?
The Palestinians have successfully sold the idea that they are resisting an occupation.
For when we examine both Palestinian words and actions, we see that this is really something much different from what it seems. The rhetoric of hatred, the indoctrination of children, the Palestinians' willingness to use their own people as martyrs for the sake of blackening Israel's image, the constant threats to destroy Israel and to liberate 'all' of Palestine, are all signs that this is no revolutionary movement in the Western mold. This is a jihad in the most traditional and most extreme sense of the word. This is a war for
The Palestinians say they want
The most disruptive force in this conflict is
When Fathi Hammad ran for the Palestinian Parliament in 2006, his campaign promise was that Hamas "will continue to develop its armed wings by recruiting more members and making more rockets and bombs." And the people voted for him and elected him. His TV station is now helping to prepare the next generation of holy warriors. Samir Abu Mohsen, who directs one of the station's hate shows for kids, says that the character Nahoul Bee exists to remind Palestinian children that they are in exile and must commit themselves to getting back their land. What land? These children live in
Note also how much of the imagery and rhetoric is not just anti-Israel but anti-Jewish: the poster of the Hasidic Jew, 'our struggle against the Jews' from the Hamas Charter, 'O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!' What's the meaning of all this?
Instead of yet another barrage of complaints about the irrelevance of 'anti-Semitism,
Anti-Jewish sentiment is deeply ingrained in Muslim tradition, and it comes from projecting forward through history Muhammad's conflicts with the Jews of his own time. Muhammad did speak in generalities about 'Jews,' and since his words are considered timeless, many Muslims apply them to the Jews of today. One can still hear Muhammad's words applied this way in countless Friday sermons from mosques around the world.
It is important to recognize this in order to understand why a Jewish state of all things is anathema to so many Muslims. The Jews were the tribes that Muhammad defeated and expelled when he unified
Therefore a historical consciousness is necessary in order to fathom what Hamas is doing. The symbols that Hamas uses, from the Qur'an, from the Hadith, and from later Christian anti-Jewish literature, all point towards a continuation of the original jihad. This is hard for Westerners to understand, but this is what the fight means to Hamas. They are completing the work that Muhammad started. It is not something about which they can compromise. And international condemnation of
For this cause Hamas is willing to sacrifice its own children as martyrs. And if
We must at least respect the religious mind of Hamas enough to understand it on its own terms. It may seem too strange to us to believe, so like Solana we impose our own reality on it. That is foolish and perilous. We must not ever forget that in the
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