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Hamas Political Head: Calming Down is Just a Trick Within the Resistance Plan; Hamas Does Not Object to the ’67 Borders as an Interim Solution

MEMRI April 19, 2005

A convention held by the Egyptian newspaper “Al-Ahram,” which was attended
by writers and experts on Palestinian affairs following the Palestinian Cairo
agreement on calming down the situation [ Tahdiah ], also hosted the head of
the Hamas political bureau, Khaled Mash’al. Speaking at the convention,
Mash’al stated that the Tahdiah was a trick and that the resistance will continue
as long as the occupation exists. Mash’al also expressed concern about the PA
and Fatah taking over settlement lands after the withdrawal and stated that
in the eyes of Hamas, there is no objection to the establishment of a
Palestinian state within the 1967 borders as an interim solution. The following are
excerpts from Mash’al’s speech: _[1] _

(http://memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD89405#_edn1)

We Agreed to the Tahdiah to Prevent an Internal Palestinian Implosion

“We have made an achievement in the Palestinian arena… We wanted to avoid
the internal Palestinian implosion that Sharon wanted. He [Sharon] wished for
dissent [among us] so that he [could] pressure Abu Mazen to confront the
resistance… [With our consent] we avoided it. Our second goal was to send a
message to the international community that the problem does not lie with the
Palestinian people or the Palestinian resistance, [but rather] with the
occupation… Our third goal was to give a chance and headspace to set the
Palestinian house in order… Fourth, we strived to achieve, through the temporary
initiative of Tahdiah, a chance to fulfill the Palestinian peoples’ direct
interests, such as releasing prisoners…

“… Every term has a special meaning, and our choice [of the term] Tahdiah
is not incidental. A Hudna [cease fire] is an agreement whose terms are
acceptable to both sides, but in the current situation there are no such terms.
The Palestinian side is the weak one… we treat this Tahdiah as a Palestinian
initiative conditional to the other side fulfilling the terms…

“\u2026 Hamas controls its military wing… and despite that fact that it is one
of the largest factions of the resistance, it is highly capable of keeping
its men disciplined. Tahdiah means Tahdiah [and when you talk of] escalation,
there is escalation. There is a commitment and it is honored… In the eyes
of Hamas, Tahdiah is a trick within the resistance plans, [but] in the eyes of
the [Palestinian] Authority, Tahdiah is a step on the way out of the
resistance plan… but we still give it a chance… we can be patient and suffer,
but not from the perspective of those who want to be free of the Intifada…”

Hamas Has Never Carried Out an Operation Whose Purpose Was to Sabotage

Diplomatic Plans

“… Regarding the nature of the struggle, we know and understand that the
international arena does not accept harming civilians… but the existence of
the occupation requires resistance… Hamas is not in power and it operates
according to the public’s state of mind. If the public would shun the
resistance, Hamas could not uphold it. We respect the public, for if not, why would
we have accepted this Tahdiah now?…

“… Hamas’s project is the resistance. [History] has not seen an occupation
end without resistance… every negotiation devoid of resistance is
useless… Hamas will become a political body only after an independent state is
established. As long as there is occupation, it [Hamas] will combine the
resistance with political activity…

“… We do not deny that when Hamas acts decisively, it often hurts the
security and policy [of the PLO]. [We] make mistakes and we do not deny them.
However, there are issues in which the Palestinians are not done justice, for
example, the [the criticism of Hamas regarding] the timing of operations. Hamas
has never carried out an operation whose purpose was to sabotage diplomatic
plans. I do not want to take responsibility for the failure of plans that I
am convinced were doomed [anyway]… I [myself] often do not approve of the
timing of a certain operation, but can’t control it due to the circumstances
in the field. Hizbullah for example, have control because they are at the
front [and can determine whether] to attack a certain target on a certain day or
not… the opposition factions find it difficult to control the timing [of
operations]…”

I Told Abu Mazen: “Beware, Less They Poison You as They Did Arafat”
“… As we draw near the end of the summer and the end of 2005, the
following atmosphere will be created: The [diplomatic] settlement will be ‘refrozen,’
and one cannot deny the possibility that Sharon will blame Abu Mazen for
being the obstacle for peace, just as Abu Ammar [Arafat] was considered one. Abu
Mazen heard this from me, laughed, and said that ‘this is a predictable and
unsurprising scenario.’ I replied: Beware, less they poison you as they did
Arafat…

“… I cannot be satisfied with the 1967 borders alone and see them as a
permanent solution… A Palestinian might say: ‘Who gave you the right to forego
the rights of Palestinians?’ So Abu Mazen himself says, in his talks: ‘I
cannot forego the right of return.’ It will be his political suicide, for there
are 5-6 million whose problem must be solved. However, Hamas has no objection
to accept the 1967 borders as an interim solution.

“… Is there ambiguity about Hamas’s position regarding the future of the
Palestinian state? [Does Hamas want] a democratic state or a bi-national one?
We want a democratic state… in the religious aspect, we will not impose
anything on the people, and we do not want fanaticism or extremism. As for a
bi-national state, I understand the concept, but the meaning of a bi-national
state is that you, the weaker side, ask for equal rights. I can ask for this
for one hundred years, and we already have experience with the 1948
Palestinians [Israeli-Arab citizens]. A bi-bational [state] is not a practical solution
and in the end [Palestinians will be annexed] to an occupation state…”

When Israel Withdraws From Gaza, There Will Be a Period of Rioting Over the
Loot

“… There is concern that a conflict will break out over the loot [in the
settlements that Israel will withdraw from in Gaza]. The main fear isn’t from
the public at large, but from the PA personnel \u2013 those who are supposed to be
the guardians [of the assets] are themselves the thieves. All those who took
land [without a permit] and built shacks on them on the beaches of Gaza are
men from the [Palestinian] Authority and the [Palestinian] security forces.
Therefore, there is an agreement among all Palestinian bodies that the Fatah
or the PA will have no sole right on these lands. I fear that if Israel
withdraws from Gaza, and it must, there will be a period of rioting or problems
resulting from a conflict over the loot and control [and the question] of who
will fill the void… Hamas will not be part of this conflict, but it will not
let the decision in Gaza be a monopoly of one body. It will insist on being
a partner with others…”


_[1] _ (http://memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD89405#_ednref1) Al-Ahram
(Egypt), March 30, 2005.

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