Hamas: An Opening and a Double Standard

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In a revealing interview with the New York Times that stretched over five hours, the Hamas leader, Khaled Meshal, offered to be “part of the solution” in the quest for peace in the Middle East, and granted the surprising concession that his movement was only seeking a state in the areas Israel won in 1967. Significantly,

. . . he urged outsiders to ignore the Hamas charter, which calls for the obliteration of Israel through jihad and cites as fact the infamous anti-Semitic forgery, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” Mr. Meshal did not offer to revoke the charter, but said it was 20 years old, adding, “We are shaped by our experiences.”

What does this mean? If Hamas tells its base—including the young people who typically take up arms—one thing, and then offers a different story to the outside world, how is this acceptable? And, in a world where the Internet should make it possible for everyone to have access to the same set of facts, how can this duality be perpetuated? It is the job of the news media—all of it, Israeli, Arab, and foreign—to present the audience with a standard set of verifiable positions.

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