To hear some Palestinian advocates, if Israel simply lifted its blockade on Gaza – aimed at curbing weapons smuggling into the Hamas-controlled territory – then peace could be enjoyed by all.
One of the main Hamas spokesman made it clear in an Aug. 17 speech that those advocates are misguided.
“The time has come for us to say that our true war is not aimed at opening the border crossings. Out true war is aimed at the liberation of Jerusalem, Allah willing,” Sami Abu Zuhri said in a speech aired on Hamas’ Al Aqsa television. It was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) in a video report.
Abu Zuhri also invoked the infamous anti-Semitic rallying cry radical Islamists often chant when calling for the elimination of Israel.
“Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jews, the army of Muhammad has begun its return.”
The slogan represents an early Islamic conquest of Khaybar, a predominately Jewish city in modern Saudi Arabia. In the year 629, Muslim armies besieged the city, slaughtering most of its occupants and eventually expelled the remaining Jewish inhabitants.
“The resistance is preparing not for the opening of a border crossing here or there, but rather for the liberation of our Palestinian land. This is the truth that Netanyahu should understand,” Abu Zuhri said.
Hamas apologists argue that the group’s charter, and its call for Israel’s destruction, no longer is valid. Hamas, they believe, deserves a seat at the negotiating table. But Abu Zuhri’s speech, the latest in a long line of consistent rhetoric, exposes the hollow nature of trying to cast Hamas as holding any interest in peaceful coexistence.