The Palestinian Hamas movement [the week of December 15, 2019] celebrated its 32nd anniversary by reminding everyone of its main goal: the destruction of Israel. This message is proof that Hamas has not – and will not – change its charter, originally published in 1988. It is also a powerful message to those who may have deluded themselves into believing that Hamas has transformed into a non-violent Palestinian faction.
This charter, also known as the Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement, states that Hamas's "struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious" and calls for replacing Israel with an Islamic state. "There is no solution for the Palestinian issue except through Jihad (holy war)," the charter says. "Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. Renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion [of Islam]."
Thirty-two years later, the leaders of Hamas have again shown that they remain more committed than ever to their covenant, particularly regarding the desire to replace Israel with an Islamic state.
In this regard, Hamas deserves credit for being straightforward about its true intention. In statements marking the anniversary of the founding of Hamas, the movement's leaders again demonstrated that they do not mince their words.
Ibrahim Yazouri, one of the founders of Hamas and its military wing, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, said in an interview with the Hamas-affiliated Palestinian Information Center:
"Hamas and its military wing are continuing with their policy until the liberation of Palestine. We are nearing the day of liberation. Within a few years, God willing, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, occupied Jerusalem and all of Palestine will be liberated. Hamas will continue to use all means to liberate Palestine. The big victory is nearing and we need to be more patient."
When Hamas leaders talk about the "liberation of all of Palestine," they are actually repeating their commitment to destroy Israel.
Moreover, when Hamas leaders talk about using "all means to liberate Palestine," they are referring to various forms of terrorism, including suicide bombings and rocket attacks against Israel. These are the only means Hamas believes in as a way of achieving its goal.
Hamas does not – and will never – recognize Israel's right to exist. As the movement states in its charter, "the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection. No one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it."
The statements made this week by several Hamas leaders are identical to the content of their charter. These statements – 32 years after the establishment of Hamas – reaffirm the movement's extremist and dangerous ideology.