Hamas in Gaza: 'Armed confrontation will be backbone of the resistance'
Fri. 27 May 2011 @ 10.44
Head of Hamas international relations department who was hosted by Guardian to condemn PA as 'stooges', demands 'the return of the Israelis to the countries from which they came.'
Osama Hamdan, the head of Hamas' international relations department, used a television interview to clarify the Islamist organisation's intention to use violence against Israel, following its recent reconciliation with Fatah. According to Memri's translation of his appearance on 4 May, Hamdan argued that the new unity deal meant that 'all the Palestinian forces' would now 'operate within the single framework of confronting the Zionist entity':
'[I]t will be an armed confrontation, as well as all other forms of struggle, including civil Intifada against the occupation, against the wall, and against the Judaization of Jerusalem. There is no doubt, however, that the armed confrontation will continue to be the main effort and the backbone of the resistance, until the liberation of Palestine.'
Hamdan also clarified that the 'liberation of Palestine' did not mean the end of Israel's occupation of the West Bank 'I think that politically, the two-state solution is over' but, rather, the replacement of Israel's Jewish population with a Palestinian one:
'When we talk about the liberation of Palestine, we are talking about the notion of Return: the return of the refugees to their homeland, and the return of the Israelis to the countries from which they came.'
Notably, Hamdan's explanation of how the unity deal meant that both Hamas and Fatah would now be operating in a 'single framework' marks a far more conciliatory tone than his comment piece printed in The Guardian on 26 January, which decried the Palestinian Authority as 'stooges' who had 'betrayed the Palestinian cause' by negotiating with Israel. Just Journalism noted at the time that Hamdan had been given a platform by The Guardian despite his support for suicide bombings, and for the destruction of Israel:
'We are making the preparations for a confrontation. This is not because we need to be prepared for an Israeli act of aggression after all, aggression is intrinsic to this entity but because the final goal of the resistance is to wipe this entity off the face of the Earth. This goal necessitates the development of the capabilities of the resistance, until this entity is wiped out.'
Hamdan's comments represent only the latest in several recent threats against Israel by leading Hamas figures, including Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar stating that the group would never recognise Israel, de facto Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh arguing that 'the Zionist project in Palestine must end', and the recent television appearance by Hamas cleric Yunis Al-Astal, during which he predicted that:
'In just a few years, all the Zionists and the settlers will realize that their arrival in Palestine was for the purpose of the great massacre, by means of which Allah wants to relieve humanity of their evil.'
Despite Hamas' insistence that it refuses to recognise Israel and is as committed as ever to armed struggle, as clarified by these recent statements, The Guardian offered the group an in-print opinion piece this week, in which Musa Abumarzuq argued that Israel was the 'real spoiler for peace'.