Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Hamas and Its "Yes-No" Discourse - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

In the best interests and the rights of Palestinians, one can say that the language used by Hamas since its success in the elections until today has not been a reassuring one, specifically the content of Hamas statements. The members of this movement vary in their discourse and the leaders follow contradictory methods. Furthermore, it is evident that turbulence fills the air around Hamas.

The leaders of the movement need to differentiate between the speeches that are addressed to members of Hamas that are somewhat flexible and can be understood in various ways and those aimed at the international community. Speeches of the latter sort should be meticulous, as the international community would not accept a discourse that carries more than one implication.

Some Hamas leaders have referred to the aid that Arab countries shall present to cover the losses of the Palestinian Authority as a result of Israel’s decision to freeze Palestinian assets. From Tehran, a Hamas member declared that Iran has pledged that it will fund the Palestinian Authority. Does Hamas really want to create a Palestinian Authority funded by Iran? If so, what will be the political connotations of such a move? What will the consequent negative impact be and will this reflect in Arab countries before it does so in Western countries?

In the matter of three days, we have observed three different stances concerning the existence of Israel. The first of these positions is expressed through a Hamas statement that the movement will recognize the state of Israel as long as it withdraws from the occupied Palestinian territories and from Eastern Jerusalem. Another statement claimed that Hamas would never recognize the state of Israel and a third stated that Hamas would “consider” a lengthy truce with Israel if it withdraws from all occupied Palestinian territories including Jerusalem.

These contradictory statements can be understood in the Arab culture in which people adopt opposing ideas and use a flexible discourse that could be interpreted in a number of ways. Hamas, however, is heading the Palestinian government, thus the language that it uses must be accurate and clear especially concerning international resolutions that are issued by the United Nations and concerning their stance on past Palestinian treaties. These questions must be answered and made known to all Arab and Western parties.

The “Yes-No” tone within the Palestinian milieu is mainly used because of Hamas’ fluctuation between yes and no. This stance represents the absence of a clear direction and an obscurity that overwhelms the movement. If Hamas continues to use this discourse, the Palestinian arena will experience a negative impact at a time in which Palestinians have already paid a costly price.