Sunday, July 19, 2009


Hamas...has sent repeated signals that it may be ready to

begin a process of coexisting with Israel.

U.S. Institute of Peace Special Report on Hamas, June, 2009


Although peaceful coexistence between Israel and Hamas is clearly not possible under

the formulations that comprise Hamas’s 1988 charter, Hamas has, in practice, moved

well beyond its charter. Indeed, Hamas has been carefully and consciously adjusting

its political program for years and has sent repeated signals that it may be ready to

begin a process of coexisting with Israel.

As evidenced by numerous statements, Hamas is not hostile to Jews because of religion.

Rather, Hamas’s view toward Israel is based on a fundamental belief that Israel

has occupied land that is inherently Palestinian and Islamic.

For Hamas, “recognition” of Israel would represent a negation of the rightness of its

own cause and would be indefensible under Islam. It considers unacceptable for itself

the actions of those Muslim countries that have recognized Israel, such as Egypt and

Jordan, and those that have indicated their willingness to do so, such as Saudi Arabia

and the rest of the Arab League, because they have provided no theological

justification for their policies toward Israel.

Although Hamas, as an Islamic organization, will not transgress shari‘a, which it

understands as forbidding recognition, it has formulated mechanisms that allow

it to deal with the reality of Israel as a fait accompli. These mechanisms include

the religious concepts of tahadiya and hudna and Hamas’s own concept of

“Palestinian legitimacy.”

Tahadiya refers to a short-term calming period between conflicting parties during

which differences are not put aside. A tahadiya stopped most violence between Hamas

and Israel from June to December 2008.

Hudna is a truce for a specific period, which is based on the practice of the Prophet

Mohammad and on subsequent events in Muslim history. Hamas has indicated on a

number of occasions its willingness to accede to a

hudna with Israel, assuming basic Palestinian rights as set forth in the Arab Peace

Initiative (API) are agreed to first.

Palestinian legitimacy is a term employed by Hamas to describe its willingness to

consider accepting a binding peace treaty, such as the proposal set forth in the API,

so long as the treaty is first ratified by the Palestinian people in a referendum.

Although Hamas would not directly participate in peace negotiations with Israel,Hamas

has indicated that it would be willing to be part of a Palestinian coalition

government with Fatah under which Fatah would negotiate the actual treaty.

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