Israel dismisses purportedly ‘friendlier’ Hamas principles

Palestinian terror group, forced to postpone document’s release, won’t succeed in bid to ‘fool the world,’ Netanyahu spokesperson says

Members of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamist terror group Hamas, attend a memorial in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah on January 31, 2017. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
Members of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamist terror group Hamas, attend a memorial in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah on January 31, 2017. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Hours before its official launch, Israel on Monday afternoon preempted Hamas’s anticipated new amendment to its charter, which seeks to put a friendlier face on the terrorist organization, saying that it still adheres to genocidal policies.

“When Hamas stops building tunnels and spends its resources on civilian infrastructure and ceases educating toward killing Israelis — that will be true change. But that hasn’t happened,” a statement issued by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said.

“Hamas is attempting to fool the world, but it will not succeed,” David Keyes, a spokesperson for Netanyahu, told The Times of Israel on Monday, with the Palestinian organization set to present its new “policy paper” in Qatar.

“Daily, Hamas leaders call for genocide of all Jews and the destruction of Israel,” Keyes said. “They dig terror tunnels and have launched thousands upon thousands of missiles at Israeli civilians. Schools and mosques run by Hamas teach children that Jews are apes and pigs. This is the real Hamas.”

Hamas called the paper a “political document” of “general principles and policies.” In it, it will reportedly drop its call to kill all Jews. Instead, the document is expected to endorse armed struggle against Israeli occupiers.

Hamas said Monday afternoon it was forced to delay the much-hyped press conference to present the document by a few hours, after the hotel slated to host the presser backed out.

“Due to special circumstances, the InterContinental Hotel management has issued an apology at the last minute for being unable to host the meeting,” a statement by the Gaza-based terror group said.

Associated Press reporter Fares Akram, the agency’s Gaza reporter, said on Twitter that the Intercontinental Hotel canceled the event for fear of US Treasury Department sanctions.

The news conference by Khaled Mashaal, the Hamas leader in exile, was originally to begin at 7 p.m. (4 p.m. GMT), but would instead take place at 8:45 p.m. at the Sheraton Hotel in Doha, Hamas said.

The conference was slated to go on for over four hours, according to Hamas.

The five-page policy document reportedly adopts seemingly more moderate language in hopes of helping the terror group break out of its international isolation. It does not, however, formally replace the terror group’s fiery 1987 founding charter, which calls for Israel’s destruction and is packed with anti-Semitic language.

According to a leaked version of the new document, Hamas “distinguishes between the Jews, as the people of the book (i.e., the Bible), and Judaism as a religion on the one hand, and between the occupation and the Zionist project, on the other, and believes that the conflict with the Zionist project is not a conflict with the Jews because of their religion.”

While Hamas will not recognize the State of Israel, it does agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, while stressing that it will preserve weapons of “resistance” in order to liberate the entire land of Palestine, including Israel.

“There is no alternative to the liberation of the entirety of Palestine, from the river to the sea, no matter how long the occupation persists,” the leaked document continues, leaving no doubt as to the fact that the ultimate goal of the group, which has always sought Israel’s destruction, hasn’t changed.

Avi Issacharoff and agencies contributed to this report.

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