Why Israel Can Trust Hamas
Hamas can be trusted to never waver from its 1988 Covenant that promises Israel's obliteration by Islam.
When President Joe Biden says, "let there be no doubt: The United States has Israel's back," Israel should be skeptical. But when Hamas leaders promise to wage unending war until they annihilate all the Jews or die trying, Israel can trust that they mean it. Ironically, Jerusalem can trust its enemies more than its allies to keep their promises.
After the massacre on October 7, Biden at first reacted appropriately in remarks on October 10, calling it "an act of sheer evil" and Hamas "a group whose stated purpose for being is to kill Jews." He said, "We stand with Israel," promised "military assistance," and acknowledged that "if the United States experienced what Israel is experiencing, our response would be swift, decisive, and overwhelming." Time (prematurely) called Biden "America's most pro-Israel president ever."
It didn't take long for the State Department to revolt over Biden's defense of Israel's defending itself. Then, over 400 government employees (most of them Democrats) wrote a letter condemning Israel. It was only a matter of time before Biden would accede to the AOC-wing of his party and the entrenched anti-Israel bureaucracy at the State Department.
On October 25, Biden rightly expressed skepticism over the uncritically-repeated death count reported by the Hamas health ministry, declaring "I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many have been killed." But the very next day, he apologized to a group of Muslim leaders at the White House for doing so, promising he would "do better" and adding, "I'm disappointed in myself."
Soon, Biden's Secretary of Defense, Loyd Austin (who demonstrated his expertise in the disastrous U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan), was dispatched to Israel to advise the IDF how to wind down combat operations in Gaza. So much for standing with Israel.
Soon, Biden's Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, began publicly warning Israel to protect civilians and blindly advocating a "two-state solution," as though Hamas hadn't just shown the world what a Palestinian state looks like. So much for having Israel's back.
Hamas, on the other hand, has never wavered from its 1988 Charter (or "Covenant" as it is sometimes called) which proclaims that "there is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad" and declares that "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it."
Eighteen years later, on January 25, 2006, one of the co-founders of Hamas named Mahmoud al-Zahar promised, after voting in the last election ever in Gaza, that Hamas "is not going to change a single word in its covenant."
After Hamas won that election, Khaled Mashaal, another Hamas leader, promised that "Hamas has a vision. Hamas has a plan. Hamas can manage the political battle, just like it managed the military battle, but in a different language, with different tools, and recognizing Israel is not one of them. Nor is giving up the rights, giving up the right to resistance, and nor is giving up the weapons of the resistance."
In 2007, Hamas issued a statement assuring the world that, "We will not betray promises we made to God to continue the path of Jihad and resistance until the liberation of Palestine, all of Palestine."
On June 15, 2010, Mahmoud al-Zahar reiterated his promise that "[t]his is our plan for this stage – to liberate the West Bank and Gaza, without recognizing Israel's right to a single inch of land... We will not recognize the Israeli enemy."
Hamas has kept this promise.
Since the October 7 massacre, Hamas has continued making promises.
On October 24, Gazi Hamad, a Hamas terrorist posing as a politician, told LBC TV in Lebanon that, "We will repeat October 7 attacks until Israel is annihilated." He added that the October 7 attack "is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth, because we have the determination, the resolve, and the capabilities to fight."
A Hamas "media consultant" named Taher El-Nounou told the New York Times for an article published on November 8 that, "the state of war with Israel will become permanent."
On December 14, one of the Hamas billionaires, Mousa Abu Marzook, posted on X that "Hamas does not recognize the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation ... We confirm that the resistance will continue to liberation and return."
Israel can have faith that Hamas intends to keep these promises too.
When it comes to its ally, the U.S., there is perhaps only one thing that Israel can have faith in – that the Biden administration will continue to press Jerusalem into a "two-state solution," even if it means accepting a Gaza in which Hamas retains power. As a State Department spokesman put it, "Ultimately, the future of Palestinian leadership is a question for the Palestinian people." The problem is that the Palestinian people overwhelmingly (89%) support Hamas.
In Elie Wiesel's autobiography of his years spent in Nazi death camps, Night (1958), he recounts how an old man dying of dysentery in Auschwitz once told him, "I have more faith in Hitler than in anyone else. He alone has kept his promises, all his promises, to the Jewish people."
Israel can trust that Hamas, like Hitler, intends to keep its promises, all its promises, to the Jewish people.
IPT Senior Fellow A.J. Caschetta is a principal lecturer at the Rochester Institute of Technology and a fellow at Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum where he is also a Ginsberg-Milstein fellow.