When we blithely describe Hamas as terrorists, instead of "murderers" or "murderous terrorists," we paint a dangerously misleading and inaccurate picture. We dilute the truly savage, heinous aspect of what Hamas really is.
Terrorism has, unfortunately, become so commonplace in our news headlines that the word itself has become a part of our everyday speech, like the way we casually say "soup Nazi" or "grammar Nazi." And when overzealous political correctness often creates an even interchange of "terrorist" with "militant," we are left with a decidedly weakened portrait of what Hamas represents.
The Oxford English Dictionary and other sites commonly define terrorism as, "The use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims." Note the word violence, which doesn't necessarily include murder. It sounds almost benign, doesn't it, along the lines of "shenanigans" or at most, "extreme sabotage?"
Similarly, the CIA defines it as, "Premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets." Interestingly, the FBI goes a step further in its more specific definition, while still including the integral political aspect, adding, "violent acts or acts dangerous to human life" and includes using "mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping."
So why are Hamas members murderers, and not "just" terrorists? Because unlike the commonly-accepted definition of terrorist, Hamas has no definitive political goals, save the destruction of Israel. They have no plans to build a productive nation, pursue business innovation or science research, or create an advanced society that contributes to the world. Their goal is violent jihad alone, and specifically jihad against Jews first, and then anyone else standing in Islam's way. Any assertions to the contrary, by them or their defenders, are outright lies, as evidenced by their own charter.
The Hamas charter is a document of intense religious dogma (or their twisted version of Islamic religious doctrine), not a declaration of independence or a first step to nation-building. Hamas has absolutely no interest in the kind of peaceful solutions or political compromise accepted by mature nations in conflict with one another. It doesn't get more clear than this:
Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement... There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.
The Hamas charter explicitly calls for violence and annihilation of Jews...for the mere sake of violence and annihilation of Jews:
The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.
By contrast, our own American Declaration of Independence calls for the "dissolving of the political bands which have connected them (one people) with another, and to assume...the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature...entitle them." There is no call for Britain's destruction, or the annihilation of the entire British people. And the assumption of separate but equal station between Palestinians and Israelis is literal anathema to Hamas, punishable by death.
Similarly, our Treaty of Paris with Britain, which ended the Revolutionary War, declares the intention of both parties to "forget all past misunderstandings and differences" and "secure to both perpetual peace and harmony". Mind you, that's after eight bloody years of devastating war. What are the chances of seeing similar kumbaya wording in a treaty with Hamas, who breaks even 12-hour cease-fire agreements?
Modern history has, unfortunately, seen far too many terrorist groups try to achieve their goals through murder of civilians. However, among the 58 groups listed by the U.S. State Department as official foreign terrorist organizations, Hamas certainly stands out for its blatant and cynical use of children and the sick and elderly as human shields for its own defense. Hamas stands out in purposely firing offensive weapons from schools and hospitals, knowing full-well it is instigating a deadly reprisal against those civilian areas. It welcomes the reprisal, so it can increase the world's sympathy for the deaths of its own people, however preventable. Hamas stands out for it's use of child-labor to build their tunnels of death, killing at least 160 children in the process, by their reportedly own admission.
So please, stop calling them terrorists, and certainly not militants or radicals. Call them murderers. The children of Gaza and Israel deserve no less.