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‘Non-recognition of Israel a Hamas founding principle’

Maandag, Mei 8, 2006

Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), May 8, 2006.

In an interview posted April 24, 2006 on the Muslim Brotherhood’s
English-language website ( www.ikhwanweb.com ), Moussa Abu Marzouk,
deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau, reiterates Hamas’s commitment to the
resistance, and states that recognizing Israel is not on the movement’s agenda.
The following are excerpts from the interview.(1)

We reject the impractical peace initiatives

Ikhwanweb: “There are statements attributed to Mr. Khaled Mesha’al indicating
that Hamas will recognize Israel if it withdraws to the 1967 borders. Your

Abu Marzouk: “One of Hamas’s founding principals is that it does not recognize
Israel. We [participated in] the elections and the people voted for us based on
this platform. Therefore, the question of recognizing Israel is definitely not on
the table unless it withdraws from ALL the Palestinian lands, not only to the
1967 borders. How can we be expected to recognize an occupying entity when
millions of our people are refugees, and thousands of others are prisoners!?
Why must we recognize them when they do not recognize us as a sovereign
state with full independence?”

Ikhwanweb: “Is there any pressure on Hamas by Arab countries, and especially
Egypt, to recognize Israel?”

Abu Marzouk: “Frankly, they have not asked us to do so. However, they have
asked us to recognize the Arab peace initiatives, which include recognition of
Israel. We, in Hamas, have rejected these impractical initiatives, and even Israel
itself has done the same. Hamas sees these pressures as aiming to lower the
upper limit of the Palestinian demands to the lowest possible level.”

We will coordinate with all factions to rally the Palestinian people around the
Resistance as a strategic option

Ikhwanweb: “…[Is] Hamas declaring a truce [with Israel]?”

Abu Marzouk: “That is not necessarily true… The political situation requires
certain maneuvers at some levels. The resistance is Hamas’s agenda, and we
will coordinate in the upcoming period with all the factions in order to rally the
Palestinian people around the resistance as a strategic option. We will work to
set forth an integrated agenda for resistance, which will include [action against]
the settlements and the segregation wall in order to establish a sovereign and
viable Palestinian state.”

Ikhwanweb: “With the Israelis [making] almost daily raids on the Palestinians,
and most of the Palestinian factions responding, the Qassam Brigades (Hamas’s
Military arm) have been missing in action. What happened?”

Abu Marzouk: “The Qassam Brigades are present, and its forces are being
developed in a [satisfactory manner]. However, the current political conditions
require a specific environment, and our brothers in the Qassam Brigades are
bound by the same policy and act [according to] the Hamas platform.”

Ikhwanweb: “What are the boundaries that govern the relationship between
Hamas and the different Palestinian factions?”

Abu Marzouk: “There is no doubt [that] Hamas has good relations with the rest
of the Palestinian factions. There is always room for all of us in our big
‘Palestinian [Home].’ The Hamas government will not allow a rift among
Palestinians, and its policy is to get our internal affairs in order and unite all the
Palestinian factions within the framework of a united Palestinian people…”

The current policy of the Europeans towards the Palestinian government will
eventually change

Ikhwanweb: “Some media reports have it that the Norwegian government will
welcome a visit from a Hamas delegate. Do you consider this decision as the
beginning of European openness toward the Hamas government?”

Abu Marzouk: “We are assured that the current policy of the European
governments towards the Palestinian government will eventually change,
because it is simply wrong and irrational. It is unreasonable to punish the
Palestinian people for their democratic choice. We should not forget that the
E.U. has always played a major role in the Palestinian Issue, so it is not
uncommon for them to fulfill their human responsibilities toward the Palestinian
people. Meanwhile, we value and appreciate the Russian government’s role and
the position of the new Italian Prime Minister. Therefore, the welcoming
[attitude] of the Norwegian government is an indication that the siege on the
Palestinian people has begun to [let up].”

Ikhwanweb: “What is your assessment of the latest tour by Palestinian Foreign
Minister Dr. [Mahmoud] Al-Zahhar, after witnessing the discouraging positions
taken by some Arab countries like Egypt and Jordan?”

Abu Marzouk: “I believe that this question is better answered by Dr. Al-Zahhar
himself. He informed us that, overall, his tour was very successful, thank God.
He was received very well in all the countries he visited, and it was an
encouraging tour. Rest assured that there is an [entire] (Muslim and Arab)
nation supporting the Palestinian people and rallying behind its elected

The Hamas government will shift the Palestine issue to a framework of national

Ikhwanweb: “And your comments on the Jordanian government’s attitude?”

Abu Marzouk: “We regret the statements made by the Jordanian government
against Hamas. However, what was said about the [arrest] of Hamas [members]
in Jordan is unfounded. It is Hamas policy NOT to [take] its armed struggle
beyond the occupied Palestinian territories. [The fact is] that the Jordanian
government initially wanted to postpone Dr. Al-Zahhar’s visit, but he refused.”

Ikhwanweb: “What does the future hold for Hamas, [with] the mounting
international pressure?”

Abu Marzouk: “I believe that the formation of a Hamas government is, in itself,
a major turning point in the history of the Palestinian cause. The Hamas
government will help to transition the Issue of Palestine from its international
framework to a framework of national resistance. The Palestinian people will
stand resolute and support their democratic choice. I truly believe that Hamas
will succeed, God willing, [thanks to] the steadfastness of the Palestinian
people and the support of our Muslim and Arab nation.”

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