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Hamas Document of Principles and General Policies (2017)

Hamas  |
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal released the terror organization’s new “Document of General Principles & Policies” at a press conference on May 1, 2017 in Doha, Qatar.

Hamas leaders have emphasized that the new policy document does not replace Hamas’ original charter, but constitutes “development” and “renewal,” which reflect Hamas’ actual policies.

The following are some of the main points of the document. This analysis is based on Hamas' own English translation:

• Hamas’ affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood has been omitted, but the document is still Islamic religious in nature. It mentions Allah several times and although there is no reference in the document to “the Land of Palestine” as an Islamic Waqf (i.e., an inalienable religious endowment in Islamic law), as in the Hamas’ charter, the new document opens by stating that “Palestine is a land whose status has been elevated by Islam…” It goes on to say that Hamas’ “frame of reference is Islam, which determines its principles, objectives and means,” and that “Palestine is an Arab Islamic land… a blessed sacred land…” The document further dedicates two whole paragraphs in praise of Islam, stating among other things that “Hamas believes that the message of Islam upholds the values of truth, justice, freedom and dignity…”

• Hamas still does not recognize Israel’s right to exist and describes “Palestine” as reaching “from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea,” while “the establishment of ‘Israel’ is entirely illegal.” The document emphasizes that "there is no compromise on any part of Palestine under any conditions,” and that “no part of the land of Palestine shall be compromised or conceded.”

• The document mentions a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders only as “a national, agreed-upon, and joint formula” and emphasizes that “Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine.”

• Therefore, fighting Israel remains the goal and “resistance” and “Jihad” “with all means and methods” are presented as legitimate and authorized by “divine laws” and the international community. Hamas stresses that “armed resistance” is the central component of the “resistance”:

“(25.) Resisting the occupation with all means and methods is a legitimate right guaranteed by divine laws and by international norms and laws. At the heart of these lies armed resistance, which is regarded as the strategic choice for protecting the principles and the rights of the Palestinian people.”

• Hamas declares it is against Zionism, not Judaism:
“Hamas affirms that its conflict is with the Zionist project not with the Jews because of their religion. Hamas does not wage a struggle against the Jews because they are Jewish but wages a struggle against the Zionists who occupy Palestine.”
“The Zionist project” is presented as “the enemy” of the entire Arab and Islamic nation, and “poses a danger to international security and peace and to mankind and its interests and stability.”

• The document mentions “Palestine” as “the Holy Land, which Allah has blessed for humanity,” and mentions Jerusalem’s significance for Muslims and Christians but does not refer to any Jewish historical or religious ties to it. Hamas reiterates the Palestinian claim that the holy places “belong exclusively” to the Palestinian people and to the Arab and Islamic nation.

• Hamas rejects the validity of the Oslo Accords.

• “The right of return” for all refugees is presented as a must and Hamas dismisses the possibility of compensation as an alternative, rather compensation should be paid in addition. The movement claims that the right of return is “confirmed by all divine laws as well as by the basic principles of human rights and international law.”

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