(by Ori Lewis, Reuters) JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday symbolically threw away a Hamas policy paper published last week that set out a supposed softening of the Palestinian Islamist group’s stance toward Israel.
In a document issued last Monday, Hamas said it was dropping its longstanding call for Israel’s destruction, but said it still rejected the Jewish state’s right to exist and continued to back “armed struggle” against it. [Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal introduced the “political document of principles and general policies” at a press conference in Doha, Qatar, where he lives in exile.]
The Israeli government has said the document aimed to deceive the world that Hamas was becoming more moderate.
Netanyahu, in a 97-second video clip aired on social media on Sunday, said that news outlets had been taken in by “fake news.” Sitting behind his desk…the prime minister said that in its “hateful document,” Hamas “lies to the world.” He then pulled up a trash can, crumpled the document into a ball and tossed it away.
“The new Hamas document says that Israel has no right to exist, it says every inch of our land belongs to the Palestinians, it says there is no acceptable solution other than to remove Israel… they want to use their state to destroy our state,” Netanyahu said.
Founded in 1987 as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, the banned Egyptian Islamist movement, Hamas has fought three wars with Israel since 2007 and has carried out hundreds of armed attacks in Israel and in Israeli-occupied territories.
Many Western countries (including the U.S. and the European Union) classify Hamas as a terrorist group over its failure to renounce violence, recognize Israel’s right to exist and accept existing interim Israeli-Palestinian peace agreements.
Outgoing Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said Hamas’s fight was not against Judaism as a religion but against what he called “aggressor Zionists.” Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’s leader in the Gaza Strip, was named on Saturday to succeed Meshaal.
Netanyahu concluded his clip by saying that “Hamas murders women and children, it’s launched tens of thousands of missiles at our homes, it brainwashes Palestinian kids in suicide kindergarten camps,” before tossing the document.
From Reuters .com. Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from Thomson Reuters.
1. The first paragraph of a news article should answer the questions who, what, where and when. List the who, what, where and when of this news item. (NOTE: The remainder of a news article provides details on the why and/or how.)
2. a) What did Hamas say it is dropping in its new “political document of principles and general policies”?
b) What main policy is it still keeping?
3. What did the Israeli government say is Hamas’ aim for the new document?
4. a) What did Prime Minister Netanyahu say of the document and Hamas? Be specific.
b) What accusations did the Prime Minister make against Hamas?
5. What actions has Hamas taken against Israel?
6. Who has named Hamas a terrorist group (and for what reasons)?
7. Do you think it is important for Prime Minister Netanyahu to point out the discrepancy between what Hamas does – and what its new policy paper says – and how the media interprets it? Explain your answer.
- Hamas is a Palestinian Sunni Islamist terrorist organization that currently (since January 2006) forms the majority party of the Palestinian Authority
- Hamas is known outside the Palestinian territories for its suicide bombings and other attacks directed against Israeli civilians, as well as military and security forces targets.
- Hamas’ charter…calls for the destruction of the State of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip
- In January 2006, Hamas won a surprise victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections. Many [Palestinians] perceived the preceding Fatah government as corrupt and ineffective.
- Since Hamas has taken control, the Palestinian territories have experienced a period of sharp internal conflicts, known as Fauda (anarchy), in which many Palestinians have been killed in…fighting [between Hamas supporters and Fatah supporters]. (from wikipedia)
For more information on Hamas, visit the Council on Foreign Relations website atcfr.org/publication/8968/hamas.html
Read about the Palestinian National Authority at wikipedia.
Watch Prime Minister Netanyahu’s 97-second video clip, which aired on social media on Sunday:
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