Hamas Releases End of Hope Video to Mark Israel Independence

The armed wing of the Islamic Hamas movement, al-Qassam Brigades, released a video entitled “The End of Hope” to mark Israel’s 66 years of independence.

Set to “Hatikva” or “Hope,” the Israeli national anthem, the video splices news footage with computer-generated scenes that show militants sending Israelis to Germany on boats, an allusion to how the modern state of Israel was partly founded by Jews who fled the Holocaust. Hamas posted the video to Youtube and said it e-mailed it to reporters and Israeli government officials.

The video is a reminder of the deepening rifts between Israel and the Palestinians. Those tensions have played a role in bringing together the moderate Palestinian political party, Fatah, and the hard line group Hamas. The two groups control the West Bank and Gaza respectively, and have been at loggerheads since 2006, when Hamas won an election that gave it power in Gaza. The president of the Palestinian Authority and head of Fatah, Mahmoud Abbas, flew to Doha yesterday for talks on reestablishing a joint Palestinian government with Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal.

The reconciliation between the groups has undermined peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel, initiated last year by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the U.S. and the European Union.

On April 27, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Abbas to tear up a pact Fatah had signed with Hamas that month, saying he won’t negotiate with those who “seek to exterminate peace.” Israel is determined to prevent Hamas from turning the West Bank into Gaza, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman told diplomats during a ceremony to observe Independence Day at the Israeli President’s official residence.

Stalled negotiations

“What we see and hear from yesterday’s meeting between Abu Mazen and Khaled Mashaal and from what is happening in the West Bank is that Hamas is on its way to control the Palestinian Authority,” Liberman said, according to a text message from his spokesman. “We expect the international community to stand behind its declarations and demand that Hamas commit to the three quartet conditions.”

The Quartet -- referring to the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia -- has asked Hamas to renounce violence and recognize Israeli statehood, something the Palestinian group has vowed not to do.

U.S.-sponsored negotiations reached an impasse last month after Israel failed to complete a scheduled Palestinian prisoner release and announced construction plans in contested east Jerusalem. Abbas responded by renewing a campaign to broaden international recognition of Palestine, a move which is seen by Israel as undermining its position.

Yigal Palmor, Foreign Ministry spokesman, declined to comment on the video.

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