The Gaza Strip's Hamas Premier Ismail Haniyeh is surrounded by security guards as he makes a victory sign after a meeting with a Turkish leader in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012. (Photo: AP)
Following Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' success with his bid for statehood at the United Nations last week, the prime minister of Hamas is seeking to get his organization removed from designated terrorist lists.
An offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas is primarily located in the Gaza Strip and has become markedly more aggressive since Israel pulled out of the area in 2005. A designated terror group by the United States and other international bodies, the organization's founding documents call for the destruction of Israel.
Now, though, they are turning the tables, and are marketing themselves as the victims.
Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said Sunday to a European delegation that Hamas is a "national liberation movement" seeking only to defend itself against Israeli "aggression," the Jerusalem Post reports.
“It is no exaggeration to say that the occupation is committing war crimes, given the cruelty and hardship our people faced in these eight days of war,” he added, saying Hamas eventually aims for “a Palestinian state with complete sovereignty, with Jerusalem as its capital, and the return of the refugees to the lands they owned in 1948.”
Though such an outcome would effectively mean the end of the state of Israel, Haniyeh claims he is happy to coexist with Jews, just not those in Israel.
“We have no problem with Jews worldwide, and we don’t oppose Jews because of their Jewish identity,” Channel 10 reportedly quoted him saying. “We have a problem with the occupation that controls our land.”
Israel National News reminds that the move comes days after Hamas indiscriminately fired roughly 1,500 rockets into Israel during an 8-day November conflict.
Not exactly transformed from their violent origins, it should also be noted that Hamas' military wing publicly executed six "suspected collaborators" with Israel just two weeks ago, dragging at least one of the bodies semi-naked behind a motorcycle. The rest of the murdered were left in the streets, where crowds stomped and spit on them.
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