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Pro-Palestinian junta

"Pro-Palestinian junta" Continued...

Issue: "Save the unions," Oct. 24, 2009

Toameh, who has been covering Palestinian affairs for 27 years, says these assumptions are a stretch: "I've been covering Hamas since day one. When they were established, I was there at the press conference. I never knew they had changed or become more moderate and pragmatic until I read a newspaper in Canada that said Hamas had changed. I brought this newspaper to the West Bank and showed it to some Hamas people and they didn't even know they had changed."

Toameh credits Hamas with being honest and sincere about its mission and message. Article 11 of the Hamas charter states that "the land of Palestine is an Islamic trust consecrated for Muslim generations until the Day of Resurrection, and should not be compromised entirely or partially." Article 13 states that there is "no solution to the Palestinian cause save jihad; for initiatives, proposals and international conferences are nothing but a waste of time and absurd nonsense."

The United States Institute of Peace claims to have found a gray area in that Hamas officials are now calling for a "phased liberation" of Palestine. This new "gray area," however, comes with the usual black and white disclaimer: They will not recognize "the Israeli enemy or its existence" in the process.

Palestinian general elections are currently scheduled for January 2010, although Hamas officials hope to delay the vote, saying Palestinians aren't ready. A recent poll showed that Hamas would lose the election with only 18.8 percent of the vote compared to Fatah's 38.5 percent if elections were held today. Only 17.8 percent of Palestinians trust Fatah leader and President Mahmoud Abbas, but fewer (14.8 percent) trust Hamas leader Ismail Haniyah.

If these numbers reflect the true feelings of Palestinians, Hamas may feel more at home in the Middle Eastern studies departments of U.S. universities than among its constituents, according to Toameh: "We should not be surprised if the next generation of jihadists comes not from the Gaza Strip or the mountains and mosques of Pakistan and Afghanistan, but from university campuses across the United States."

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