The newspaper had quoted claims from senior sources in Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization stating that Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal had ordered a de facto ceasefire in the West Bank and Gaza. Meshaal indicated that Hamas would stage nonviolent protests against Israel analogous to those used against Arab autocrats during the "Arab Spring."
The Hamas leadership in Gaza expressed surprise at Meshaal's remarks, stating that "the only way to liberate the occupied lands is through armed struggle." Fathi Hamad, the Hamas interior minister, said the group would not necessarily adhere to Meshaal's approach.
Hamas would never recognize Israel or compromise on the Palestinian refugee issue, Hamad told a visiting Tunisian delegation Thursday.
Indeed, Meshaal continues to emphasize that Hamas retains the terror option: "As long as there is an occupation on our land, we have the right to defend our land by all means, including military resistance."
Israeli defense sources say there is no indication that Hamas has changed its ideology or charter calling for Israel's destruction. While Hamas may have concluded that it is not in its interest to carry out attacks right now, Israeli officials are convinced that if its West Bank cadres think they can stage a major attack, they will, as they have in the past.
Meanwhile, Hamas' propaganda networks continue to spew propaganda in an effort to incite violence. The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) on Thursday issued a report documenting how Hamas is using Twitter.
MEMRI found that Hamas' military wing included links to YouTube videos glorifying violence and included calls for "a new Holocaust." One tweet linked to a post by senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar vowing that "Jews will soon be expelled from Palestine that same way they were kicked out by France, Britain, Belgium, Russia and Germany 'because they betrayed, stole and corrupted those countries.'" He added that the Jews "have no place here amongst us because of their crimes."
Read the MEMRI report here.