Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Voices of Palestine: Mahmoud al-Zahar
When Hamas released Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit after five years in captivity in exchange for over 1,000 jailed Palestinian terrorists, it was met with considerable opposition from those who believed it would only encourage more kidnappings and terrorism. Almost immediately, Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar fully confirmed this worry, saying in a newspaper interview, “The lessons we’ve learned by kidnapping soldiers leads us to continue the kidnappings. We still have 7,000 prisoners in (Israeli) jails, and they also need to be released.” But, unlike Israel, al-Zahar is not interested in these prisoner exchanges for the purpose of liberating innocent Palestinians. Rather, he is determined to amass as many foot soldiers as possible in order to obliterated Israel and drive its Jewish population into the sea. To achieve this goal, al-Zahar’s Hamas has for decades employed suicide bombings and rocket attacks against Israeli military and civilian targets. While al-Zahar currently resides in the “political-wing” of Hamas, prior to that he cut his teeth planning these attacks in Hamas’s “armed-wing,” the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.
When al-Zahar first ascended to his ministerial post in 2006, he outlined Hamas’s foreign policy agenda in a series of public broadcasts. In one broadcast, al-Zahar said Hamas “would not change a single word in its covenant,” which calls for the destruction of Israel and Jewish genocide. He added, “Israel is not a legitimate entity, and no amount of pressure can force us to recognize its right to exist.” Then, for those who may still not have understood the message, al-Zahar further assured them, “By God, we will not leave one Jew in Palestine. We will fight them with all the strength we have. This is our land, not the Jews.”
In a 2010 television broadcast, al-Zahar intoned, “We have liberated Gaza, but have we recognized Israel? Have we given up our lands occupied in 1948? We demand the liberation of the West Bank, and the establishment of a state in the West Bank and Gaza, with Jerusalem as its capital – but without recognizing [Israel]. This is the key – without recognizing the Israeli enemy on a single inch of land…I say this loud and clear so that nobody will accuse me of employing political tactics. We will not recognize the Israeli enemy.”
Of course, even if Israel were to cede all “disputed territories,” as they’re called, that wouldn’t be enough to satisfy al-Zahar and his Hamas compatriots. Al-Zahar made that point clear as early as 2005 when he said, “Neither the liberation of the Gaza Strip nor the liberation of the West Bank or even Jerusalem will suffice us. Hamas will pursue the armed struggle until the liberation of all our lands. We don’t recognize the state of Israel or its right to hold onto one inch of Palestine. Palestine is an Islamic land belonging to all the Muslims.”
Al-Zahar has been equally clear as to his plans for the Jews after Palestine is “liberated”: “We are no weaker or less honorable than the peoples that expelled and annihilated the Jews. The day we expel them is drawing near…We have learned the lesson – there is no place for you among us, and you have no future among the nations of the world. You are headed to annihilation.”
It should be noted that al-Zahar’s mission to annihilate the Jews comes with several preconditions. As he explained in 2006, “Before Israel dies, it must be humiliated and degraded. Allah willing, before they die, they will experience humiliation and degradation every day.”
Only a problem for Israel and the Jews? Not according to al-Zahar. Achieving Allah’s directive in “Palestine” is only the beginning. In 2004 al-Zahar said:
We are part of Allah’s promise that Islam will enter Palestine and every home in the world, with a revelation of the power of Allah the Omnipotent, and a revelation of the inferiority of the infidels. Hamas is leading this plan in Gaza, the West Bank, and the 1948 territories, and the Muslim Brotherhood is leading it everywhere else. This is part of Allah’s predestination.
Al-Zahar’s Islamist vision was on display later that same year when he spoke at the funeral of the first female Hamas suicide bomber, promising, “She is not going to be the last because the march of resistance will continue until the Islamic flag is raised, not only over the minarets of Jerusalem, but over the whole universe.”
Al-Zahar’s admiration for death and destruction is not confined to Palestinian suicide bombers. He also praises his Islamist brethren in Afghanistan, the American-killing Taliban:
The Taliban are 1,000 times more honorable than the American occupation and its collaborators…Everyone must stop blaming the Taliban for things that in fact characterize the people of the West, who seek to turn the international community into a swamp of corruption and destruction, and to spread abomination and disease in the name of absolute freedom.
Perhaps al-Zahar’s admiration for the Taliban arises from that terror group’s frequent use of suicide bombers, many of whom are women and children forced into the act. During the al-Aqsa Intifada from 2000-2004, Hamas and its allies launched 138 suicide attacks against Israelis, killing 319 Israeli soldiers and 745 civilians, and wounding 2,430 soldiers and 5,032 civilians. Sixty-nine of the suicide attacks were carried out by children under the age of 18.
One might be misled into thinking that al-Zahar’s recent call for Mahmoud Abbas, leader of Fatah (Hamas’s rival), to abandon his unilateral UN statehood bid was an indication that his views are softening. But, in actuality, al-Zahar opposes the move because he does not want a Palestinian state side by side Israel. He is only interested in one Judenrein Palestinian state. As he once said, “I dream of hanging a huge map of the world on the wall at my Gaza home which does not show Israel on it. I hope that our dream to have our independent state on all historic Palestine.”
No amount of prisoner exchanges or concessions by the Israelis will allow that dream of al-Zahar’s to die. He’s made himself perfectly clear on the subject. If only the world would take his words seriously.