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Special Dispatch-Palestinian Authority
November 9, 2006
Top Hamas Officials: “We Want [All of] Palestine, from the River to the Sea”; “Resistance and Jihad Are Legitimate”
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In the nine months since it came to power, and despite the PLO’s demands, Hamas has not changed its views: It refuses to recognize Israel or acknowledge its legitimacy, insists that previous Israeli-Palestinian peace agreements will be recognized only if they serve Palestinian interests, continues to lay claim to all of Palestine, and, in exchange for the establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, offers only a temporary hudna (ceasefire). In addition, Hamas continues to express reservations about the Arab peace initiative of 2002, and to support resistance, jihad, and abduction of Israeli soldiers.
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The following are statements made by Hamas leaders in the last two months:
Rejection of Israel and Its Legitimacy
In an interview, Palestinian Political Bureau head Khaled Mash’al told the daily Al-Hayat: “Why am I required to [recognize] the legitimacy of an occupying [entity] that is sitting on my land when there are millions of Palestinians who come from the land on which this entity is sitting? It is true that there is an entity called Israel, but I do not wish to recognize it.”(1)
At an October 20, 2006 Hamas convention in Khan Yunis, Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Al-Zahar stated that “Israel is a vile entity that has been planted in our soil, and has no historical, religious or cultural legitimacy. We cannot normalize our relations with this entity. The history of this region has proven [time and again] that occupation is temporary. Thousands of years ago, the Romans occupied this land and [eventually] left. The Persians, Crusaders, and English [also] came and went. The Zionists have come, and they too will leave. [We say] no to recognizing Israel, regardless of the price we may have to pay [for our refusal].”(2)
In a sermon in Khan Yunis, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya said: “Israel wants Hamas to hand it the card of recognition in the hope that this would lead to recognition by other Muslim countries. Israel may have been recognized by part of the Palestinian people and by some Arab countries. However, it [now] wants something more significant – the [trump] card of Islamic recognition – and it wants to obtain this recognition through the Palestinian government and Hamas…”(3)
Palestine From the River to the Sea
On the issue of a Palestinian state, Khaled Mash’al said: “The [Hamas] movement has agreed to [the establishment of a Palestinian] state within the 1967 borders and to a hudna… As a Palestinian, I am interested in a Palestinian state and I am not interested in the occupying state. Why do people require the Palestinians [to accept] the existence of two states as one of their principles and goals? The Zionist state exists. I [wish to] speak of my Palestinian state that does not exist. I am the one that has been denied [the right to] a state, to sovereignty, to independence, to liberty, and to self-determination. Therefore, my main [goal] is to focus on obtaining my rights. I wish to establish my state.”(4)
Mahmoud Al-Zahar said: “We [aim to liberate] all our lands… If we have the option, we will establish a state on every inch of land within the 1967 [borders], but this does not by any means imply that we will relinquish our right to all the Palestinian lands. We want all of Palestine from [Ras] Naqura to Rafah, and from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river.”(5)
An announcement issued by Hamas on the occasion of the anniversary of the Kafr Qasem massacre stated: “We will not relinquish a single grain of the soil of Kafr Qasem, or a single inch of stolen Palestinian land. Sooner or later, our people shall return to its land, to its cities and to its villages from which it was expelled…”(6)
On the 2002 Arab (Saudi) Peace Initiative
Hamas Political Bureau Head Musa Abu Marzouq said: “Hamas has serious reservations about the [Arab] initiative since it involves acceptance of two states, Palestine and Israel. Hamas rejects this because it means recognition of Israel.”(7)
Khaled Mash’al also referred to the same topic: “The interested parties [involved] in the Arab-Israeli conflict and in a [potential] settlement never took the Arab initiative seriously. The problem, therefore, does not lie with the initiative or with the Arab countries, but rather with the U.S. and Israel, which reject this initiative and wish to impose the Quartet’s terms on us. In the past, we were told that the [Arab] initiative is only a step [towards a goal]. Then, some of the Arab and Palestinian parties told us, officially, that accepting the Arab initiative is an important step in convincing the international community that [the Palestinians] accept the Quartet’s terms. So they are not interested in the initiative itself but in its end result. That is, [they are interested in the initiative] as a step on the way to accepting the Quartet’s terms.(8)
On the Legitimacy of Resistance and Jihad
In an October 6 speech Ismail Haniya said, “We [derive our] legitimacy from the legitimacy of the jihad. We are a government born from the womb of the resistance, from the womb of the martyrs… We are a government that comes out of resistance and jihad, and out of the desire for resistance and jihad against the Zionist occupation…”(9)
Khaled Mash’al said: “We do not regard our actions as terrorism or violence but as resistance that is legitimate, even according to international law, so I refuse [to use] any term that would imply self-criticism. It is the aggressor [i.e. Israel] that is perpetrating violence and terrorism. It is [Israel] that is employing every type of terrorism against people, against the land, against the holy places and against the [very] trees…As long as my people are in exile and my land is occupied, I have the legitimate right to resist… It is the American injustice and the Zionist aggression that cause terrorism and [create] the climate of terrorism… Had the international community offered us a way to obtain our rights without resistance we would have taken it, since resistance is only a means [for us], not an end.”(10)
(1) Al-Hayat (London), October 12, 2006.
(2) Al-Ayyam (PA), October 21, 2006.
(3) Al-Ayyam (PA) October 14, 2006.
(4) Al-Hayat (London), October 12, 2006.
(5) Al-Ayyam (PA), October 21, 2006.
(6) www.palestine-info.info , October 30, 2006.
(7) Al-Ayyam (PA), September 18, 2006.
(8) Al-Hayat (London), October 12, 2006.
(9) www.palestine-info.info , October 6, 2006.
(10) Al-Hayat (London), October 12, 2006.
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