New Hamas Charter closer to Fatah and less aggressive to Jews

Presented to Doha by Khaled Meeshal, the Charter represents a moderate and modern position in the Islamist movement. They recognize the borders of 1967, though not the legitimacy of the Israeli state. For the first time, Zionism and Judaism are separated.

Gaza (AsiaNews / Agencies) - On May 1, a new Hamas Islamic Organization Charter was presented by the leader in exile, Khaled Meeshal, at the Sheraton hotel in Doha, capital of Qatar. It came two days after the visit of Palestinian Authority President Mohammad Abbas to Washington. The new text, while not recognizing the existence of the Jewish state, in many respects is a softening of Hamas's positions, both towards Israel and Fatah.

The document, the result of  four years of work, has 11 chapters and 41 articles. As far as its status is concerned, there is an ongoing internal debate, officials now define it as a "benchmark" which, however, does not completely replace the 1988 Charter.

It does not demand Israel's destruction, and for the first time separates Zionism and Judaism: "Hamas affirms that its conflict is with the Zionist project not with the Jews because of their religion." Earlier, Hamas called for a war against all Jews.

Secondly, the Charter recognizes the Palestine Liberation Organization (OLP) as the "national framework" of the Palestinian people, which, however, requires reconstruction of "democratic foundations to safeguard the rights of Palestinians". This official recognition of PLO represents a radical change to the original constitution, in which Hamas was an alternative.

In addition, Hamas recognizes the role of the Palestinian Authority to "serve the Palestinian people and safeguard their security, their rights, and their national project".

Its acceptance for the first time of a Palestinian state within the borders of June 4, 1967 is also a landmark move. However, this recognition does not include the formal acceptance of the solution of the two states and Israel.

It also rejects the Oslo Accord and the related agreements. The Charter recognizes the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the capital and the return of Palestinians who fled over the years since 1948, as a "national formula for consensus ".

As for refugees, the document specifies the refusal of any attempt to deprive them of the right to return, including those of integration within other countries, and their right to compensation.


The document moves away from that of 1988 in other aspects that attempt to modernize Hamas's political vision and its objectives: it does not refer to the Muslim Brotherhood, with which there was explicit connection in the former, but is simply defined as a national movement "With Islamic reference".

It mentions the Christian Palestinians and the sacred places. It is clearer on the role of children and women who have "a key role in the project of resistance, liberation and the construction of the political system". It also speaks of non-violent resistance, thus "diversifying the means and methods [of resistance] as an integral part of the conflict management process."

In his statement, Meshaal said that his intent is to make "Hama’s position", a "viable, renewable developing movement in their ideologically awareness and political” as "crystal clear":  "We don't want to dilute our principles but we want to be open. We hope this (document) will mark a change in the stance of European states towards us".

This document is considered the latest act by Meshaal, before he possibly steps down as the leader of Hamas's political office.

Israel said the document aimed to deceive the world that Hamas was becoming more moderate. For Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu it is a "smoke screen", while Hamas continues to prepare for the war against Israel.