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Look Who's Celebrating

By Michael Freund
8/16/2005, 12:00 AM

If remarks made by a senior Hamas leader the other day are any indication, then Israel’s planned withdrawal from Gaza is already providing terror groups in the region with a great deal of encouragement to continue with their lethal and inhumane struggle against the Jewish state.

Speaking to the London-based al-Hayat newspaper, Hamas chieftain Khaled Mashaal could barely conceal his glee over the prospect of an Israeli retreat. The withdrawal, Mashaal said, is “the beginning of the end for Israel”.

Resistance is a strategic choice,” he added, “because the withdrawal from Gaza is the first step on the way to completing the liberation.”

It would be easy, of course, to dismiss Mashaal’s remarks as the little more than exaggerated posturing by the terror group he represents, which wants to claim credit for chasing Israel out of the area.

But that would be a mistake, because what matters here is what lesson groups such as Hamas are drawing from the Israeli retreat – and it is clear from Mashaal’s comments that they view it as tangible proof that they are making progress in their plan to eliminate the Jewish state.

You can tell a lot about a political or historical event by looking at who’s celebrating it – and in this case it should be obvious that anything which gives Hamas encouragement is most assuredly a dangerous and foolhardy mistake.