Hamas is reportedly planning to endorse a state of Palestine along the 1967 borders — a move that would be a monumental shift from the group’s long-held policy of reclaiming all of historic Palestine — though it won’t recognize Israel’s legitimacy.
The new policy will be announced in amendments to Hamas’s charter that is to be published in April, after the group’s political bureau completes its internal elections, the Pan-Arab daily a-Sharq al-Awsat reported Tuesday, citing sources within the Islamist terror group.
The new policy is being crafted in order to engage regional and international partners, such as Egypt, the report said.
The report follows a number of statements by senior Hamas leaders in recent months to the effect that the group will recognize the 1967 borders, but not the State of Israel.
Hamas is a terror group that seeks the destruction of Israel and has fought three major rounds of conflict against it since seizing Gaza in 2007. Over the years, it has fired thousands of rockets into Israel, tunneled under the border to carry out attacks, and orchestrated suicide bombings that have killed hundreds of Israelis.
“All of Hamas bodies, whether affiliated with its political wing or military brigades, contributed to drafting the declaration,” the Hamas sources said.
Talk of “the 1967 borders” generally refers to the pre-1967 lines between Israel and the territory it captured in that year’s Six-Day War from Jordan (in Jerusalem and the West Bank), Egypt (Gaza and the Sinai) and Syria (the Golan Heights).
The amendments to the charter were reportedly worked out during a meeting in Doha, Qatar, which was attended by outgoing Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal; his projected successor, former Gaza prime minister Ismail Haniyeh; and senior Hamas member Moussa Abu Marzouk. The report did not say when the meeting took place.
Hamas is also planning to officially break ties with its parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, according to the report.
The charter amendments will reportedly call for “separation from any foreign body or organization.”
Hamas was founded in the late 1980s as the Palestinian branch of the Brotherhood.
Hamas is also intending to declare that it only opposes “the Israeli occupation,” as opposed to all Jews, in an effort to deflect accusations that it is anti-Semitic.
Hamas’s current charter, written in 1988, contains a cocktail of Nazi, Communist and Islamist anti-Semitic tropes and conspiracy theories, including that Jews were behind the French and Russian revolutions and the two world wars, that they control the media and the UN, that they infiltrated the Freemasons, and that they funded colonialism with their wealth.
In January, Hamas official Osama Hamdan told Al-Jazeera: “You will find in this document clear words that we [sic] against the Zionists, against the occupation of our lands and we will resist the occupiers, whoever they were. And we are not against anyone regarding to this religion or to his race.”
While Hamdan sought to give the impression that Hamas is not anti-Semitic (he is not the first leader in the group to do so), Hamas’s official media is rife with anti-Semitic messages, often wrapped in Islamist rhetoric.
In a live broadcast on Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV in January, Hamas MP Marwan Abu Ras accused Jews of recruiting prostitutes into the army “in order to lure Arabs into their traps,” and claimed Jewish leaders send “AIDS-infected girls to fornicate with Muslim youths.
“My brothers, know that people, stones, and trees all hate [the Jews]. Everyone on Earth hates this filthy nation, a nation extrinsic to Mankind. This fact was elucidated by the Quran and the Sunna,” Abu Ras said.
While Hamas leaders in the past have at times expressed to English-language news outlets they would accept a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines, the group’s official spokespeople and media frequently continue to promise to liberate the entire land of historic Palestine, including the entire State of Israel.