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Study Sharia Law To Understand Hamas

From (the formerly respected) Foreign Policy:

Why Sharia Law Might Be Israel’s Path to Peace

Israel and the United States should learn the Islamic laws Hamas obeys to find solutions for a peaceful coexistence.


In January, 2006, Hamas — an Islamist party with a military wing that is branded as a terrorist group by much of the West — won one of the freest and fairest elections ever conducted in the Middle East. In doing so, Hamas became the legally and duly chosen representative of the Palestinian people, an inescapable player in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and also, necessarily, a factor in any peace process.

Despite apocalyptic and unequivocally anti-Semitic statements contained in its 1988 Charter, the organization has indicated an increasingly clear willingness to coexist with Israel for the foreseeable future, acknowledging it as an established fact in the region. This week, for instance, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal reportedly told a Russian diplomat he would not "stand in the way" of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, with the condition that it be approved in a Palestinian referendum.

Despite similar previous pronouncements, the United States and Israel have avoided formulating a realistic policy towards Hamas, based primarily on three non-negotiable demands: that Hamas recognize Israel, renounce violence, and accept previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Hamas has expressed willingness to enter into truces and to recognize or respect previous understandings. But it has unequivocally rejected the first demand. The United States has insisted that it will not deal with Hamas until all three are fully accepted.

Last month, the U.S. Institute of Peace published a special report we wrote, which sought to present perspectives on Hamas that are absent from current policy discussions. We are an unlikely pair: one an American Jew who lived in Israel for years and supports it as a Jewish state; the other a Palestinian Muslim whose father was expelled from his home at Israel’s creation and who believes the state should not have been established. Our views on many issues are often at odds. Yet we pooled our knowledge and perspectives to try to inject some reality into what has often been a discussion defined by dogmatism.

We argue that engagement with Hamas is essential, and possible. To understand how, it is necessary to take into account that many of Hamas’s statements and actions are governed and limited by its understanding of Islamic religious law (sharia), a comprehensive code relevant to all aspects of life for believing Muslims, very much including politics. We maintain that Hamas cannot be understood without understanding the sharia background of many of its policies.

By its reading of sharia (a reading it shares with the Muslim mainstream), Israel’s establishment is illegitimate and unjust, and its recognition by Muslims is forbidden. Thus far, the Muslim states that have recognized Israel, including Egypt, Jordan and Turkey, have made a political decision to do so, one not grounded in Islamic law. Similarly, the Arab Peace Initiative — which offered full recognition of Israel by all 19 remaining Arab states in return for Israel’s withdrawal to the 1967 boundaries and an "agreed-upon" settlement of the Palestinian refugees — is a political, not sharia-justified, compromise.

Hamas maintains that accepting Israel’s legitimacy necessarily renounces the Palestinian narrative, which defines Palestine as Arab and Muslim, in contrast to the Jewish narrative, which defines the Land of Israel as Jewish by God’s promise, by legal right, and by history. Can these two worldviews be reconciled? Absolutely not. Can Hamas and Israel co­exist peacefully? We believe they can. Reconciliation is much harder than coexistence.

Hamas has repeatedly offered to end its violent resistance against Israel by means of various sharia-based mechanisms, such as a hudna (time-limited truce) or a tahadiyya (cease-fire). It has also advocated the principle of "Palestinian legitimacy," whereby it would accept as binding the decision of the Palestinian people to accept peace with Israel — even if Hamas, as a Muslim religious organization, could not reconcile that outcome with sharia and preserve its Muslim beliefs.

To many, this may seem pointless and arcane double-talk. However, within Hamas’s frame of reference, these categories are crucial. Taking them into account may be the key to ending the current deadly stalemate.

We do not advocate that either Israel or the United States plunge into negotiations with Hamas based on these principles. Instead, careful and skillful diplomacy, using intermediaries, can test whether Hamas is indeed willing to abide by the necessary agreements. These agreements could eventually result in American and Israeli acceptance of a coalition government, including Hamas, that could negotiate a real peace with Israel.  And even in a seemingly real peace, both sides would take a long time before they let down their guard.

We do not claim to be prescribing a series of steps that will assure peace. However, we are urging policymakers to realize that Hamas has signaled repeatedly it is ready for coexistence, and that taking into account Hamas’s view of sharia is critical to understanding what the organization will and won’t do, and why. Until that happens, we believe the current stalemate is likely to continue.

Granted, this screed is listed under “Argument” at the Foreign Policy website.

Still, once upon a time Foreign Policy was considered a respectable magazine. At the moment it is owned by the Washington Post.

Who of us ever thought that we would ever see Sharia Law and the wonderfulness of the terrorist organization Hamas extolled in such an important magazine in the United States?

To many, this may seem pointless and arcane double-talk.

We find ourselves among the many.

(Thanks to Melissa for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

8 Responses to “Study Sharia Law To Understand Hamas”

  1. Liberals Demise says:

    “Hamas has repeatedly offered to end its violent resistance against Israel by means of various Sharia based mechanisms, such as time-limited truce or cease fire.”

    The Sharia based mechanisms everyone here remembers are the teens and women wearing C-4 vests and blowing themselves up in the name of their sick and demonized religion.

  2. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Uh…..to quote the US Forces in the Battle Of the Bulge when asked by the Nazis to surrender.


  3. beautyofreason says:

    “Hamas…won one of the freest and fairest elections ever conducted in the Middle East. ”

    Make Hamas sound legitimate. Make Shariah sound legitimate. Make Israel out to be the misunderstanding side. We all just need to respect Islamic traditions, then the world will be peaceful. Even though the Muslim religion (paraphrasing him) demands for Israel to be destroyed.

    The liberal duplicity is out again. I can’t guess whether the left has values or not. It doesn’t make sense to pander to Islamic terrorists while upholding separation of religion from state. It goes beyond unbiased appraisal. I suspect the liberal position is determined by the answer one question: does this position compromise the security / culture of the United States and other Western countries? If you pose that question for every political issue, you can probably guess which side the liberal will occupy. It sounds stupid, but it works. I’m not sure if it is a conscious effort on their part. I don’t want to believe liberals hate our country. But I suppose “change” means to destroy on some level.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      What puzzles me the most is that the liberals continue to espouse the positives while simultaneously ignoring the negatives which, to me, trump any positives at all.

  4. neocon mom says:

    “an Islamist party with a military wing that is branded as a terrorist group by much of the West — won one of the freest and fairest elections ever conducted in the Middle East.”

    Let’s see, I understand that Palestinians elected Mariam Farahat to Parliament. According to ABC:

    “In Gaza, Farahat is known as Um Nidal, or Mother of the Struggle — a mother who sent three of her six sons on Hamas suicide missions against Israeli targets.

    She is most famous for her presence in a Hamas video, showing her 17-year-old how to attack Israelis and telling him not to return. Shortly afterward, he killed five students in a Jewish settlement before he was killed himself. ”

    I understand that Sharia law means that apostates are put to death, adulterers are put to death, homosexuals are put to death. I’m sorry if I’ve left anyone out.

    I also understand that Islam forbids the execution of female virgins, so the authorities will see to it that some male official is assigned to “fix” this before the convict is put to death.

    So tolerance for intolerable behavior is the road to “coexistence”, that lofty ideal proclaimed on the ubiquitous new age progressive bumper sticker.

    So we must shield the Palestinians from the consequences of who they elected. I suppose we should have done the same with Germany’s Hitler?

  5. MinnesotaRush says:

    So has o-blah-blah announced his endorsement of this looney article yet?

  6. canary says:

    Sharia Law in the US. 2009 Arab Festival in Dearborn Michigan.
    Inspite of a religious festival blocking public streets when no Christian organization would ever be allowed this in the U.S. where outside public events in the U.S. are free to be filmed and photographed, check out the violence the main stream media is hiding, just as the riots last spring were not covered.
    After being physically assualted a dozen times by self appointed Sharia security, at the end, you will see them finally make their way to a Dearborn swat team police truck, who further fail to protect them. Other filmed segments I saw by them, were in a tent, shows King of Cell phone booth, the show the pamplet opened to a “semi-automatic w/clip gun for sale” ad.


    UK’s Sharia law in Manchester UK. Lashes til they collapse, a squirt water from a green bottle to clean the blood off, and you your turn is over.


    Sheffield UK smack in front of a PO a less violent beating themselves, because the po po’s in yellow are seen occasionally and a flashing po po van, but what’s scary at the end is the Wasabisabie’s start passing out their own yellow guard vests. So now we have muslims in the U.S. and UK making themselves security guards over the public streets.


    The Shai Islamic Center approx 6 minutes brings out the mohmand “white horse dyed red” the end shows healed scars, as this is a ritual, and saw another clip inside the center where their chests are just bruised and backs scarred. Po Po’s help when they take the horse out of the moving van. PETA will protect the horse in U.S. but…

    • Liberals Demise says:

      This is a fine example of why the Second Amendment will be the curtain call on this so called religion of peace. The event in Michigan made my blood boil to the point where I was yelling at my puter.
      THIS happened in America ….. our nation of freedoms!
      This is bad …….. this is very, very bad!!

      They have declared war on us!

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