The participation of Hamas in the PA elections would be nothing more than a bid by this group of Islamist extremists to seize power from moderate Palestinians who are interested in coexistence with Israel.

 Behind the headlines: The Hamas Democracy Hypocrisy

 

Sasson Nuriel is shown before his murder in a photo released by Hamas. (Reuters)

Israeli security officials announced Monday (September 26) that Jerusalem businessman Sasson Nuriel was kidnapped and slain by a Hamas terrorist cell last week. His bound body was found in Beitunya, near Ramallah. Nuriel, 55, was the owner of a candy factory in the Mishor Adumim industrial zone near the capital.

Hamas claimed responsibility for his abduction and murder in a video it broadcast worldwide on Tuesday. This terrorist organization is responsible for the kidnap-slayings of nine other Israelis since 1989 and is thought to be resuming them for use as a bargaining tactic against Israel.

Nuriel’s gruesome slaying comes against Hamas’s declaration on Sunday that it would halt its Kassam rocket and mortar attacks on southern Israel from the Gaza Strip, apparently in a bid to win inclusion in the upcoming Palestinian Authority elections. This declaration (since violated by rocket fire on Tuesday) should be seen as it is – a ploy to gain political power while continuing to pursue terrorist violence.

Hamas must be made to decide whether it is a political party or a terrorist organization. It cannot be both.

There is no difference, except in name, between the "military" and "political" wings of Hamas – they are run by the same people and operate under the same ideology. Hamas does not recognize Israel’s right to exist, and has done everything in its power to undermine the peace process. Its founding charter calls for the death of Jews, and vows to confront Israel through armed struggle until it is utterly destroyed.

The participation of Hamas in the PA elections would be nothing more than a bid by this group of Islamist extremists to seize power from moderate Palestinians who are interested in coexistence with Israel. It would be an abuse of democracy, in order to promote terrorism and violence as political tools.

No international legitimacy can be granted to Hamas as long as it refuses to accept the basic criteria necessary to be considered a legitimate political player – first and foremost the renunciation of terrorism, the acceptance of the principle of a negotiated solution, and the recognition of Israel’s right to exist. Without these, Hamas constitutes a dangerous Trojan horse in the Palestinian democratic process, gravely jeopardizing the aspirations of both Israelis and moderate Palestinians for the peace and security which these two peoples deserve.