He says Hamas has not helped itself by celebrating suicide bombings; he advises against celebration. And he has told Hamas leaders not to talk about destroying Israel.Many Europeans, as we've seen in the aftermath of the election, already believe this or choose to believe this, no matter what Hamas actually does or what it actually says (most of the Hamas leaders have emphatically not stuck to their 'new' message, which hasn't stopped Europeans talking about Hamas's 'political wing,' bending over backwards to find a way to continue supplying them with funds despite all the lip service, etc.). As for the rest, these messages are exactly what a majority of Westerners want to hear. If Hamas leaders ever do master them, Israel will be in real trouble.
"Abdel Aziz Rantisi [the former Hamas leader killed by Israel two years ago] was on television saying things that foreigners cannot accept, like we will remove Israel from the map. He should have talked about Palestinian suffering. He should have said we need this occupation ended. Foreigners will accept this," he said.
Mr Aqtash has also advised Hamas leaders to emphasise that they are not anti-semitic or against Israelis because they are Jews. Hamas has taken the message on board. In an interview earlier this week, Muhammad Abu Tir, who is second on the Hamas election list, twice (and unprompted) offered an assurance that he is not a Jew hater.
"Loving others is part of our religion. We are not against Jews as Jews, we are against oppression," he said.
The full absurdity of a terrorist group trying to 'improve its image', however, is brought home by this short list of pointers, which the Guardian helpfully provided, based on the PR consultant's advice:
The advice Nashat Aqtash gave to Hamas:Yup, especially that last one. Those red beards were always what terrified me most about Hamas!
· Say you are not against Israelis as Jews
· Don't talk about destroying Israel
· Do talk about Palestinian suffering
· Don't celebrate killing people
· Change beard colour (if red)