Hamas terrorists in Gaza have expanded their range of activities in recent weeks. In addition to their regular job of strictly enforcing Hamas rule and Shariah law, they have been busy sweeping streets, visiting schools, and even handing out chocolate in an attempt to win back popular support. The campaign was timed to begin weeks before the 23rd anniversary of the terrorist group’s creation.
Leaders of the terrorist group denied that the campaign was a response to waning popularity. “We simply wanted to send a message that Hamas is still close to man in the street, despite being busy in power and politics,” official Ashraf Abu Daya told the Associated Press.
Daya was commenting on Hamas’ decision to distribute chocolate to 300,000 families, each box of candy accompanied by a note saying, “From Hamas with Love,” possibly a contradiction in terms.
The campaign appears to be geared at improving the image of Hamas’ armed police forces in particular. Police officers have visited schools and mosques, while others have handed out candy and flowers to drivers.
Hamas’ police have been in charge of enforcing increasingly harsh laws based in an extreme interpretation of Islamic law (Shariah). A recent campaign to arrest Gaza residents suspected of helping Israel fight terrorism has led to fear and mistrust as hundreds have been thrown in prisons, including doctors, intellectuals, and even members of Hamas; many of those arrested say they are innocent and claim confessions were extracted using torture.
‘No to Recognition of Israel – Ever’
The main anniversary event, a massive rally honoring Hamas, was attended by senior Hamas members. The group’s leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, addressed the crowd and pledged to never recognize Israel.
Haniyeh had suggested two weeks earlier that Hamas would accept a peace deal between Israel and the PA if the majority of Arabs who identify as “Palestinian” throughout the world accept it.
However, in his Tuesday speech, he clarified that Hamas aims to seize control of all territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, including the entire state of Israel. Hamas might accept a deal with Israel in accordance with what founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin said, Haniyeh said, “Liberate what you can of the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem, and where it cannot be liberated, declare a truce.”
However, the truce proposed by Yassin does not mean acceptance of another state on the land. Haniyeh said, “We will cede none of [the land], and we will not recognize the so-called state of Israel.” And that sums up the message to Israel: “From Hamas, No Love”.
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