Hamas: We are Not Terrorists; We Just Want to Destroy Israel

cmimg_32400by Khaled Abu Toameh:

Hamas wants be dropped from the U.S. State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations not because it has changed, but because it feels that the world has changed, and that many naïve Westerners are now willing to tolerate its radical ideology and terrorism.

Hamas leaders are working hard these days to have their movement removed from the U.S. State Department list for Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

The Hamas leaders are hoping to persuade a number of European Union countries to support their bid.

Hamas wants to be removed from the list without changing its strategy or charter, which call for jihad [holy war] and which do not recognize Israel’s right to exist.

Hamas is also not prepared to dismantle its armed group, Izaddin al-Kassam, as part of its effort to persuade the US and EU to drop it from the list of terrorist groups.

Nor is Hamas prepared to stop smuggling weapons or give up thousands of rockets and mortars that it possesses in various parts of the Gaza Strip.

And of course Hamas is not prepared to renounce violence in the context of its effort to seek legitimacy in the international community.

The Hamas initiative comes at a time when senior officials of the movement, including Khaled Mashaal, continue to talk about their dream of replacing Israel with an Islamic state. In addition, they are continuing to call on Palestinians to abide by the “armed resistance” as the only option for achieving their goal.

Ironically, the Hamas request to be removed from the list of terrorist groups coincides with reports about the Islamist movement’s involvement in terror activities in neighboring Egypt.

According to these reports, Hamas was behind the August 2012 killing of 16 Egyptian border guards in Sinai. Hamas has also dispatched thousands of its men to Cairo to protect Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi against his political opponents, the reports revealed.

Although Hamas has denied the reports, there are increased signs that the movement is cooperating with other Islamic fundamentalist groups in Sinai to turn the peninsula into a base for jihadists from different parts of the world. Some of these jihadists are believed to be linked to groups that are affiliated with Al-Qaeda.

Hamas claims that it has won the secret backing of a number of EU governments — a claim denied by the EU.

The Hamas demand was first raised by the movement’s prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, during a meeting with European supporters in the Gaza Strip last month.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

‘EU to mull listing Hezbollah as terror group’

Photo: REUTERS

By Benjamin Weinthal

BERLIN – A discussion is under way within the EU about possibly listing  Hezbollah as a terrorist group, Austria’s Foreign Ministry informed The  Jerusalem Post on Saturday.

Austria appears to be the first EU country to  acknowledge that that the 27- member body has begun a process to designate the  Lebanese Shi’ite group as a terrorist organization.

He noted that  Hezbollah is not only represented in Lebanon’s parliament but is part of its  government, with two ministers in the cabinet.

“A listing of the  Hezbollah could, therefore, have immediate effects on the security of the  country and the stability of the government,” Schallenberg continued.

He  noted that Lebanon President Michel Suleiman seeks to create a “national  dialogue” in his country, with the goal of, for example, integrating Hezbollah’s  fighters and weapons into the state’s security forces. Schallenberg said that  the EU has up until now clearly supported Suleiman’s efforts.

He stressed  that it is important that the EU find a “joint position, especially in light of  the situation in Syria.”

News organizations reported that Hezbollah’s  militias joined forces with Syria’s regime to suppress the Syrian  rebellion.

The division among EU countries revolves around whether to  designate the entire Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, or just parts of  it.

Michel Malherbe, a spokesman for the Belgium Foreign Ministry, told  the Post on Thursday: “We believe that it could make sense, instead of qualifying Hezbollah  as a whole, to isolate armed subgroups, or individuals. This method has proven  its merits, and deserves a try.”

Critics of this approach (treating armed  wings separately from political branches) point to a statement from Hezbollah’s  No. 2 leader, Naim Qassem, who said in 2009: “Hezbollah has a single  leadership,” and “All political, social and jihad work is tied to the decisions  of this leadership.”

Qassem added, “The same leadership that directs the  parliamentary and government work also leads jihad actions in the struggle  against Israel.”

The United Kingdom classifies Hezbollah’s military wing  as a terrorist organization, but recognizes its political wing as a legitimate  political party. The Netherlands designated Hezbollah as whole to be a terrorist  group. Both Dutch and British foreign ministers have urged their EU counterparts  to place Hezbollah on the EU terror list.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

U.S. Terror Designations Renew Challenge to Pakistan

IPT news:

Eight leaders of the Pakistani terrorist group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba were designated as terrorists Friday by the U.S. Treasury Department.

Meanwhile, reports indicate the State Department is close to issuing a similar designation of the Haqqani Network, which also operates from Pakistan and is responsible for some of the most significant attacks against American and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

A congressional deadline for the administration to act against the Haqqani Network, or explain why it won’t, is just over a week away. Pakistan has refused repeated American requests to root the terrorist group out of a lawless region close to the Afghanistan border. A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan last week killed the group’s operations commander Badruddin Haqqani.

The eight Lashkar officials targeted by Treasury Friday work in the group’s “propaganda campaigns, financial networks, and logistic support networks,” a Treasury statement said. That includes “commanders planning attacks to those managing LET’s relationships with other terrorist groups,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen.

Lashkar-e-Tayyiba is considered responsible for the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people, including six Americans. Treasury describes one of the men designated, Sajjid Mir, as the attack’s project manager, ordering terrorists to execute hostages taken during the multi-day operation.

Investigations into the attacks showed that officials in Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence agency assisted the plotters.

ProPublica‘s Sebastian Rotella reports that the designation “sends a pointed, if largely symbolic, message to a Pakistani government that remains unable or unwilling to crack down on the extremist organization.”

A designation of the Haqqani Network would be an ever greater challenge to Islamabad, which only recently reopened key supply routes for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.