Legitimizing Israel's Destruction
What do a Norwegian government employee, a director of a "co-existence" program and several academics from the University of Exeter have in common? They are all happily colluding with a front group of the Palestinian terrorist organization, Hamas.
On September 7, the Palestine Return Centre (PRC) will be hosting an "International Conference on the Oslo Accords," which it has planned with the support of the Exeter Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, part of the University of Exeter.
Intelligence agencies regard the PRC as one of the leading lobby groups in Britain for Hamas, and claim that three of the PRC's trustees are "Hamas activists who found refuge in Britain" during the 1990s. Hamas leaders also regularly address the PRC's conferences.
The London-based Palestine Return Centre (PRC), it turns out, was originally established on the basis of opposition to the Oslo peace process. The conference is therefore unlikely to reach any positive conclusions about the Oslo Accords, or to recommend its revival.
Speakers at the PRC conference include:
In 2010, the Israeli government banned the Palestinian Return Centre, and declared that the PRC "functions as Hamas's organizational branch in Europe and its members are senior Hamas leaders who promote the movement's agenda in Europe, and directly interact with various Hamas leaders, particularly from Damascus."
Hamas is openly dedicated to the destruction of Jews worldwide and straightforwardly repudiates a peaceful settlement of the dispute with Israel -- as made clear from its charter. Article 7, for instance, states:
Why, then, would a Hamas front-group organize an academic conference to discuss the Oslo accords?
The reason, according to the noted Middle East analyst Itamar Marcus, is tactical. Over the past year, as Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh notes, Hamas has lobbied to be removed from U.S. and European Union terror lists. The refusal of some policy makers, such as the UN's Counter-Terrorism official Jean-Paul Laborde, and journalists, such as Glenn Greenwald, to condemn Hamas as a violent terror group is a corollary of Hamas's tactic to -- as Marcus terms it -- "Talk Peace in English, deny it Arabic."
An example, notes Marcus, is Hamas Prime Minister-designate Ismail Haniyeh, who "told CBS on March 16 that he hoped to some day sign a peace agreement with Israel." Later, according to Marcus, "a Hamas MP, speaking in Arabic to a PA newspaper, immediately denied these statements as lies, and part of a conspiracy of the US media to damage the true image of the Hamas."
This stratagem, while hardly sophisticated, has nevertheless served to sanitize Hamas and so legitimize it as a significant political voice in the West, while allowing it to retain its reputation as a violent "resistance" organization in the East.
Hamas also pursues a similar approach within European politics. Its affiliates and supporters include charities and interfaith community organizations. The PRC's academic conference in September, then, is most likely designed to legitimize opposition to any form of peace agreement with Israel as a reasonable approach.
Moreover, by working with academics and the University of Exeter, the PRC affords further legitimacy to the approval of Hamas by the West. Speakers include Rosemary Hollis is a professor of Middle East Policy Studies and director of the Olive Tree Programme, an academic "co-existence" course for Israeli and Palestinian students at City University in London; and Petter Bauck, a senior advisor at the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, a directorate of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). Bauck is due to address the conference on "Oslo's fatal flaws."
Given Hamas's dedication to exterminating Israel, should a director of a "co-existence" program be addressing a conference run and staffed by the terror group? Would Norwegian taxpayers be happy that their employed public officials are promoting the Hamas agenda?
The co-sponsor of the conference, as stated, is the Exeter Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, established with a donation of £680,000 from Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, the Saudi royal who, in 2002, also donated $27 million to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers; and, following the 9/11 attacks, tried to offer New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani $10 million with the suggestion that the US "re-examine its policies in the Middle East."
The Institute's academics invited to address the PRC conference include Ghada Karmi, Ilan Pappé and Uri Davis. All are strongly opposed to the two-state solution, which the Oslo Accords was designed to facilitate.
Ghada Karmi, an Honorary Research Fellow of the Institute, is a signatory to the Stuttgart Declaration, which condemned the two-state solution in favour of a single state, which could be demographically overwhelmed by Muslims.
Ilan Pappé, a Professor of Arab and Islamic Studies at the Institute, also supports a "one-state solution." He submitted testimony supporting the anti-Semitic Hamas preacher, Raed Saleh, to a British immigration tribunal examining Saleh's claims that Jews drank the blood of Christian children in Europe.
The conference sessions are due to be presented almost entirely by extremists and academics who already support, both directly and indirectly, the PRC line. It would appear that Hamas, despite its dedication to killing Jews, is working to establish itself as an important, possibly "moderate," contributor to the Western narrative.
As for the "one-state solution" promoted by the attending Exeter academics: it was originally the brainchild of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Marxist faction within the PLO, and has received plaudits for its supposed advocacy of "co-existence."
Not all, however, see it that way. Jeffrey Goldberg, writing for Bloomberg News about a Harvard conference on the one-state solution, observed:
The two camps identified by Goldberg are, nonetheless, gradually pitching their tents closer together. Hamas, for example, benefits greatly from the increasing calls for a one-state solution: not only does that proposal necessitate the inclusion of Hamas (and accordingly afford the terror group recognition by the West) in a future "single state," it also undermines the role of Hamas's chief rival, the Palestinian Authority, or Fatah, which is publicly committed to the two-state solution.
Most importantly, in practical terms: growing support for a one-state solution provides Hamas with a legitimate, internationally-approved method for the destruction of Israel – championed by Hamas operatives ensconced in the West.
Hamas has long embedded its rhetoric and activities in the language of human rights – as shown by its involvement with charities and even interfaith dialogue. However, as illustrated by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh's simultaneous promises of both "peace" and genocide of Jews, Hamas can sustain the one-state narrative without ever having to pledge support for actual co-existence.
The PRC, in its September conference, seems to be trying to extend this two-faced approach even farther. By employing the support of academics, governmental employees and "human rights" activists, and using the facade of a seemingly virtuous alternative, the PRC seems to be trying to legitimize opposition to any real, two-state solution -- leaving the door wide open for Hamas's agenda.
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