Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Just to be clear...

At a rally celebrating the 23rd anniversary of the founding of Hamas, Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh made the following statement. "We will never recognize Israel."

Some will likely view this as hyperbole, reflecting the frustration of the Palestinians in Gaza and their "aspirations" for a Palestinian homeland. I suspect many in the media will focus instead on Haniyeh's desire to end Israeli "occupation" of the Palestinian homeland. "We say today that there will be no occupation of the land of Palestine and then we can say there is no future for the occupation on our land."

But most will miss the exact nature of the "homeland" envisioned by Haniyeh. Exactly which part of "Palestine" does he believe Israel is occupying? Sadly, he's not referring to the West Bank or other Palestinian areas currently under dispute. Instead, he is referring to the entire country of Israel itself!

Most in the West don't understand that Haniyeh and Hamas are absolutely serious when they demand the elimination of the entire state of Israel. In part, this is because the secular West doesn't understand the deeply-held religious principles guiding Hamas. And in part it's because those in the West don't know geography. In his speech Haniyeh stated very clearly the extent of the land he considers occupied...and that needs to be part of the future Palestinian state. "I mean from the sea to the river and from Rafah up to Naqoora."

I've included a map to help the geographically impaired understand his statement. The "sea" is the Mediterranean, and the "river" is the Jordan. "Rafah" is on the southern border between Gaza and Egypt, and Naqoora (or Naqoura) is in Lebanon, just across the northern border of Israel. The Palestinian State he envisions would replace the state of Israel. From west to east, and south to north, Haniyeh is demanding all for the Palestinians...and leaving nothing for the Israelis.

There is no room for compromise in that position!

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