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"
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.
TO VIEW CLIPS FROM THE MEMRI TV PROJECT ON HAMAS, SEE:
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
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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