Tuesday's New York Times trumpeted its interview with Khaled Meshal, the political leader of Hamas. The "new news" was Meshal announcing the end of Israel-aimed rockets fired from Hamas-controlled Gaza and his claimed climb-down--without a direct quote--that "the movement was seeking a state only in the areas Israel won in 1967." Asked about his movement's 1988 founding principles, Meshal:
urged outsiders to ignore the Hamas charter, which calls for the obliteration of Israel through jihad and cites as fact the infamous anti-Semitic forgery, "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion." Mr. Meshal did not offer to revoke the charter, but said it was 20 years old, adding, "We are shaped by our experiences."Are Meshal's remarks a significant concession?
Doubtful. Meshal is among those Islamofascists who alternate diplomacy for Westerners with rabid radicalism at home. For example, Meshal gave a sermon at a Damascus mosque aired on Al-Jazeera TV on February 3, 2006 and translated by MEMRI:
Israel will be defeated, and so will whoever supported or supports it.And although Hamas supporters often quote a February 2006 BBC interview apparently accepting the 1967 borders, six weeks earlier, Meshal said this at a rally in Syria, translated by MEMRI:
Before Israel dies, it must be humiliated and degraded. Allah willing, before they die, they will experience humiliation and degradation every day. America will be of no avail to them. Their generals will be of no avail to them.
Who can tell, my brothers and sisters, when we will celebrate on this podium, the liberation of the West Bank? When will we celebrate the liberation of Jaffa, Haifa, Safed, and the Negev? When will we celebrate the departure of the last Zionist from our land? Yes. Some people ask when this will happen. Say: It could be soon. Such is our faith in Allah. We have no doubt that victory will come, and that just as we liberated Palestine from the Crusaders and from the Mongols, we will regain it -- pure and purified -- from the Zionist occupiers.Meshal's Arab audience would know that Jaffa, Haifa, Safed and Negev all are within Israel's pre-1967 borders.
Still, I hear you say, this could be a change of heart, Meshal's reaction to Israel's Gaza incursion in late '08 and early '09. Nope--just keep reading Tuesday's Times article, four paras after downplaying Hamas' charter:
On the two-state solution sought by the Americans, he said: "We are with a state on the 1967 borders, based on a long-term truce. This includes East Jerusalem, the dismantling of settlements and the right of return of the Palestinian refugees." Asked what "long-term" meant, he said 10 years.Let me translate:
- We want a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza, with all Israelis ejected from the West Bank (Israel already removed all settlers and soldiers from Gaza).
- But we Palestinians must also be allowed to "return" to Israel, even though 900,000 Jews (i.e., almost all) were expelled from Arab states after WWII without any reciprocal ability to return.
- In effect, we rewind to the status quo ante--a two-state solution that was insufficient then, spawning the 1967 Arab attack on Israel.
- But after 10 years under my plan, either the Palestinian population, or weapons stockpile, will out-number Israel's--the perfect time to end the truce and revive Hamas' charter.
I "hope" a Secretary of State named Clinton understands that Meshal offers no "change".
WaPo columnist Charles Krauthammer had the same reaction.