Sanitising Hamas in the worship of power
By Melanie Phillips
During the recent war between Hamas and Israel, it became a commonplace to hear people either promoting the idea of ‘engaging’ with Hamas (former UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband, former UK ambassador to the UN Sir Jeremy Greenstock, journalist Jackson Diehl and the Washington Post plus sundry EU diplomats and of course the UN) on the basis that there could be no peace between Israel and the Palestinians without it and Hamas was really quite moderate; or actually providing a platform for Hamas itself (see the Guardian’s record here). And of course, most of the media coverage of the war was based on the noxious premise that there was a moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas, regardless of the fact that the latter is a proscribed terrorist organisation which seeks to achieve the extermination of Israel and every Jew.
This is what the Hamas put up on the screen during a music video last week on its al Aqsa TV station:
‘Killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah’.
Lyrics of songs on this video included these little ditties:
‘[Oh] lovers of the trigger: Killing the occupiers [Israelis] is worship that Allah made into law...’
‘Brigades - we kidnap soldiers, Brigades - we kill Jews’
‘Repeat in the name of your Jihad: Death to Israel!’
These are the people whose ‘deployment of longer-range rockets that have now been shown to reach Tel Aviv and Jerusalem’ is applauded by Seumas Milne in the Guardian; who David Miliband said ‘we can no longer ignore’; who Sir Jeremy Greenstock said have been, for the past four years, ‘mainly passive and containing the militants in Gaza’; with whom the UN envoy to the Middle East has ‘maintained quiet contacts for years’; and who Jackson Diehl hoped would work out with Israel ‘a modus vivendi that benefits both sides’.
Such positions sound to me suspiciously like sanitising, mainstreaming or even endorsing those who are committed to genocide. Yet these positions are being promoted by politicians, diplomats and establishment newspapers.
What this represents is at base (and leaving aside the element of ideological fanaticism) a total eclipse of truth and morality by power-worship. Hamas is dominant; therefore there can be no solution unless Hamas is involved.
The commitment by Hamas to destroy Israel and wipe out every Jew on earth is considered all but irrelevant. There can only be a solution if Hamas is involved, goes this thinking, because it is in power over the Palestinians – and there can only be a solution that is brokered between Israel and the Palestinians.
The fact that Hamas/the Palestinians are in the business of exterminating Israel cannot be allowed to interfere with the unchallengeable dogma that peace between two warring sides can only be achieved if they talk to each other. The idea of a ‘just war’ fought to defeat genocidal terror is explicitly ruled out. Indeed, it has been said repeatedly by the power-worshippers that no solution can be achieved through war (so much for World War Two).
On the contrary, genocide can only be defeated by war. To force its victims to negotiate with aggressors whose agenda of extermination is non-negotiable (and we know that because they say so, repeatedly) is tantamount to forcing those victims to surrender to their own annihilation.
That is the position with which all those who sanitise Hamas have now irredeemably associated themselves. They should not be allowed to forget it.
Meanwhile, Khaled abu Toameh suggests that Mahmoud Abbas may be about to enter into an alliance with Hamas. If that does happen, you might think that would make it difficult for western leaders to keep up the pretence that the Holocaust-denier Abbas -- who says he will never accept Israel as a Jewish state; who is committed to unlimited Palestinian immigration to Israel to destroy it as a Jewish state; whose regime promotes the inculcation of its children into murderous hatred of Jews and Israel; whose flags and insignia obliterate Israel from the map; and whose party’s military wing, the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, commits terrorist atrocities against Israelis -- really is a moderate and a statesman-in-waiting.
If you did think it would make it difficult, you would be wrong. For in the event of such a pact between Fatah and Hamas, western leaders would undoubtedly conclude that Hamas was indeed moderate and a worthy interlocutor for peace – just like they have convinced themselves that, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Fatah’s aim is a Palestinian state living peacefully alongside Israel. After all, the alternative would be that there would be no-one to negotiate with. And for our arrogant, ignorant, self-interested, solipsistic western leaders, that would not only be unthinkable. It would be simply impossible.