Avoid easy classifications

Leading Australian foreign affairs correspondent Paul McGeough, whose new book on Hamas, Kill Khalid is released soon, tells the Columbia Journalism Review how the world should view the militants:

Rather than describe Hamas as a terrorist group, I would say they’re a group that uses terror as a weapon and I think there’s a significant difference there. You’ll find a lot of Israeli commentators, amongst others, can understand and make in their writing. There is a difference there.

But the Palestinian attitude to terror as a weapon is dictated by their sense of the ability to achieve a settlement. If they think there’s a chance that there can be a negotiated settlement, as they did in the aftermath of the Oslo accords in the mid-1990s, their view of violence falls. But it’s when they see their land being taken, when they see their water resources being consumed, when they see Gaza being converted into a prison, they believe in violence. It’s a part of the world where all sides are very familiar with the notion of revenge and vengeance.

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