Hamas Ideology Complicates Peace Efforts

[New York Times] Steven Erlanger - In the Katib Wilayat mosque in Gaza one recent Friday, Imam Yousif al-Zahar of Hamas told the faithful: "Jews are a people who cannot be trusted." At Al Omari mosque, the imam cursed the Jews and the "Crusaders," or Christians, and the Danes, for reprinting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. He referred to Jews as "the brothers of apes and pigs," while the Hamas television station, Al Aksa, praises suicide bombing and holy war. Such incitement against Israel and Jews was supposed to be banned under the 1993 Oslo accords and the 2003 Roadmap peace plan. Hamas, no party to those agreements, feels no such restraint. Since Hamas took over Gaza last June, Hamas sermons and media reports preaching violence and hatred have become more pervasive, extreme and sophisticated, on the model of Hizbullah and its television station Al Manar, in Lebanon. No matter what Israeli and Palestinian negotiators agree upon, there is concern that the attitudes being instilled will make a sustainable peace extremely difficult.

2008-04-01 01:00:00

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