Hamas suicide bombers are setting the agenda in the Holy Land. The group has a branch that runs schools and medical clinics, but it is Hamas' military wing that goes furthest to achieve the goals set out in its well-articulated, unyielding and lengthy founding charter, written in 1988. Its main points:
--Hamas says its intentions are purely religious: "Allah is its target, the Prophet is its example and the Koran is its constitution." But the group's practical goal is to "raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine"--in other words, to eradicate the state of Israel. Because Palestine was conquered by Muslims in ancient times, the land is "consecrated for future Muslim generations." Infidels can live there "in peace and quiet" but only when the area is under Islamic rule.
--"There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through jihad"; all "so-called peaceful solutions" contradict the principles of Hamas. "Death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of [Hamas'] wishes."
--Hamas aims to thwart the Zionists' "aspir[ation] to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates." The charter cites the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a forgery originating in the early 1900s that purports to set out the secret plans of Jewish leaders to take over the world.
--The charter warns three times against Freemasons, Rotarians and the Lions Club, which "work in the interest of Zionism." It blames Jews for the French Revolution, Western colonialism, the Bolsheviks, and World Wars I and II. --By Anthony Spaeth