This month, the Vatican signed the first treaty with "the state of Palestine," which it had already recognized in 2012.
The Vatican is not the only European state to have recognized the Hamas and Abbas government as an independent state. The Vatican is just the latest member of a trend that speaks volumes about how alarmingly clueless European states are about the conflict in the region and how blind they have become to see who actually causes terrorism and killings there.
Pope Francis greets Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas at the Vatican, May 16, 2015. (Image source: RT video screenshot)
Sadly, last year, Europe showed that terrorism and threats to commit genocide might just be the best way to acquire national independence.
In October 2014, the Britain's House of Commons voted in favor of symbolic motion that stands as initial stage of UK recognition of a "Palestinian state."
Then Sweden's government became the first major European country officially to recognize the state of "Palestine."
Into the bargain, call it a bonus, Finland and Denmark (in Copenhagen, before it was hit with a terror attack -- like those with which Israel has been contending for decades -- warned Israel of EU sanctions. Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja said Israel could face EU sanctions over its actions in Palestinian areas.
In September, Denmark's Foreign Minister, Martin Lidegaard, said that if Israel does not commit to end its "blockade" of Gaza and stop "illegal settlements," then tougher steps should be adopted. "If nothing happens in the peace talks this time," he said, "and if we don't see a new pattern of response from Israel's side, then we will need to discuss the possibility of taking new steps, including changes to our trade relations with Israel." He did not, of course, address the question: If your neighbor is trying to import weapons while threatening to kill you, what are you supposed to do about that? He also did not address the similar blockade of Gaza by Egypt, which faces the same problem.
Finally, as the ultimate prize, on December 17, 2014, the General Court of the European Union, the second-highest court in the bloc, declared that it had removed Hamas from the list of terrorist organizations: "Hamas should no longer be included on an influential list of international terrorist organizations."
Have these parliaments and courts not read Hamas's charter, especially in its Article 7, which openly calls for genocide against the Jews, not only in Israel, but all over the world? Have the not heard the saying in much of the Arab world: "First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people" -- namely, Europe's Christians? Have they not seen how Islamic extremists have been targeting Christians and others not only in the Middle East but right there among them in the West?
Is this really the spirit of pluralism, humanism and tolerance these "good," "moral" European governments and the Vatican support?
The EU authorities speak about "peace talks" and "a two state solution;" Hamas does not. Not only has Hamas never cared about such niceties; it openly rejects them. The more Hamas calls for the destruction of Israel and murder of all the Jews, the more the Western governments incomprehensibly seem to interpret this as a call for peace. If one compares the language these governments use with the language Hamas officials use, they would appear to live in different galaxies.
In July 2014, Hamas once more made it clear that "peace" is not its aim. When an Arabic-language television interviewer asked Mushir Al Masri, a Hamas MP and media spokesman, "Is there a proposal of Hamas?" he responded:
"This is just the nonsense of the Zionists and a dream of theirs to live in peace and calmness for 10 years. We shall keep disturbing the Zionists until the last of the Zionists leaves our Palestinian land. Because every truce is temporary for a certain period of time. We are not talking about a long term truce. We are not talking about a peace agreement."
"'A truce' in the dictionary of the resistance means preparing for the next battle. Our resistance will keep on developing, producing and filling its arsenals and in the production of surprising elements for the next battles until the Zionist enemy leaves our land, with the help of Allah."
"In Islam peace has a different meaning," wrote the scholar Diane Weber Bederman. "And it is important that we understand that meaning when we talk about peace with Muslim leaders, especially those who represent Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS, al Qaeda. Peace in Islam means submission to Allah. The ultimate meaning of Islamic peace is all of us living in Dar-al-Islam—the house of submission."
During last summer's war, started by Hamas rockets fired into Israel, the journalist Arsen Ostrovsky wrote: "In the last 24 hours alone, over 120 rockets have been fired on southern Israel. That's approximately five rockets per hour..." -- at a country the size of Vancouver Island.
At the end of that operation, Hamas once more showed that its struggle is all about destruction: hundreds of dead and wounded people -- institutionalized human sacrifice -- used as propaganda for the television cameras. To Hamas, and apparently to many countries in Europe, Israel has no right to defend itself and no right to exist. But Europe is ready to prop up with unconditional support racist, anti-humanitarian organizations such as Palestinian Authority and Hamas?
As someone born and raised a Muslim in the Middle East, and still living there, I can assure European officials that if they think that the recognition of Hamas and Palestinian statehood would encourage Hamas to change its charter and leave its terrorist attacks, they could not be more wrong. Perhaps the Europeans are just hoping that if they keep on paying diplomatic "protection money" and keep on giving terrorists what they say they want, the terrorists will see to it that nothing (more) blows up in their cities. Or maybe they are just currying favor for business contracts or Muslim votes.
In 2010, Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahhar said: "Have we given up our lands occupied in 1948? We demand the liberation of the West Bank, and the establishment of a state in the West Bank and Gaza, with Jerusalem as its capital – but without recognizing [Israel]. This is the key – without recognizing the Israeli enemy on a single inch of land....This is our plan for this stage – to liberate the West Bank and Gaza, without recognizing Israel's right to a single inch of land, and without giving up the Right of Return for a single Palestinian refugee."
Sheik Nizar Rayan, a Hamas "political" leader, said at a rally in Gaza, in 2005: "We will not rest until we liberate all our land, all our Palestine. We do not distinguish between what was occupied in the 1940s and what was occupied in the 1960s. Our Jihad continues, and we still have a long way to go. We will continue until the very last usurper is driven out of our land."
Hamas is harmful not only to Israel, but also to its own Gazan people. Hamas has reportedly carried out, with perfunctory trials at best, public executions by firing squads against alleged "collaborators" -- their own citizens who oppose Hamas terrorism -- possibly as "examples" to others in the Gaza Strip.
The engagement by Hamas in war-profiteering and financial corruption is also no secret. "With multi-million-dollar land deals, luxury villas and black market fuel from Egypt, Gaza's rulers made billions while the rest of the population struggled with 38-percent poverty and 40-percent unemployment," wrote Doron Peskin, a Middle East expert in regional economies.
The Institute for Palestine Studies published a detailed report on Gaza's terror tunnels in the summer of 2012. Hamas used child labor to construct its underground network in Gaza, work which resulted in a large number of child deaths: "At least 160 children have been killed in the tunnels, according to Hamas officials," the report noted.
Hamas also openly declares that it engages in jihad against the Jews in Israel and worldwide. Do European governments call for and enforce the demilitarization of Gaza until Hamas officials change their charter and abandon terrorist attacks? No, they recognize Hamas and a "Palestinian state."
The more terror tunnels Hamas members build and the more terror attacks they carry out, the more support they get from the West. The more Jews they kill, the more they are respected.
The more they exploit their own children and use them as human shields, they more "heroic" they become in the eyes of the West.
The more cartoons they broadcast on their children's channel indoctrinating Palestinian children, telling them why they should "shoot all the Jews" or "kill the Christians and Jews – to the last one," the more recognition and "aid money" they get.
Why then should Hamas change its charter or tactics, or commit itself to non-violence and a peaceful resolution, when its terror tactics seem to be working so magnificently?
Western governments should stop projecting their own wishes onto Hamas and should see Hamas as it really is: A terrorist group with a genocidal agenda that must be demilitarized for the future of all of us.
Recognizing Hamas or a Palestinian state does not mean protecting Palestinians. Palestinians can only be protected by stopping their incitement. That can be done in one minute and with no money. Europe and the West can also insist that all future funding be linked to Palestinians educating their children for peace instead of war. The funding first needs to be linked to changes, as worked so well in the Soviet Union with the Jackson-Vannick Amendment, which predicated all grain to the Soviet Union on allowing its people to leave. The funding then needs to be payed out in installments, after the changes have been made -- and maintained. No education for peace, no funding. The only way to actually build a Palestine mature enough to have a state is by changing the expectations of Palestinians about what is acceptable -- and by staying committed to those changes over time -- in addition to the direct negotiations with Israel, to which the Palestinians are committed under international law.
The Pope was wise enough to see that the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas could be -- but was not yet -- "an angel of peace." Egypt and Jordan live in peace side-by-side with Israel. The Palestinians could, too. Just not now.
 About the "Saturday people," Hamas's former minister of culture, Atallah Abu Al-Subh, has said: "The Jews are the most despicable and contemptible nation to crawl upon the face of the Earth, because they have displayed hostility to Allah."