On Wednesday, the New York Times ran an op-ed by Ahmed Yousef, titled "Pause for Peace," in which Yousef calls for a "hudna," (which he describes as a "long term truce") between Israel and the Palestinians. The Times identifies Yousef only as "a senior adviser to the Palestinian prime minister, Ismail Haniya."
Yousef is actually ideally situated to be Haniya's senior advisor, specifically to attempt to bring Hamas' message to a Western audience, as Yousef himself spent many years in America as the head of a Hamas front group.
This is not the first time Yousef's name has appeared in the pages of the Times. Over a decade ago, the Times published a more accurate description of Yousef's role in Palestinian politics. Mohammad Salah, currently on trial in Chicago for his own Hamas connections, spilled the beans on Yousef and the Hamas infrastructure in the United States. According to a 1993 New York Times article:
Mr. Salah said the political command of Hamas in the United States is at the United Association for Studies and Research, in Springfield, Va. He identified the Hamas leader in the United States as the head of the institute, Ahmed Youssef, a writer whose code name he said was Abu Ahmed. He also said Mousa Abu-Marzuk, known as Abu Omar, 51, of Arlington, Va., was the political chief…
In 1998, while serving as the executive director of the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR), Yousef gave an interview to the Middle East Quarterly in which he defended Hamas, suicide bombings and encouraged attacks on Jews. Asked if he wrote, "God has promised that the Muslims will fight the Jews and defeat them," Yousef answered that he did, and continued, "I took this from an authentic Islamic hadith (or tradition) that does not say when this defeat will happen or where. My objective in using this quote is to assure the Palestinian people that one day justice will be realized and to encourage them to continue their struggles with the assurance of victory against the occupation."
Yousef defended Hamas Deputy Political Bureau Chief, Musa Abu Marzook (founder of UASR as well as the Holy Land Foundation, a Hamas-linked charity whose leadership is slated to go on trial in 2007 for funneling millions of dollars to Hamas), as a "moderate" and a "peaceful advocate" who "has always been a very pragmatic person who dislikes conflict and especially violence." After a Hamas terror attack in October 1994 in Jerusalem, Marzook took credit for the attack on behalf of Hamas, pronouncing: "Martyrdom is the goal of every Muslim and death represents the ideal wish of the mujahid on the land of Palestine."
Yousef is a serial denier. When he was in the U.S., he repeatedly denied that UASR was linked to Hamas despite mountains of evidence, which now includes his current occupation. Similarly, he continually denies that Hamas has anything to do with terrorism. In the same Middle East Quarterly interview, Yousef stated that Hamas is not a terrorist organization, and equated the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, to the Israeli government despite Hamas' specific and intentional targeting of Israeli civilians. Again, according to the 1993 Times article:
Mr. Youssef denied that he or his association had any links to Hamas.
Mr. Youssef said Mr. Abu-Marzuk had been a member of the association's board but had resigned in November, and Mr. Abu-Marzuk did not respond to repeated telephone calls.
Yousef also denies the anti-Semitic nature of Hamas and its charter, which cites the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and calls for the killing of Jews. When asked about this, Yousef responded, "Every paper (UASR has) published by experts analyzing the Hamas movement has said there is no evidence Hamas is antisemitic or that its activities are directed toward Jews by virtue of their race or religion." Yet, according to the Hamas charter:
Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. It needs all sincere efforts. It is a step that inevitably should be followed by other steps. The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah's victory is realised.
The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:
"The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).
In his op-ed, Yousef misrepresents the concept of the hudna, and specifically the Hamas position on any "truce" with Israel. In fact, Yousef's ultimate boss, Hamas political chief Khaled Mishal, has referred to the hudna as simply, "rest for the warrior." And as Yousef speaks nicely to Americans about peace, Israeli military intelligence has reported witnessing a massive build-up of Hamas weaponry, according to Haaretz, "Since the beginning of the year, more than 20 tons of explosives, anti-aircraft missiles and antitank missiles have been smuggled into Gaza." Yousef was a proven liar when he was in the United States and he should not be trusted now, by the New York Times, or anyone else.
Cross-posted at Counterterrorism Blog.