Norske medier er fulle av sprøyt om at Hamas vil bli pragmatiske og moderate, akkurat som PLO. Merkelig at så mange i utlandet ikke deler den oppfatningen.

So how committed is Hamas to its stated positions? «It’s a revolutionary situation,» said Yossi Alpher, co-editor of bitterlemons.org, an Israeli-Palestinian journal. «This the first time that the Muslim Brotherhood or any Islamic group has been elected to run an Arab polity, and there are no real precedents. Are we looking at a hardcore movement that may make some tactical gestures but re2_kommentars totally committed to destroying Israel and transforming Palestinian society, or are they pragmatists and will change these beliefs?»

Unfortunately, he said, «I think we have to take Hamas at its words and assume that as Islamicists, they have some core beliefs that won’t change.»

The most fundamental of those beliefs, says Hisham Ahmed, a political scientist at Birzeit University in Ramallah and a student of Hamas, is that the entire land of Palestine belongs to Allah and is Muslim holy land.

The 9,000-word Hamas charter, written in 1988, is explicit about the struggle for Palestine as a religious obligation. It describes the land as a «waqf,» or endowment, saying that Hamas «believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it.»

In the charter, Hamas describes itself as «a distinct Palestinian Movement which owes its loyalty to Allah, derives from Islam its way of life and strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine.»

It calls for the elimination of Israel and Jews from Islamic holy land and portrays the Jews as evil, citing a bizarre anti-Semitic version of history going back to the Crusades. It also includes a reference to the noted czarist forgery of a plan for world domination called «The Protocols of the Elders of Zion» and condemnation of supposedly Zionist organizations like the Rotary Club and the Masons.

It describes the struggle against the Jews as a religious obligation for every Muslim, saying, «For our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide ranging and grave, so much so that it will need all the loyal efforts we can wield, to be followed by further steps and reinforced by successive battalions from the multifarious Arab and Islamic world, until the enemies are defeated and Allah’s victory prevails.»

Det finnes nyanser i Hamas’ uttalelser. Men den åpning som finnes for kontakt med Israel, gjelder praktiske forhold som strøm og kloakk, og spørsmål om innrømmelser fra okkupasjonsmakten, og man skal slett ikke være jovial og hyggelig med israelere. De praktiske sakene kan bli ordnet på lavere nivå. Kontakt på høyeste nivå, er ikke aktuelt. Anerkjennelse av Israel er utenkelig.

But no Hamas leader or candidate is on record as sanctioning a permanent recognition of Israel’s right to exist side by side with an independent Palestinian state, which has been the cornerstone assumption of peace negotiations since the Oslo accords in 1993.

As Mr. Zahar also said, «We do not recognize the Israeli enemy, nor his right to be our neighbor, nor to stay, nor his ownership of any inch of land.»

Nor is any Hamas leader on record as expressing a willingness to disarm or to stop attacks on Israel and Israelis, or to make a distinction between Israeli soldiers and civilians, especially settlers living on occupied land, however defined.

Hamas Leader Sees No Change Toward Israelis