To the Editor:
Ismail Haniyeh's absurd and cynical attempt to portray his Hamas government as a legitimate entity committed to a fair resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has no basis in reality ["Aggression Under False Pretenses," op-ed, July 11].
Hamas is a terrorist organization that rejects Israel's right to exist within any borders, opposes any negotiation or agreement with Israel, and espouses in its charter vicious anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
Mr. Haniyeh talks about democracy, justice and negotiation, but what has Hamas done since taking office? It has not recognized Israel's right to exist; it has welcomed terrorist attacks against Israeli civilian targets, such as an attack against a Tel Aviv restaurant in April; and it has encouraged rocket attacks from Gaza against Israeli civilian centers.
Mr. Haniyeh outrageously compares the kidnapped Israeli Cpl. Gilad Shalit, seized from an army base on Israeli soil, with Palestinians in Israeli prisons, the majority of whom were involved in terrorism.
Americans understand that there is clearly a difference between barbaric suicide attacks targeting innocent Israelis and defensive Israeli operations aimed at stopping Palestinian terrorists.
What is truly tragic is that the Palestinian people have elected a leadership that is not interested in bettering their lives but that would rather continue its violent campaign against Israel. Rather than this cheap attempt to appeal for American sympathy, Mr. Haniyeh and Hamas should embrace American values of democracy, moderation and reconciliation.
Abraham H. Foxman