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The forked tongue of Hamas

Dinsdag, April 11, 2006 / Last Modified: Zaterdag, December 31, 2011

Israeli Government Bulletin, April 11, 2006.

There are glaring inconsistencies in the messages Hamas sends to the Arab and
Western media on the issues of terrorism, Israel, and negotiations. Hamas’s
media strategy is to adapt its various messages to the relevant target audience:
to Western media, Hamas attempts to put across a “soft” image; before the
Arab media, including the Palestinian media, Hamas presents a defiant and
uncompromising image (including on issues such as terrorism, the peace
process, and recognition of Israel). Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya in
particular presents contradictory messages in his appearances before the
various media outlets.

The following are important examples of Hamas’s double messages:

Jihad Extreme statements (Arabic)

“Resistance is an option that the Palestinian people has adhered to in order to
restore its national rights, the right of return, self-determination and the
establishment of a Palestinian State.” (Khaled Mashal, statement of the
secretary-general of the Damascus factions, March 28, 2006). “The
Movement’s manifesto combines resistance with political action..the
[government] guidelines have emerged from the womb of resistance.” (Ismail
Haniya, speech before the Legislative Council, March 28, 2006).

Moderate statement in the Western media

“Hamas never thinks about violence.Hamas in effect aspires towards peace and
calm based upon justice and equality.anything which is offered to the
Palestinian Authority on a political level will be considered and
discussed..Hamas will look into a mechanism for conducting negotiations.”
(Ismail Haniya, CBS, March 17, 2006).

Recognition of Israel extreme statements (in Arabic)

“No to negotiations with Israel, no to recognition of Israel and no to surrender
of Palestinian rights” (Khaled Mashal, Al-Rai Al-Aaam, March 26, 2006).

“One of the basic principles of the new government is not to surrender to
international threats and to refuse to recognize Israel” (Ismail Haniya, Alsharoq
newspaper, March 1, 2006).

“I dream of hanging up a large map of the world on my wall at home in Gaza,
on which Israel does not appear”.. (Mahmoud al-Zahar, March 3, 2006).

Moderate statement in the Western media

“We will respect the agreements which will ensure the establishment of a
Palestinian state on the ’67 lines, as well as the release of prisoners. if Israel
withdraws to the ’67 lines, we will formulate peace in stages.” (Ismail Haniya,
Jerusalem Post, February 25).

Islamization extreme statement (in Arabic)

“The new council will act to adapt the Palestinian laws to the spirit of
Islam.Hamas has placed an emphasis on the motto ‘Islam is the solution’, and
this has to be reflected in the laws that it is enacting”. (Ahmed Abu Halbia,
al-Ayyam, February 22, 2006).

Moderate statement in the Western media

“We are committed to acting in order to improve the moral standards of our
people. I hope that soon all places selling alcohol will be closed, not as a result
of an order, but because there will not be any consumers.” (Aziz Dweik,
Secretary of the Legislative Council, Corriere Della Sera, March 1).

Negotiations with Israel extreme statements (in Arabic)

“I will not meet with the leadership of the occupation, and we have those who
will represent us in the visits of the prisoners” (Wasfi Kabha, the Minister for
Prisoner Affairs, March 28, 2006).

“The Palestinian security framework is not amenable to political negotiations,
This is certainly not on my agenda” (Said Siam, Minister of the Interior, Press
Conference in Gaza, April 2, 2006).

Moderate statement in the Western media

“In regard to matters of day-to-day living, there are professional elements, and
we will not carry out a coup on such matters.” (Said Siam, Reuters, March 23,

Terrorist attacks extreme statement (Arabic)

“Our resistance to occupation in Palestine continues, and will not cease under
any circumstances..the al-Qassem Brigades will continue the march for the total
liberation of the soil of their beloved homeland of Palestine, from the sea to the
river.” (Ahmad al-Jaabari, Hamas website, April 5, 2006).

Moderate statement in the Western media

“Changes in Hamas are taking place in a gradual and measured manner. Hamas
adapts political pragmatism in regard to the state and the ceasefire” (Aazi
Hamad, Adviser to Ismail Haniya, March 28, 2006).

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