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The Big Hamas Lie

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We saw this coming from a thousand miles away—having set up Hamas kingpin Ismail Haniyeh as a so-called “pragmatist,” mainstream media will now start promoting the Big Hamas Lie: ‘We do not wish to throw them into the sea’: Hamas on Israelis.

WASHINGTON(AFP) - Hamas does not feel animosity against Jews per se and could establish “peace in stages” with Israel if the latter withdraws to its 1967 borders, its leader Ismail Haniyeh has said.

Hamas, a radical Islamist faction which does not recognize Israel’s right to exist and which has been responsible for scores of suicide attacks, is forming a Palestinian government following a landslide election win last month.

“If Israel withdraws to the ‘67 borders, then we will establish a peace in stages,” Haniyeh said in a phone interview with Newsweek-Washington in an interview released Sunday.

Clarifying what he meant, Haniyeh said: “Number one, we will establish a situation of stability and calm which will bring safety for our people — what (Hamas founder) Sheikh (Ahmed) Yassin called a long-term hudna.”

When asked if peace in stages meant “the ultimate obliteration of the Jewish people”, Haniyeh said: “We do not have any feelings of animosity toward Jews. We do not wish to throw them into the sea. All we seek is to be given our land back, not to harm anybody.”

Please note that Haniyeh is parroting the exact talking points recommended by the Hamas public relations firm: The Hamas PR Blitz.

“Hamas has an image problem. The Israelis were able to create a very bad image of the Palestinians in general and particularly Muslims and Hamas. My contract is to project the right image,” said Mr Aqtash, who also teaches media at Birzeit University in Ramallah.

“We don’t need the international community to accept Hamas ideology, we need it to accept the facts on the ground. We are not killing people because we love to kill. People view Hamas as loving sending people to die. We don’t love death, we like life.”

Mr Aqtash, who describes himself as opposed to violence and “believing in the Gandhi route”, has advised Hamas leaders to change their image by explaining that they do not hate Israelis because they are Jews. And he is attempting to persuade influential foreigners that Hamas is essentially a peaceful organisation that was forced to fight, but is now committed to pressing its cause through politics, not violence.

UPDATE at 2/26/06 8:41:39 am:

Oops. Hamas just doesn’t get the PR thing. Hamas denies suggesting it may recognize Israel.

The Washington Post newspaper, on its Web site, quoted Haniyeh as saying in an interview: “If Israel declares that it will give the Palestinian people a state and give them back all their rights, then we are ready to recognize them.”

But Haniyeh told reporters in Gaza that he “did not tackle the issue of recognizing (Israel) in my interview with the Washington Post.”

Aw come on, Ismail. No need to backpedal! Your constituency understands the need to mislead the gullible infidels.

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