The Palestinian Authority has long been criticized–and justifiably so–for claiming to favor co-existence with Israel while promulgating school textbooks that define all of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean as belonging to the Palestinians and reading out the Jews from the history of the region altogether. But it seems that the PA textbooks aren’t radical enough for Hamas.
As Seth noted, the New York Times today reports that Hamas has just issued for use in the Gaza Strip new texts that claim that the Western Wall is exclusively Muslim property, that Haifa, Beersheba, and Acre—all within Israel’s 1948 boundaries—are Palestinian cities, and that deny any historical claim by the Jews on the land of Palestine because the ancient “sons of Israel are a nation which had been annihilated.” Naturally, the Hamas texts also elevate its own leaders, such as Ahmed Yassin, to status equivalent with Yasser Arafat, the hero of the competing Fatah.
None of this should be terribly surprising to anyone who is the least bit familiar with Hamas or, for that matter, with its Fatah rivals. The only surprise is that, while a genocidal group of anti-Israel terrorists is in control of a significant portion of Palestinian territory, Secretary of State John Kerry has nevertheless elevated Israeli-Palestinian peace talks to the top of his agenda. It is a mystery which perhaps only Kerry can answer: What in the current configuration of power makes him optimistic that a breakthrough could be achieved now? Why on earth does he imagine he will succeed where all of his predecessors have failed? Given the fact that Hamas isn’t even part of the dialogue with Israel, and nor should it be, this looks like little more than wishful thinking.