Along with other media outlets, the Times of Israel reports that:
“The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas said Wednesday it is to unveil an amended version of its 1987 founding charter next week, without detailing the change.
The terrorist group, which rules the Gaza Strip, said on its website that the announcement would be made on Monday in Doha by its chief Khaled Mashaal, who lives there in exile.
Hamas’s charter advocates the destruction of the Jewish state and the establishment of an independent state in all historic Palestine. […]
Observers say the pending changes could refer to a Jewish state within the borders it held prior to its 1967 capture of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Or it could drop references to its ties with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, its parent organization.”
As noted here last month, that upcoming event has been on the cards for some time.
Several weeks ago, Arab affairs analyst Avi Issacharoff reported on the leaked version of the new document.
“The document reportedly states that the terror group “distinguishes between the Jews, as the people of the book (i.e., the Bible), and Judaism as a religion on the one hand, and between the occupation and the Zionist project, on the other, and believes that the conflict with the Zionist project is not a conflict with the Jews because of their religion.”
While Hamas will not of course recognize the State of Israel, it does agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, while stressing that it will preserve weapons of “resistance” in order to liberate the entire land of Palestine, including Israel.
“There is no alternative to the liberation of the entirety of Palestine, from the river to the sea, no matter how long the occupation persists,” the leaked document continues, leaving no doubt as to the fact that the ultimate goal of the group, which has always included Israel’s destruction, hasn’t changed.”
Issacharoff points out that:
“The target audience for the revamped charter is not the Israeli public, a fact that should be remembered while examining it. Rather, it is intended for young Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and for the Arab public around the world, particularly in one critical country as far as Hamas is concerned — Egypt.
Let’s start at the international level: the case Hamas is making to the West is, “We are not anti-Semites, only anti-Zionists.”
Having internalized the enormous weight that the world attaches to anti-Semitic and other racist rhetoric, Hamas is trying to present a different face that would distinguish it primarily from the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. The group no longer speaks using the language of “Western infidels and crusaders,” as its even more radical competitors do.
As for Egypt: a cursory reading of the updated charter reveals the miraculous disappearance of one of the most prominent sections of the original, which stated that “the Islamic resistance movement (Hamas) is an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine.” […]
The Brotherhood has been a critical point of contention between Hamas and Egypt in light of the de facto state of war between the regime of Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo and the group, whose democratically elected president Sissi deposed in a coup in 2013. […]
This “new charter” […] will not bring about a change in relations between Gaza and Israel. Neither will it reduce the potential for military escalation in the Strip that has become an annual hallmark of the rapidly approaching summer months.
Rather, by adopting positions that seem closer to those of the Palestinian Authority, the amendment is intended primarily to show the Palestinian public that Hamas is prepared to go a long way towards national unity.”
While the question of whether this new document replaces the original Hamas charter or exists alongside it still stands, analysts agree that it does not represent a real change of policy on the terror group’s behalf.
Pinhas Inbari writes:
“…a review of the text shows that Hamas has not renounced its principles but simply “powdered” them slightly. Furthermore, angry reactions to the new text show that it is unacceptable to the movement’s power base in Gaza.
The conclusion is that this change has more to do with the West Bank than with Gaza, and serves the interests of Hamas Political Bureau Chairman Khaled Mashal and, as such, cannot be acceptable to the movement in Gaza.”
Dr Denis MacEoin concludes that:
“The truth is that the new Charter, though vaunted as a major shift for the group, is, in reality, little more than a public-relations exercise. Hamas leaders have got smart, but have not changed their spots. […]
The New Charter is mere window-dressing; even a casual reading of it should show that the new Hamas is the old Hamas wearing a different face to try to disguise the true intransigence and hatred that have always characterized it.”
For years the BBC has been (inaccurately) telling its audiences that Hamas has “agreed to accept the boundaries which existed before the 1967 Middle East war as the basis for those of a future Palestinian state” and recently it promoted the claim that the two-state solution is the “declared goal” of ‘Palestinian leaders’. It will therefore be all the more interesting to see how Hamas’ new ‘botoxed’ manifesto is portrayed by the corporation to its audiences around the world.