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Can You Pass The Hamas Quiz

By Jeffrey Rudolph

25 June, 2010

The degree of mainstream media repression, obfuscation and nonsense concerning Hamas is endemic in the US and Canada . In my local newspaper, The Montreal Gazette, one searches in vain for meaningful coverage of the respected Goldstone Report yet reference to Barak's mythical “Generous Offer” persists and ahistorical reporting on Hamas rockets dominates.

While one cannot entirely absolve Palestinians for their dire situation, three categorical truths should always be borne in mind to ensure that there is no confusion between victim and victimizer:

1. Israel is illegally occupying Palestinian land.

2. Occupied people have the legal right to resist occupation.

3. Palestinians are the only occupied people to suffer international sanctions (while Israel enjoys significant economic, military and diplomatic support from powerful states).

The following quiz is intended to provide needed context to the reporting on Hamas in the mainstream media.


1. Has Hamas ever deliberately attacked an American target?

2. True or False: Israel  supported Hamas in the past.

3. Which groups committed the following terrorist acts in Palestine to further nationalist goals during the British Mandate period?

3.1 July 22, 1946: Terrorists blew up the King David Hotel in Jerusalem killing or injuring more than 200 persons.

3.2 December 19, 1947: Terrorists attacked a village near Safad, blowing up two houses, in the ruins of which were found the bodies of 10 persons, including 5 children.
3.3 December 30, 1947: Terrorists  attacked the village of Balad al Sheikh, killing more than 60 persons.

3.4 March 3, 1948: Terrorists drove an army truck up to a building in Haifa and escaped before the detonation of 400 pounds of explosives that killed 14 persons and injured 23.

4. Who said the following in 1998? "If I were a young Palestinian, it is possible I would join a terrorist organization."

5. True or False: The Palestinian school curriculum incites hatred and anti-Semitism.

6. Identify the Middle East entities responsible for the following promulgations:
6.1 "Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. This is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase." We aim "at the elimination of Zionism in Palestine." "The…establishment of the state of Israel [is]…entirely illegal, regardless of the passage of time…" 
6.2 "The [entity]…flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan River."
6.3 "Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel."
6.4 "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it." “[We strive] to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine, for under the wing of Islam followers of all religions can coexist in security…"

7. Who made the following statements in 2007? "[T]here will remain a state called Israel—this is a matter of fact. …The problem is not that there is an entity called Israel. The problem is that the Palestinian state is non-existent." "As a Palestinian…I speak…for a state on 1967 borders. It is true that in reality there will be an entity or state called Israel on the rest of Palestinian land."

8. Which party, Israel or Hamas, broke the six-month ceasefire that was agreed to in June 2008?

9. Who stated the following on Democracy Now! , a news program, on February 14, 2006? “Camp David was not the missed opportunity for the Palestinians, and if I were a Palestinian I would have rejected Camp David, as well.”

10. Who, after serving six US secretaries of state on Arab-Israeli negotiations, wrote the following: "For far too long, many American officials involved in Arab-Israeli peacemaking, myself included, have acted as Israel's attorney, catering and coordinating with the Israelis at the expense of successful peace negotiations. If the United States wants to be an honest and effective broker on the Arab-Israeli issue, than surely it can have only one client: the pursuit of a solution that meets the needs and requirements of both sides."

11. Who said the following: "Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples [in the Middle East and surrounding regions]."

12. According to the United Nations 1947 Partition Resolution, was the Gaza Strip to be part of the Jewish State or the Arab State?

13. Whose account of the forced expulsion of Palestinians by Jewish fighters in 1948 on the orders of David Ben-Gurion, was censored from his memoirs?

14. When Israel disengaged from the Gaza Strip in August 2005, approximately what percentage of the population of Gaza was Jews and approximately what percentage of the land of Gaza was controlled by Israel and Jewish settlers?

15. Who made the the following 2004 statement indicating the primary motivation for Israel's 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip: "The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process…And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of [the US] Congress."

16. Who stated the following concerning Hamas's victory in the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections: "The boycott of Hamas after winning a free and fair election in 2006, and subsequent punishment of the people of Gaza, have backfired and the group may be more popular than ever.  Polls show that Palestinians voted for Hamas members because of frustration with corruption in the dominant party, Fatah, and because Hamas' humanitarian efforts and good governance of municipalities had helped people educate and provide for their children amidst a crippling occupation. The same polls show that popular support for Hamas in 2006 was not based on support for the group's religious or political ideologies.  The international community and Israel should have seized on the opportunity to persuade more Palestinians to participate in the political process, which would have done more to undermine extremist ideologies than the current course."

17. What is the name of the Israeli soldier who was captured on 25 June 2006 by Palestinian fighters in a cross-border raid and has subsequently been held as a prisoner in Gaza by Hamas?

18. What are the names of the two Palestinians that were kidnapped from Gaza by Israeli soldiers on 24 June 2006?

19. Who made the following 2006 statement when referring to the purpose of economic pressure exerted on Gazans after the election victory of Hamas: "The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger."

20. Which US leader said the following on 25 January 2006, the day after Hamas won the Gaza elections?: “So the Palestinians had an election yesterday, and the results of which remind me about the power of democracy….And there was a peaceful process as people went to the polls, and that's positive.”

21. Who was the head of the United Nations fact finding mission, mandated to investigate the 2008-2009 military operations in Gaza?

22. Which human rights organization reported the following concerning the 2008-2009 military operation in Gaza ? “[We] found no evidence that Hamas…directed the movement of civilians to shield military objectives from attacks….In all of the cases investigated…of families killed when their homes were bombed…by Israeli forces…none of the houses struck was being used by armed groups for military activities.…[However we did find that Israeli soldiers] used civilians, including children, as ‘human shields', endangering their lives…”

23. Who said the following, concerning peace with the Palestinians, on 29 September 2008: “We have to reach an agreement with the Palestinians, the meaning of which is that in practice we will withdraw from almost all the [occupied] territories, if not all the territories. We will leave a percentage of these territories in our hands, but will have to give the Palestinians a similar percentage, because without that there will be no peace.”


1. No. According to Kenneth Pollack, former CIA analyst, Middle East expert and former National Security Council staffer, "[H]amas…[has] never deliberately attacked American targets. The PLO did..."  (Kenneth M. Pollack; A Path Out of the Desert: A Grand Strategy for America in the Middle East; Random House; New York: 2008; p.170)

-Pollack adds that in recent times Palestinian militant groups have all concentrated on Israel and one another and not the US "despite the tremendous levels of anti-Americanism in the region, the popularity that al-Qa'ida has garnered for its attacks on the United States, and the lopsided pro-Israel policies of the George W. Bush administration. Consequently, it is difficult to suggest that Palestinian terrorist groups are a direct threat to the United States. ...[T]hey do not constitute the same kind of threat to American interests as al-Qa'ida and therefore do not merit the same response."

-An objective observer is left to conclude that it is Hamas's independence from the US orbit of control, coupled with the power of the Israel lobby, that engenders relentless US rebukes.

-It should be obvious that simply killing terrorists in, say, Gaza, without changing the conditions that produced them is ineffective since new terrorists will arise.

2. True. "For well over two decades after the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, Israel...[supported] the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoot Hamas in Gaza as a counterweight to the nationalist...(PLO). This reached the point where the Israeli military occupation encouraged Brotherhood thugs to intimidate PLO supporters." (Rashid Khalidi; The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood; Beacon Press; Boston: 2007; pp. xxviii-xxix)

-According to Anthony Cordesman, respected Middle East analyst for the Center for Strategic Studies, Israel "aided Hamas directly—the Israelis wanted to use it as a counterbalance to the PLO.” ( http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2002/06/08/1320881.php )

-It is interesting to note that in 2007 Israel encouraged the corrupt Fatah to overthrow Hamas. Divide-and-rule continues to be an effective tool of colonizers.

3.1 The Irgun: Zionist paramilitary group led by future prime minister Menachem Begin. It was classified as a terrorist organization by Israel itself when it became a state in 1948. ( http://guardian.150m.com/palestine/jewish-terrorism.htm )

3.2 The Haganah: Jewish paramilitary organization which became the core of the Israel Defense Forces. Members of the Haganah included future prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Ariel Sharon.

3.3 The Palmach: Elite fighting force of the Haganah. (The Palmach's last operation as an independent unit was against the Irgun. Perhaps right-wing Jews should not be so smug when they hear of fighting between Fatah and Hamas.)

3.4 The Stern Gang: Radical Zionist paramilitary group that split from the Irgun in 1940. Future Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Shamir was among its leaders.

4. Ehud Barak: Prime Minister of Israel, 1999-2001, and current Minister of Defence. ( http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0306/25/se.13.h )

5. False. Nathan Brown, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University, after a detailed study on The Palestinian Curriculum, writes:  "[T]he Palestinian curriculum is not a war curriculum; while highly nationalistic, it does not incite hatred, violence, and anti-Semitism."


-Right-wing supporters of Israel, seeking reasons why Palestinians harbor resentment against Israel and Jews, often point to Palestinian textbooks that purportedly instill such hatred. Prof. Brown demonstrates that a better explanation is to be found in the harsh occupation administered by Israel. As Prof. Brown writes in his conclusion, "With the effects of conflict felt on a daily basis, what textbooks and teachers say is probably irrelevant in any case."

6.1 The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). These are portions from the 1968 Palestine National Charter.
( http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Peace/PLO_Covenant.html )

-It is important to note that Israel negotiated peace accords with the PLO despite the fact that the 1968 Palestinian National Charter was in force at the time of the relevant negotiations. Clauses from the Charter were rendered void only after the 1993 Declaration of Principles was signed.

( http://www.cjpme.org/DisplayDocument.aspx?

6.2 The Likud party. This was part of Likud's platform at the time of the 2009 Israeli elections; the elections led to a Likud-led government. ( http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2009/02/09/f-rfa-armstrong.html )
-Despite this offensive clause, which contravenes international law, Hamas has shown willingness to support talks with Israel.

6.3 Israel. This is a clause of one of Israel's Basic Laws. ( http://www.knesset.gov.il/laws/special/eng/basic10_eng.htm )
-Despite this official law of Israel, which contravenes international law, Hamas has shown willingness to support talks with Israel. (Even the US does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The US embassy is located in Tel Aviv.)

6.4 Hamas. The portions are from the Hamas Charter. ( https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AZbAXItgb
-While the Charter is one tool used by Israel to refuse to deal with Hamas, similarly odious clauses—provided above—did not prevent Israel from negotiating with the PLO.
-Would it matter to right-wing Jews if a Hamas leader made more conciliating statements? See question 7.

7. Khaled Meshal: Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau.

( http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/jan/11/israel/print )

-“A recent study by a U.S. government agency concluded that Hamas ‘has been carefully…adjusting its political program for years and has sent repeated signals that it is ready to begin a process of coexisting with Israel.” (This Time We Went Too Far: Truth and Consequences of the Gaza Invasion; by Norman G. Finkelstein; OR Books; New York: 2010; p. 45)

-Ethan Bronner, the Jerusalem bureau chief for the New York Times, had this to say concerning Gaza under Hamas in early 2009: "Honestly, the idea that this is some totalitarian spot where you can't write honestly is not true…. Hamas is not al-Qaeda….I can't tell you whether they are going to accept Israel. What they basically say…is if we can go back to the '67 borders and we can deal with the question of a right of return and all Palestinians agree…we won't stand in the way….[A]s a broad observation, it seems almost impossible to imagine that there could be a Palestinian state that doesn't include Hamas as part of a political structure. And if that's true, then Israel will not have the security of being a Jewish democratic state, not an occupier, without some relationship with the Hamas movement."

( http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/

-It should be noted that Turkey demonstrates that Islam and democracy can coexist.

-Therefore, Hamas accepts the existence of the state of Israel. Yet, right-wing Jews argue: Words are cheap; Hamas doesn't keep its word. (However, see question 8.)

8. Israel. "In June 2008, Egypt had ­brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas…­[that] was a success: the average number of rockets fired monthly from Gaza dropped from 179 to three. Yet on 4 November Israel violated the ceasefire by launching a raid into Gaza, killing six Hamas fighters." ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/feb/03/gaza-tony-blair-betrayal )

-"In a document entitled 'The Hamas terror war against Israel,' The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides striking visual evidence of Hamas's good faith during the lull. It reproduces two graphs drawn up by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center: [Graphs provided] The graphs show that the total number of rocket and mortar attacks shrank from 245 in June to 26 total for July through October, a reduction of 97 percent." ( http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10123.shtml )

-Hamas demonstrated that it keeps its word. Therefore, Israel knows how to stop rocket attacks from Gaza: enter good faith talks with Hamas. However, it is precisely Hamas's potential as a serious and independent negotiating partner that threatens "Greater Israel." Israeli policymakers know that upon proper negotiations, Israel will have to give up land and resources. But, uninformed supporters of Israel argue: what of the famous "Generous Offer"? (See Question 9.)

9. Shlomo Ben-Ami: Israel's Minister of Public Security in 1999, Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2000-2001, and Israel's top negotiator at Camp David and Taba negotiations. ( http://www.democracynow.org/2006/2/14/

-Mainstream commentators continue to reproduce the baseless Israeli claim that former Prime Minister Ehud Barak was very generous in the offer he made to the Palestinians at Camp David in 2000. The provided quote should be sufficient to end this harmful myth.

-The conclusion of questions 6 to 9 is that Israel won't deal fairly unless forced by US pressure—for example, in March 1957 Israel was forced to withdraw from Gaza, following the Suez War, after US President Eisenhower applied heavy diplomatic pressure and threatened economic sanctions—or Arab strength—for example, Egypt's effectiveness in the 1973 war led to Israel's willingness to negotiate a meaningful treaty. Without such pressure, Palestinians suffer from tactics such as the one presented in question 15.

-It should also be noted that the Palestinians did try a largely non-violent resistance to Israel's occupation during the first intifada of the late 1980s. And, in September 2000, Palestinians again launched a rebellion which was overwhelmingly nonviolent at its inception. However, in both cases, Israel responded with disproportionate, lethal force.

10. Aaron David Miller: Middle East negotiator and adviser on Arab-Israeli affairs at the US State Department for 25 years.
( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/22/AR2005052200883.html )

11. General David Petraeus: US Army general and current Commander of the US Central Command. ( http://www.haaretz.com/news/u-s-general-israel-palestinian-conflict-foments-anti-u-s-sentiment-1.264910 )

12. Arab State.
- Arab rejection of the Partition Plan is understandable as Jews made up 37% of the population of mandatory Palestine, owned 7% of the land, yet the Jewish state was given 55% percent of the land. (Benny Morris; Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881 – 2001; Vintage; New York: 2001; p. 186)

-After the 1948-9 War, Gaza came under Egypt's administrative control. And, as a result of the 1967 War, Gaza was occupied by Israel.

-According to Sara Roy, a Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University (and child of Holocaust survivors), Gaza under Israel's occupation suffered "de-development" as "the native population [was deprived] of its most important economic resources—land, water and labor—as well as the internal capacity and potential for developing those resources." According to the respected Israeli historian, Benny Morris, "like all occupations, Israel's was founded on brute force, repression and fear, collaboration and treachery, beatings and torture chambers, and daily intimidation, humiliation, and manipulation". (Norman G. Finkelstein; This Time We Went Too Far: Truth and Consequences of the Gaza Invasion; OR Books; New York: 2010; pp. 16-17.)

13. Yitzhak Rabin: Prime Minister of Israel, 1992-1995. (David Gardner; Last Chance: The Middle East in the Balance; I.B. Tauris; New York: 2009; pp. 161-2.)

-It was as a result of expulsions and fighting that "Approximately 250,000 Palestinians driven out of their homes during the 1948 war and its aftermath fled to Gaza and overwhelmed the indigenous population of some 80,000." (Norman G. Finkelstein; This Time We Went Too Far: Truth and Consequences of the Gaza Invasion; OR Books; New York: 2010; p. 15.)

14. Jews constituted 0.6 per cent of the population (as approximately 8,000 Jewish settlers and 1.5 million Palestinians lived in Gaza); and, Israel and Jewish settlers controlled 25% of the territory, 40% of the arable land and a disproportionate share of the scarce water resources. (Avi Shlaim; Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Revisions, Refutations; Verso; London: 2009; p. 308.)

-The 2005 withdrawal was seen as a victory for Hamas and a humiliation for the Israel Defence Forces.

-As indicated in question 15, the withdrawal was not intended to enhance peace prospects. In fact in the year after the withdrawal, another 12,000 Israelis settled on the West Bank—hardly a sign of Israeli goodwill. ( http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/what-do-you-mean-when-you-say-no-1.233463 )

15. Dov Weisglass: Senior adviser to then Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon. ( http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/top-pm-aide-gaza-plan-aims-to-freeze-the-peace-process-1.136686 )

-Despite Israel's withdrawal from Gaza, it is manifestly obvious—and deemed so by international law—that Israel continues to occupy Gaza by dominating access to it by land, sea and air.

16. Jimmy Carter: President of the United States, 1977-1981. ( http://www.cartercenter.org/news/features/p/
-The Carter Center, in partnership with the National Democratic Institute, sent an 85-member team to observe the election, which was found to be peaceful, competitive, and genuinely democratic.

17. Gilad Shalit: Probably the world's best known captive.

-After the 2006 election victory by Hamas, the US and Israel "quickly moved from a crippling financial siege of the PA, with the aim of bringing down that government, to an escalation of Israeli assassinations of Palestinian militants, and to artillery and air attacks in Gaza that killed and wounded scores of civilians. Hamas had for 18 months observed a cease-fire in the face of these and earlier provocations (other factions were not so restrained, firing rockets into Israel). However, after a major spike in Palestinian civilian deaths and the particularly provocative Israeli assassination of militant leader Jamal Abu Samhadana, whom the PA government had just named to a security post, Hamas finally took the bait and responded with the capture of one Israeli soldier [Shalit] and the killing of others. The predictably ferocious Israeli response—even more killings of civilians, more assassinations, and ground incursions in Gaza…" (Rashid Khalidi; The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood; Beacon Press; Boston: 2007; pp. xv-xvi)

18. Osama Abu Muamar and Mustafa Abu Muamar: Probably among the world's least known captives. (Israel claimed the brothers were planning attacks on Israel.)


-According to Daoud Kuttab,  a Palestinian journalist and a former Ferris professor of journalism at Princeton University,  "Israel is holding more than 10,000 Palestinians, some without charge or trial. Almost all of these prisoners are being held in contradiction to various international laws and treaties, particularly the Geneva Conventions, which regulate the actions of a prolonged occupying power." http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/23/israels-gamble-in-a-prisoner-swap/#daoud

19. Dov Weisglass: Adviser to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/apr/16/israel/print)  

-The forced diet (i.e., illegal collective punishment) is working as "data from UNRWA, [indicate that] children's inadequate nutrition is stunting their growth in Gaza. Israeli military do not allow vitamins and other essential nutrients into Gaza, so older persons and children, particularly, suffer from malnourishment." ( http://www.globalaging.org/armedconflict/unrwa_gaza.htm )

20. George W. Bush: President of the United States, 2001-2009.


- Bush had a stake in the election as his Administration had demanded them. However, s oon after making the statement, Bush supported sanctions against the Hamas government. Apparently, democracy is the right to elect someone the US approves of—Venezuela, Iran, Gaza and others have learned this lesson.

21. Richard Goldstone: Former judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, former Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and member of the Board of Governors of the Hebrew University. He is not only Jewish but is also a self-declared Zionist who firmly supports Israel as the state of the Jewish people. He identifies the Nazi holocaust as the inspiration for his pursuit of international and human rights law.

-The Goldstone Report found that Israel's assault was based in a military doctrine that “views disproportionate destruction…as a legitimate means to achieve military and political goals,” and was “designed to have inevitable dire consequences for the non-combatants in Gaza.” Although Israel justified the attack as self-defense against Hamas rockets, the Report concluded that the attack was “a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability.” (Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict; 25 September 2009; paras. 63, 1213-14 and 1893.)

22. Amnesty International. ( http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE15/015/2009/en/8f299083-9a74-4853-860f-0563725e633a/mde150152009en.pdf pp. 3-4 and 76-77.)

-Investigations by other, including Israeli, human rights organizations were likewise very critical of Israel's—and to a much lesser extent, Hamas's—actions.

23. Ehud Olmert: Israel's Prime Minister, 2006-2009.

( http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/30/world/

Jeffrey Rudolph, a college professor, was the Quebec representative of the East Timor Alert Network, and presented a paper on its behalf at the United Nations. He prepared the widely-distributed “Can You Pass the Israel-Palestine Quiz” and “Can You Pass the Iran Quiz” which can be found at http://www.countercurrents.org/rudolph180608.htm and http://www.countercurrents.org/rudolph240410.htm , respectively. (Comments or questions concerning the quizzes should be emailed to: