As my colleague Robert Spencer observed, Israeli President Shimon Peres appeared flummoxed by Hamas’ intransigence in comments made to Haaretz, reported December 30, 2008. "This shooting has no point, no logic, and no chance," Peres told Haaretz after Hamas’ open renunciation of the ceasefire agreement (not to mention its prior extensive violations throughout the course of the so-called "tahdiah"), and brazen resumption of missile and mortar attacks into southern Israel-which has triggered a dramatic, aggressive Israeli military response. Worse still, the elder statesman remains dangerously ignorant of Hamas’ intimately related motivations-the genocidal destruction of Israel’s Jews, as a prelude to regional, then global jihad conquest. "Nobody in this world understands what are Hamas’goals and why it continues to fire missiles," Peres asserted.
Mr. Peres is tragically emblematic of Israeli leaders and policymaking elites who for generations have ignored how the living institution of jihad war — conjoined in Israel’s unique case to Islamic Jew-hatred — was always, past and present, the primary motivation for those masses in the Arab and non-Arab Muslim world seeking the Jewish State’s destruction. Indeed, what was billed as the first discussion of global jihadism by the Israeli security cabinet even in the current world (not to mention local Israeli) environment was only just held at the end of this past July, 2008. Contra Shimon Peres et al, and underscoring their corrosive folly, historian David Littman has waged an heroic personal campaign — in public, at the United Nations Human Rights Commission, The open jihad against Israel waged continuously for two decades by Hamas, since the jihad terror organization’s founding in 1988, combined with the astonishing ignorance and/or denial of this phenomenon by Peres (and the lost legions who share his mindset), represents the apotheosis of this alarming trend.since January, 1989 — to elucidate key aspects of Hamas’ genocidal ideology, demonstrating unapologetically how this annihilationist hatred is sanctioned by Islam’s foundational texts. Littman reminded us why it is so critical to focus on Hamas’ odious foundational covenant as a binding documentary record of the organization’s specific beliefs and goals:
Hitler understood this when he wrote in the preface to Mein Kampf: "the basic elements of a doctrine must be set down in permanent form in order that it may be represented in the same way and in unity." [Hitler, Preface to Mein Kampf (Reynal and Hitchcock translation)]. After his release from an Israeli prison and return to Gaza in October 1997, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder and spiritual head of Hamas, declared that Israel must "disappear from the map." He added: "We have an aim and an enemy, and we shall continue our jihad against the enemy. A nation without a jihad is a nation without a purpose."
Hamas cleric Wael Al-Zarad during a television program which aired on Al-Aqsa TV on February 28, 20082:61/ explained that the Muslims’ blood vengeance against the Jews, "will only subside with their [the Jews] annihilation, Allah willing, because they tried to kill our Prophet several times." These allegations are part of a central antisemitic motif in the Koran which decrees an eternal curse upon the Jews (Koran reiterated at 3:112) for slaying the prophets and transgressing against the will of Allah.
And Koran 3:112 is featured before the pre-amble to Hamas’ foundational Covenant-it is literally part of the very first statement of the document. [Here is the Arberry translation of 3:112: "Abasement shall be pitched on them, wherever they are come upon, except they be in a bond of God, and a bond of the people; they will be laden with the burden of God’s anger, and poverty shall be pitched on them; that, because they disbelieved in God’s signs, and slew the Prophets without right; that, for that they acted rebelliously and were transgressors"]
In classical and modern Koranic exegeses by seminal, authoritative Islamic theologians (for details, see here) this central motif is coupled to Koranic verses 5:60, and 5:78, which describe the Jews transformation into apes and swine (5:60), or simply apes, (i.e. verses 2:65 and 7:166), having been "…cursed by the tongue of David, and Jesus, Mary’s son" (5:78). Muhammad himself repeats this Koranic curse in a canonical hadithSunan Abu Dawoud, Book 37, Number 4322), "He [Muhammad] then recited the verse [5:78]: ‘…curses were pronounced on those among the children of Israel who rejected Faith, by the tongue of David and of Jesus the son of Mary’ ". (
Salah al-Khalidi (fl. late 20th century) makes plain how these motifs of Koranic Jew-hatred are interpreted by Hamas in a manner that is entirely consistent with classical exegeses. Extracts (translated from the original Arabic by Dr. Michael Schub in my The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism) are provided below from Khalidi’s major work Haqa’iq Koraniyya al Qadiyya al-Filastinniya ["Koranic Facts Regarding the Palestinian Issue"] which was first published in 1991 by the Hamas Publishing House Mansh?r?t Filastin al-Muslima, and translated into Urdu, Hindi, Turkish, Russian, and English (formerly available online at www.assabeel.com) due to its international popularity.
Humiliation is attached to the Jews for their entire lifetime: they were humiliated in Egypt, and when they arrived in [sic] Palestine, and when they were exiled from Palestine, and when they dispersed into the valleys of the earth. What concerns us here-in our discussion of the Jewish character-is to indicate that this humiliation is to be considered as an inveterate Jewish character trait, and a destructive Jewish perversion. Humiliation is one of their historical attributes, a fixed fact of their existence, and a qaa`ida, basis of their life… (Koran 2:61) The Jews are humiliated because they disbelieved in God, killed His prophets, disobeyed His emissaries, transgressed His prohibitions-all of this is humiliation. They are humiliated-and this is why they search out lustful indulgences, and have become their slaves. All of this is humiliation.
It is impossible that the Jews could not be cursed. How could they not be accursed when they are attributed with such degenerate inveterate character traits, twenty of which we have demonstrated above. (Note: Khalidi earlier states, ‘We have extracted from Koran twenty Jewish traits. The Jews are: liars, perverters (of the Text), envious, tricky, fickle, mercurial, sardonic, treacherous, in error, causing others to be in error, merchants, fools, humiliated, dastards, misers, avid for (this) life, disloyal to their firm contracts, rush into sinful aggression, concealers of true evidence, corrupters in the earth, and obstructors in God’s path.’ For specific Koranic citations confirming his litany see here). They are worthy of eternal curse because of the villainous traits they display and the corrupt evils they have perpetrated.
The Jews are in a condition of mal`ana, i.e. everyone pours out curses on them; God has cursed them, the angels have cursed them, their prophets have cursed them, the good people among them have cursed them, and everyone has cursed them. They are deserving of this eternal and continual damnation until the day of resurrection when they will encounter God’s wrath, fury, and punishment. They were accordingly exiled from God’s mercy, and kept afar from His goodness.
Many Koranic verses were revealed emphasizing…the judgment upon them of cursed damnation, and exile from His mercy, e.g. Koran 5:13: "For breaking their covenant, We curse them, and have made their hearts hard." And Koran 5:60…And Koran 5:64…And Koran 5:78…
The recent annihilationist sentiments regarding Jews, as expressed by Hamas cleric al-Zarad, are also rooted in Islamic eschatology [end of times theology], and incorporated permanently into the foundational 1988 Hamas Covenant. As characterized in the hadith (the words, deeds, and even unspoken gestures of Muhammad as ostensibly recorded by his earliest pious Muslim companions), Muslim eschatology highlights the Jews’ supreme hostility to Islam. Jews are described as adherents of the Dajjâl — the Muslim equivalent of the Anti-Christ — or according to another tradition, the Dajjâl is himself Jewish. At his appearance, other traditions maintain that the Dajjâl will be accompanied by 70,000 Jews from Isfahan wrapped in their robes, and armed with polished sabers, their heads covered with a sort of veil. When the Dajjâl is defeated, his Jewish companions will be slaughtered- everything will deliver them up except for the so-called gharkad tree, as per the canonical hadith (Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6985) included in the 1988 Hamas Covenant (in article 7). This hadith is cited in the Covenant as a sacralized, obligatory call for a Muslim genocide of the Jews:
…the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to realize the promise of Allah, no matter how long it takes. The Prophet, Allah’s prayer and peace be upon him, says: "The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: ‘Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him,’ except for the Gharqad tree, for it is the tree of the Jews." (Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6985)
Littman cites an April 12, 2002, Friday sermon delivered by the Palestinian Authority’s Sheikh Ibrahim Madhi at the Sheikh Ijlin Mosque in Gaza City, broadcast live on Palestinian Authority television demonstrating how the destruction of Israel’s Jews heralds further Islamic conquests.
Madhi quoted from this hadith — including the curious reference to the "Jewish" Gharqad tree — and then stated: "We believe in this hadith. We are convinced also that this hadith heralds the spread of Islam and its rule over all the lands… ‘from the ocean to the ocean…’"
Article 28, which is free of any eschatological references, clearly "widens the circle of hate" towards Jews, as Littman has observed, targeting all contemporary Jews: "Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Muslim people: ‘May the cowards never sleep.’"
Articles 22 and 32 invoke modern conspiratorial themes reminiscent of European (secular) antisemitic motifs, especially the latter (32), which makes explicit mention of the Czarist Russian forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. But even these articles are peppered with Koranic citations, including references in both 22 and 32 to Koran 5:64, a sort of ancient antecedent of The Protocols. (Arberry translation, Koran 5:64: "The Jews have said, ‘God’s hand is fettered.’ Fettered are their hands, and they are cursed for what they have said. Nay, but His hands are outspread; He expends how He will. And what has been sent down to thee from thy Lord will surely increase many of them in insolence and unbelief; and We have cast between them enmity and hatred, till the Day of Resurrection. As often as they light a fire for war, God will extinguish it. They hasten about the earth, to do corruption there; and God loves not the workers of corruption.")
Jihad is the other pillar of Hamas’ foundational Jew-annihilationist ideology featured in the 1988 Covenant. Once again, this is already suggested in the opening statement before the preamble which includes the following quote by Hasan al-Banna, founder of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood: "Israel will exist, and will continue to exist, until Islam abolishes it, as it abolished that which was before it." Hamas, it should be noted, claims to be a wing of the International Muslim Brotherhood. Article 2 of the Hamas Charter, for example, states: "The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine. The Muslim Brotherhood Movement is a universal organisation which constitutes the largest Islamic movement in modern times."
But the body of the Hamas Covenant includes unequivocal statements of Hamas’ irredentist commitment to the annihilation of Israel via jihad. Jihad martyrdom is lauded in article 8 "the Hamas slogan," (in fact borrowed from the 1928 Charter of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood), which states, "Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its Constitution; Jihad is its path, and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes." Article 13 makes plain that Hamas’ jihadism is completely incompatible with any meaningful Middle East peace settlement:
Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. Abusing any part of Palestine is abuse against part of religion. Nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its religion. Its members have been fed on that…There is no solution to the Palestinian question except by Jihad. All initiatives, proposals, and International Conferences are a waste of time and vain endeavors.
And article 15 (subtitled, "Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine is a Personal Duty") elucidates classical jihadist theory, as well as its practical modern application to the destruction of Israel by jihad:
The day the enemies conquer some part of the Muslim land, jihad becomes a personal duty of every Muslim. In the face of the Jewish occupation of Palestine, it is necessary to raise the banner of jihad. This requires the propagation of Islamic consciousness among the masses, locally [in Palestine], in the Arab world and in the Islamic world. It is necessary to instill the spirit of jihad in the nation, engage the enemies and join the ranks of the jihad fighters. The indoctrination campaign must involve ulama, educators, teachers and information and media experts, as well as all intellectuals, especially the young people and the sheikhs of Islamic movements…
It is necessary to establish in the minds of all the Muslim generations that the Palestinian issue is a religious issue, and that it must be dealt with as such, for [Palestine] contains Islamic holy places, [namely] the Al-Aqsa mosque, which is inseparably connected, for as long as heaven and earth shall endure, to the holy mosque of Mecca through the Prophet’s nocturnal journey [from the mosque of Mecca to the Al-Aqsa mosque] and through his ascension to heaven thence. "Being stationed on the frontier for the sake of Allah for one day is better than this [entire] world and everything in it; and the place taken up in paradise by the [horseman’s] whip of any one of you [jihad fighters] is better than this [entire] world and everything in it. Every evening [operation] and morning [operation] performed by Muslims for the sake of Allah is better than this [entire] world and everything in it." (Recorded in the Hadith collections of Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi and Ibn Maja). "By the name of Him who holds Muhammad’s soul in His hand, I wish to launch an attack for the sake of Allah and be killed and attack again and be killed and attack again and be killed." (Recorded in the Hadith collections of Bukhari and Muslim)
Unfortunately, Hamas’ views on the jihad against Israel, and Islamic Jew hatred, are entirely concordant with those of the most authoritative religious educational institution within Sunni Islam-Al Azhar University, in Cairo, Egypt. Consider a fatwa written January 5, 1956 by then Grand Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Hasan Ma’moun, and signed by the leading members of the Fatwa Committee of Al Azhar, and the major representatives of all four Sunni Islamic schools of jurisprudence. [English translation from State Department Telegram 1763/ Embassy (Cairo) Telegram 1256 D441214] This ruling elaborated the following key initial point: that all of historical Palestine having been conquered by jihad, was a permanent possession of the global Muslim umma (community), "fay territory" (booty/spoils), to be governed by Islamic Law. The January, 1956 Al Azhar fatwa’s language and arguments are indistinguishable from those employed by Hamas (in its Covenant), revealing the same conjoined motivations of jihad, and conspiratorial Islamic Jew hatred:
Muslims cannot conclude peace with those Jews who have usurped the territory of Palestine and attacked its people and their property in any manner which allows the Jews to continue as a state in that sacred Muslim territory.
[as] Jews have taken a part of Palestine and there established their non-Islamic government and have also evacuated from that part most of its Muslim inhabitants… Jihad… to restore the country to its people.. is the duty of all Muslims, not just those who can undertake it. And since all Islamic countries constitute the abode of every Muslim, the Jihad is imperative for both the Muslims inhabiting the territory attacked, and Muslims everywhere else because even though some sections have not been attacked directly, the attack nevertheless took place on a part of the Muslim territory which is a legitimate residence for any Muslim.
Everyone knows that from the early days of Islam to the present day the Jews have been plotting against Islam and Muslims and the Islamic homeland. They do not propose to be content with the attack they made on Palestine and Al Aqsa Mosque, but they plan for the possession of all Islamic territories from the Nile to the Euphrates.
Five decades later, Hamas circa 2008/2009 also reflects the triumphalism of contemporary jihadist movements that openly avow their desire to re-establish a Caliphate, and submit the world to Islamic rule-all in accord with classical jihad doctrine, and popular Muslim sentiment. While voluminous additional evidence could be adduced in support of this premise, three particularly salient illustrations are provided below. Hamas cleric Muhsen Abu ‘Ita was interviewed July 13, 2008 on Al-Aqsa TV. After reminding listeners that the Koran’s opening prayer itself (the Fatiha, at 1:7), which pious Muslims repeat five times daily, declares that the Jews are "those who incur Allah’s wrath," (re-affirming the standard exegesis, for example, Suyuti’s classical commentary), he declared:
The annihilation of the Jews here in Palestine is one of the most splendid blessings for Palestine. This will be followed by a greater blessing, Allah be praised, with the establishment of a Caliphate that will rule the land and will be pleasing to men and God.
Three months earlier Hamas MP and cleric Yunis Al-Astal, had made these more elaborate remarks during a speech which aired on Palestinian Al-Aqsa TV April 11, 2008:
Very soon, Allah willing, Rome will be conquered, just like Constantinople was, as was prophesized by our prophet Muhammad. Today, Rome is the capital of the Catholics, or the Crusader capital, which has declared its hostility to Islam, and has planted the brothers of apes and pigs [i.e., Jews, Koran 2:65, 5:60, and 7:166, and other foundational Muslim texts] in Palestine in order to prevent the reawakening of Islam – this capital of theirs [Rome] will be an advanced post for the Islamic conquests, which will spread through Europe in its entirety, and then will turn to the two Americas, and even Eastern Europe. I believe that our children or our grandchildren will inherit our Jihad…
Even the more staid "analysis" of Sheik Yazeeb Khader, identified in a Washington Times report of May 12, 2008 as a Ramallah-based Hamas political analyst, revealed Hamas’ integration with regional pan-Islamic aspirations hardly consistent with mere independent, local nationalisms. Referring to events he believed were set in motion when Hamas violently seized control of Gaza from Mahmud Abbas’ Fatah forces, Khader opined,
What happened in Gaza in 2007 is an achievement; now it is happening in 2008 in Lebanon. It’s going to happen in 2009 in Jordan and it’s going to happen in 2010 in Egypt. We are seeing a redrawing of the map of the Middle East where the forces of resistance and steadfastness are the ones moving the things on the ground.
Khader’s remarks underscored the jihadist alliance straddling the so-called Shi’ite-Sunni rift (which is immaterial when juxtaposed to their shared antipathy towards Israel, and the much larger non-Muslim world). Furthermore, as the Washington Times report noted,
The notion of new countries falling under Islamist influence reflects a goal of Hamas’ parent group, the Muslim Brotherhood, of replacing secular Arab regimes with Islamist governments.
All these words, and the concrete actions they engender-via both political means, and jihad terrorism-debunk widely accepted tropes that Hamas is merely a nationalist movement, albeit religious, desiring a "Palestinian homeland" in the territories of Gaza (which it already possesses), Judea, and Samaria. Hamas’ blatantly annihilationist rhetoric towards Jews and Israel within the 1949 armistice borders, indicates that the jihadist organization wishes to replace Israel. Moreover the monotonous rhetoric of Jew hatred espoused by Hamas-which is Islamic, and specifically Koranic, in origin-is seamlessly interwoven with Hamas’ unabashed desire to wage global jihad.
Already more than six years ago, David Littman made this plaintive warning:
It will be hard enough to strive for the creation of stable, democratic states in the Middle East even without widespread conspiracy theories and the Hamas genocidal charter – a charter denounced neither by Muslim spiritual and political leaders nor by the United Nations…if Hamas refuses to scrap its genocidal charter and renounce the ideology of jihad-war – there can be no possibility of serious progress toward a Middle East peace, with two states coexisting side by side.
Littman’s two decades of appeals and admonitions having gone entirely unheeded, the global community must now grapple with the bloodthirsty, Jew-annihilationist aspirations of an unreformed Hamas, which, on its official website (posted December 31, 2008 at the site hosted by Emirnet, United Arab Emirates) urged Muslims to attack Jews across the world, making the ugly claim that,
…a Jewish adolescent boy in an Australian synagogue, a Jewish minister in the Georgian government, a Jewish businessman at the New York Stock Exchange, and an illiterate Jew from the Ethiopian desert… they all belong to the same gang and the same nation, apart from the rest of humanity.