Friday, December 17, 2010

Last month, Hamas' co-founder and ideological leader Mahmoud Zahar said:
The Jews will soon be expelled from Palestine that same way they were kicked out by France, Britain, Belgium, Russia and Germany, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said over the weekend.

..."They have no place here amongst us because of their crimes. They will soon be expelled from here and we will pray at the Aqsa Mosque [in Jerusalem].”

Zahar claimed that Jews were expelled in the past “because they betrayed, stole and corrupted these countries.”

And last week he said publicly at a Hamas rally, as he burned an Israeli flag:
The [Hamas] movement was launched to continue the jihad until the liberation of all Palestine...The journey of jihad and martyrdom began 23 years ago and will continue until the liquidation of the masses of aggression, treachery and even high banners of faith and bring us day after day, year after year from Palestine .. all of Palestine. The Jihad will continue until the liberation of the Palestinian city of Jerusalem to pray a prayer of thanks after the liberation of all Palestine.
So when AFP spoke to him yesterday, did they ask him about his violent, anti-semitic and jihadist rhetoric?

Of course not!

AFP's Sara Hussein puts as moderate a spin as she can on Zahar:
Palestinians have time in their fight for a state, and a victory will come through nation-building rather than military confrontation with Israel, a senior Hamas leader said.

Zahar derided peace talks as a waste of time, heaping scorn on Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for engaging in negotiations, and ruled out recognition of Israel.

But he also stressed Hamas has no plans to launch new attacks on the state and was instead focusing its efforts on state-building and providing an example of honest Palestinian governance.

"We are not saying 'wait,' because we are not just sitting here," he said. "We are reconstructing everything... For the first time, we are really administrating real progress in different ways, on all kinds of things.

"We are giving a good example of purified administration."

Zahar laid out a platform with similarities to that of Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad, who is implementing a two-year plan to build infrastructure in the West Bank.

Hamas rejects peace talks because negotiations have failed, he said.

"We are ready to talk to everybody, but about what? About eating falafel?"

Zahar joked about the years of failed negotiations.

"They left no city without negotiations -- they started in Madrid, Sharm Ash-Sheikh many times, Wye River -- many talks," he said.

He pledged Hamas would continue to "resist the occupation" but insisted resistance was more than military confrontation.

"One of the methods of resistance is to reject the occupation as an idea, one is to educate yourself and your people in their culture, one is to prepare yourself for the war if it happens.

"This," he said, "is resistance."
The reporter refrains from asking about Hamas' closing of charities, or its violence against other Palestinian Arab groups in Gaza, or torture in its jails, or corruption where Hamas steals aid and sells it, or Zahar's anti-semitic statements, or his jihadist rhetoric, or his own personal corruption. No, AFP takes everything he says at face value, propping him up as a moderate Islamic alternative to the PA's Fayyad.

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