Posted on: December 2, 2012 Posted by: Mitchell Plitnick Comments: 0

Let me be clear up front. Hamas is a fundamentalist and repressive group. Their ideology is dangerous and whatever one thinks of their armed resistance, the targeting of civilians is illegal, immoral and reprehensible.
But that doesn’t mean that they should be looked at through a simplistic lens. They have shown a side of their structure that can be pragmatic and flexible. And the reliance of others on their charter is just stupid.
If we rely on the USA Declaration of Independence, we could not explain on the one hand, the continuation of slavery and then Jim Crow laws for decades. Norman, on the other hand could we explain how women could ever have equal rights, since only “all MEN are created equal.”
I was put in mind of these points when I received thus from the Israeli Government Press Office:
@GPOIsrael: Israel Declaration of Independence, “We extend our hand to all neighboring states & their peoples in offer of peace and good neighborliness”
Of course, that extension was dependent on neighboring states accepting Palestinian dispossession and any and all Israeli definitions of its own security needs. More recently, it’s depended on treating Israel differently from every other country and recognizing it as an ethnic state.
The point is neither to rip Israel with this example of hypocrisy, since it is no different than most other countries in this regard, with the exveptions generally being that countries that avoid such hypocrisy usually do so not by acting more nobly, but by avoiding stating such aspirations.
Nor, as should be clear by now is this in any way meant to defend Hamas.
But it is meant to help get us past the nonsense about the charter. Hamas is an integral part of the Palestinian body politic. Pretending it is not so has gotten us nowhere, and neither will holding a caricature view of them, whether that is demonization or seeing them with rose colored glasses.
Hamas can be judged on their actual history and practical actions, and these paint a picture with plenty of crimes (like any political/military body, though their record of targeting civilians is particularly awful) against israelis and also against Palestinians. But it also paints a picture of a terrorist or guerrilla group (depending on the point of view) that has morphed into a more complex political body. It is only practical that they be judged as such, not looked at only through the prism of their quite objectionable charter.
If we’re serious about resolving this conflict, we need to get much more serious about Hamas.