Anyone who wonders if the new Hamas government of the Palestinian Authority can be compelled by the West to moderate should look for an answer from Mariam Farhat, or Umm Nidal (mother of Nidal), one of the newly elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. In June 2002, her son Muhammad Farhat stormed the Atzmona settlement in
However, if he had targeted women and children, that would have been fine with his mother. “These are war necessities,” she explained. “They are all occupiers to begin with. Whoever comes from abroad and lives on the
Umm Nidal believes all this so deeply that she cried out “Allahu Akbar” when she learned of Muhammad’s murders and his own death; she “prepared boxes of halva and chocolates, and handed them out to his friends.” To those who would reproach her for being heartless, she responded: “My children are the most precious thing in my life. That is why I sacrificed them for a greater cause — for Allah, who is more precious than them. My son is not more precious than his God, he is not more precious than the places holy to Islam, and he is not more precious than his homeland or his Islam.”
Many still cling to hope that Hamas will somehow change. After the elections, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said: “Palestinian people have apparently voted for change, but we believe their aspirations for peace and a peaceful life remain unchanged.” Yet Mariam Farhat was elected; at a Hamas victory rally, one woman exclaimed: “She is a mother to every house, every person.”
Do Palestinians, despite having elected Hamas and Umm Nidal, reject the perspectives and positions represented by her and her party, as so many Western officials would love to believe? Umm Nidal doesn’t think so. “All the Palestinians,” she asserted, “share the same view” that she articulated about the legitimacy of targeting Israeli civilians. “They are not divided. The only ones who disagree and think otherwise are, of course, the foreigners, who have no sympathy for us or for our cause, and who know nothing about us. They are the ones who think that this man has come to kill innocent people….But we, as Muslims, think differently. We are familiar with the Koranic verse: ‘One who attacks you, attack him in like manner.’”
But don’t the Palestinians want peace? Yes, says Umm Nidal, but “the word ‘peace’ does not mean the kind of peace we are experiencing. This peace is, in fact, surrender and a shameful disgrace. Peace means the liberation of all of
Striving toward such peace also is Hamas leader Khaled Mash’al, who said this at the Al-Murabit Mosque in
If world officials think that an electorate that elected Umm Nidal and her party in free and secret balloting is not enthralled with blood, death, and genocidal intransigence, and will somehow join the community of free and rational nations, they have already lost their eyesight, they have already lost their brains.