Zawahiri unloads on Hamas for being centrist sell-outs

There’s something soooo familiar about this.

“The leadership of Hamas surrendered to the Jews most of Palestine,” said the militant leader in an audio statement, parts of which were aired by Al Jazeera television.

“They sold all that so they are allowed to keep a third of the government and what a government … a laughable government,” he said.

Hamas and rival Fatah agreed at a meeting in Mecca a month ago to forge a joint coalition cabinet, a move that largely ended weeks of bloody factional fighting, mostly in the Gaza Strip where more than 90 people were killed…

Hamas, which won Palestinian elections in January 2006 unseating President Mahmoud Abbas’s once-dominant Fatah, refuses to recognize Israel but its Mecca agreement with Fatah contains a vague promise to “respect” past Israeli-Palestinian accords.

Zawahri said the Hamas leadership had “fallen into the quagmire of surrender.” The authenticity of the recording could not be immediately verified.

He goes on to credit the 2002 Saudi peace plan to NYT columnist Tom Friedman, which is amusing not only because it shows AQ paying attention to the Times op-ed page (if only to find Jewish plots) but because Friedman himself hasn’t been shy about making the same point. Should be interesting to see how this latest message plays with Sunni jihadis, though, given Hamas’s role as the face of “authentic” Palestinian resistance and the burgeoning Iranian influence over the organization.

Meanwhile, the Brits say they’ve uncovered an AQ plot to take down the Internet in the UK — not with a hack attack but the old-fashioned way, by blowing up the building that houses the country’s main servers. And three years to the day after the Madrid bombings, a video posted on an AQ website is threatening attacks on Germany and Austria if they don’t pull their troops out of Afghanistan. Total Austrian troops in country: five.

I leave you with the op-ed of the day, which really requires no comment: “Why does The Times recognize Israel’s ‘right to exist’?” The author is Saree Makdisi, nephew of Edward Said and professor of literature at UCLA. I’m not sure what his feelings are about Hamas’s newfound “centrism,” but to the extent that it involves giving up the right of return that Israel will never and could never recognize, I suspect he’s not a fan. Which brings us to our exit question: when did the local English department and the UN’s committee on racial discrimination become more hardline than Hamas?