The Forward’s interview with Mousa Abu Marzook raises important questions about who currently speaks for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, while confirming the organization is in no position to be recognized as a legitimate Palestinian interlocutor.
Abu Marzook’s statements are further evidence that Hamas lacks a cohesive voice. While some point to apparent statements of moderation by certain leaders, Hamas’s basic tenets of rejecting the Jewish state, embracing armed conflict, and perpetuating anti-Semitic conspiracy theories remain constant.
Abu Marzook emphatically and proudly asserts that Hamas will “never recognize Israel as a state.” He unabashedly defends Hamas’s acts of violence against Israel and the organization’s policy of targeting innocent civilians. His outrageous equation of Israeli army operations against terrorist elements that result in unintentional and regrettable civilian losses with Hamas’s deliberate targeting of Israeli civilians is a clear demonstration of the lack of morality that pervades the group’s leadership.
One can only assume that Abu Marzook’s endorsement of a hudna, or ceasefire, with Israel is intended to cloak Hamas’s extremist practices in a false façade of verbal moderation.
Until a clear leadership structure arises within Hamas — one that renounces the organization’s violent and anti-Jewish charter, accepts Israel’s legitimacy and abides by the Middle East Quartet’s principles for negotiating with Israel — the international community must continue to shun Hamas and publicly reject its terrorist interests. More than anything else, the Abu Marzook interview confirms that Hamas is far from interested in moving in that direction, preferring instead to pursue violence and rejection over peace.
Abraham Foxman is the national director of the Anti-Defamation League.