Hamas to Change Anti-Semitic Charter

Is Hamas about to begin a new charm offensive on the West?

JERUSALEM—Hamas is set to update its foundational charter in a bid to reshape its public image. The amendments to the 29-year-old document of the Gaza-based Palestinian group will be officially released in April. However, some details of the forthcoming changes were reported in Asharq al-Awsat on March 7.

Here are three of the more dramatic changes, as relayed by Hamas sources, all of which will likely give the terrorist group a cleaner public image:

1. Hamas will endorse a Palestinian state with 1967 borders.

According to Dov Leiber of Times of Israel, the endorsement of a Palestinian state following 1967 is a “monumental shift from the group’s long-held policy of reclaiming all of historic Palestine.”

Previously, it was Hamas’s position that any acceptance of boundaries within Israel meant a peace deal with Israel and was therefore tacit recognition of the State of Israel. Now, Hamas is accepting the 1967 lines, but without first recognizing the State of Israel. The update of the charter likely reflects the main thrust of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2334 passed in December 2016, which calls all Jews living inside the territory held by Jordan before 1967 illegal occupiers.

The previous position of the UNSC was that Palestinians would receive the West Bank as part of their new state only after first recognizing Israel’s right to exist alongside them. Now that world opinion favors the view that the West Bank is already Palestinian land, Hamas does not need to recognize Israel to gain its state. Hamas accepting the 1967 lines is not the same as Hamas accepting two states for two peoples.

2. Hamas will officially break with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Asharq al-Awsat described its source as saying that the charter will also state Hamas’s “separation from any foreign body or organization—in reference to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.” Hamas was founded in 1987 as the Palestinian branch of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. Since Iran took over as Hamas’s main sponsor in the early 2000s, however, the group’s connection to the Muslim Brotherhood has weakened.

While Hamas insists it will continue its strategy of resisting Israel after the new charter comes into effect, separating from the Muslim Brotherhood and its reputation for terrorism will possibly improve Hamas’s own reputation internationally.

Given that the Trumpet has expected the Muslim Brotherhood to return to power in Egypt, and the Egyptians to shift away from the Palestinians, this move by Hamas to cut ties forebodes that event.

3. Hamas will no longer be anti-Semitic.

Hamas has fought three major wars against the Jewish state since seizing Gaza in 2007 and just elected a man that practically invented the terror tunnel strategy, whereby Palestinians tunnel into Israeli territory in order to commit terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians.

Hamas now sees, however, that it is politically expedient to expunge the most virulent hate speech from its charter, some of which includes the claims that the Jews were behind both world wars as well as numerous other injustices against humanity.

Asharq al-Awsat’s Hamas sources say that one new change to the charter “strictly defines animosity against occupying forces, and not Jews in an attempt to shake off accusations of anti-Semitism.”

By removing the overtly anti-Semitic remarks in its charter and instead focusing on the resistance against the “occupation,” Hamas again puts itself in line with international consensus.

These three updates to its charter indicate that Hamas wants to change its image, no doubt for the purpose of gaining a strategic advantage. While Hamas will continue its terrorist activities against Israel, as well as its unveiled anti-Semitic rhetoric, these changes will make Hamas a more palatable option for Western nations in regards to future peace negotiations with Israel. It will also likely increase Hamas’s favor among West Bank Palestinians, who have generally sided with Hamas’s more moderate rival, Fatah.

This may be the beginning of Hamas’s attempt to wrest complete control of the Palestinian cause from Fatah—not through an armed takeover but rather through a charm offensive that gets the international sponsors of the Palestinian cause on its side first.

The Trumpet has long expected Hamas to become the voice of the Palestinian people to the international community, as well as to claim leadership inside the West Bank. While its words might change to help achieve its aims, Bible prophecy indicates that it will be a hard-nosed Palestinian group with a strategy of violence that will fight the Jews in order to claim East Jerusalem as its own. That event will mark the first domino to fall in a chain of events that leads to the greatest event yet witnessed in Jerusalem. For a complete understanding of the role that Hamas will play in end-time prophecy, please request Jerusalem in Prophecy by Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry.