• Fathi Hamad, Hamas Member of Parliament, to al-Aalam Iranian television in Arabic, 15 March 2007: (prior to the swearing-in of the Palestinian Unity government):
"Hamas rejects the Arab [peace] initiative and wants Palestine from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea. If today Israel cannot be beaten militarily, it will be possible in the future."
• Dr. Ismail Radwan, Hamas spokesman in Gaza, to Hamas TV, 3 April 2007:
"Hamas is readying itself for the entry of the IDF into Gaza and there is no point in calming the area while the IDF continues to operate in Gaza and the West Bank. All factions, all military groups must be ready for real battle when the IDF escalates the situation."
• Dr. Mahmud al-Zahhar, Hamas leader in Gaza,to Hamas TV, 3 April 2007:
"Entry to the capital means the state falls. Entry to Al Aqsa Mosque means entry to Jerusalem, it means the fall of that state that sees Jerusalem as its capital. Entry there will be victorious."
• Sami Abu-Zuhri, Hamas leader in Gaza, to Hamas TV, 6 April 2007:
"These are the founding Hamas principles on which we raise our children and in which we believe:
- Armed resistance
- Non-recognition of the occupation in any form
- All Palestine from the river to the sea
- The holy places and Jerusalem
- The right of return
Additional statements by Hamas leaders against Israel after the formation of the Palestinian coalition government:
1. Khalid Mash’al. Head of the Hamas Politbureau, at a rally marking the third anniversary of the death of Sheikh Yaseen:
"The Hamas movement has sacrificed Yihya Ayyash, Jamal Mansur, Salah Shehadah and others. Hamas has sacrificed all these but will not retreat from its course, whatever the doubts that others may express. We shall never give up an inch of the fatherland nor any of our rights nor any part of our land… We shall go the way of resistance, which is not a straight line but means blows, clashes, one round after another, attacks and withdrawals. The course is to Palestine, to cleanse Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa. This is our way against the occupation, Hamas was and always will be strong in Jihad (holy war) and Istish-had (suicide bombings)." (Al-Jazeera 6 April)
2. Mash’al at the Jerusalem Conference in Algeria:
"There are some signs of unrest among the Arabs, which is still in an early, partial stage. This awakening comes after the failure of earlier attempts, after the Arabs saw what became of the options they had relied upon; there is the start of an awakening. People feel that there is no choice but to be firm, this is a beginning to build upon, especially now that we have leaders whom we hope will call for firmness and an end to any new concessions. The Arab and Islamic national resistance has shown its capabilities. It has succeeded in standing firm in Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon. In Palestine its success has been partial, in Lebanon it has been open, and we pray for its success in Iraq." (Al-Aqsa TV 29 March)
3. Mash’al on "Land Day":
"The strategic aims of the Hamas movement start with resistance [i.e. – terrorism] from which it will not swerve. Any talk about Hamas having abandoned resistance in exchange for being in government is a losing bet. Any withdrawal in Hamas military operations is not due to a political decision but is part of the rules of struggle against the occupation. Resistance comes in waves, attacks, retreats, ups and downs, Hamas remains true to its oath and the path of resistance… The Mecca agreement and the establishment of a unity government do not mean that the platforms (of Palestinian factions) have been united and that Hamas is now Fatah or vice versa, but rather that we have agreed on a common plan of action with each faction retaining its ideas and policy." (Pal-Media, Falastin Alan-internet, 29 March)
4. Mash’al prior to the Arab summit:
"It is time the Arabs fixed a strategy, we shall not agree to concessions. The series of concessions must be stopped. There will be no concessions on Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa or the right of return. … None of the cards of violence must be lost, we must keep the option of resistance in Palestine. That way is not dead." (A-Shuruq al-Yawmi, Algeria, 26 March)
5. Prime Minister Isma’il Haniyya in an interview to the Saudi paper Al-Jazeera, (2 April) regarding the recognition of Israel:
"As far as we are concerned, this is settled once and for all. It is settled in our political literature, in our Islamic thought and it is settled in our Jihadist culture on the basis of which we make our moves. The issue of recognizing the Israelis is out of the question."
"We have been advocating the establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as capital and the return of the refugees. For this we will declare a truce, not recognition of Israel. This is our view in Hamas."
About the Arab initiative he stated:
"The Arab summit has adopted the Arab initiative as it stands and it as not been amended. This initiative has received Arab unanimity and we do respect that but we have our own opinion… We do have a position regarding the clause about recognizing this initiative."
Regarding a Palestinian state he declared:
"The concept of the Palestinian State is clear in our view:
Palestine with its borders and legitimate heritage. However we do not have a problem within the government in this phase. We have agreed to set up a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, we are telling everybody that we have an objective for this phase."
"If the siege goes on for another two or three months, I state clearly that we shall reexamine our options, decide on our path and take a decision to protect our honour, our interests and our feelings." (Ramtan TV 30 March)
He further threatened: "If the Palestinian people do not see the siege lifted by a certain time, and money coming in, to pay salaries and cover vital needs, certainly our people and leaders will have many options before them." (Palestinian TV, Reuters 28 March)
"Israel does not intend to stop its aggression against Palestine. Murders, mass arrests and destruction of houses still take place. Israel attacks all our legitimate rights. Therefore our government affirms that all resistance to occupation by all methods is the legitimate right of the Palestinian people." (Novsimaya gazeta, 19 March)
8. Former Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmud a-Zahhar:
"We saw the Oslo Agreement as a political mistake… Who says we stopped the resistance? That is propaganda by those who never believed in resistance. Have we stopped making weapons? Have we thrown down our arms? Why is Israel talking about the possibility of invading Gaza? Is it because there is no resistance? Resistance has aims which can be temporary or permanent. One of the temporary aims is to remove the occupation from part of the occupied territories. We in Gaza evicted the occupation through resistance. What is needed now is for the resistance to act in all occupied areas such as Jerusalem and use all means possible."
"The West Bank is still occupied and there resistance must be resumed with full force, the West Bankers must do their duty… We object completely to the idea of a general calming of the situation." (A-Sabeel, Jordan, 10 April)
9. In a series of interviews at the end of March and early April (PalMedia 31 March, Falastin Alan – internet – 1 April, Al-Aqsa TV and Al haqiqa a-Dawliyah 4 April), A-Zahhar stressed the difference between the principles of Hamas and those of the unity government:
In his opinion, government guidelines are good for only 3 years (until the next elections in 2010) but Hamas principles will last longer, and no concessions had been made by Hamas. He stated that the Hamas platform as an Islamist movement is quite different from the guidelines of any government. Referring to the question of "respecting agreements" (made by the PLO with Israel) to which Hamas had (presumably) subscribed, he clarified that it did not mean that Hamas recognized those agreements or was obligated to carry them out.
On the question of the borders of the Palestinian state he said:
"Permanent borders meant recognition of Israel, while temporary borders meant just a cease fire or a de facto situation. We say that even if we get 99% of Palestine we shall consider that to be within temporary borders… We differentiate between the aim and the method, historic Palestine is the aim, negotiation is a method."
Regarding the Arab initiative he said:
"The Arab initiative has set conditions that Israel will never be able to accept, such as the 1967 borders. Israel will never leave Jerusalem through negotiation. They reject the right of return.
Q: But there is a hypothetical danger in the Arab initiative, namely, if Israel does oblige, will you recognise it?
A: That is a danger. If we say there is a readiness for recognition, then we are not consistent and Israel will gain without giving anything up. Hamas objects to the Arab initiative and there is a difference between its policy and that of the government. We shall never grant legitimacy to the occupation.
A-Zahhar asserted that Hamas had been able to prevent two large Moslem countries from normalizing their relations with Israel.
He also claimed Hamas was more popular among the Palestinians since the deaths in 2004 of Rantisi and Yaseen and so was able to counter the PLO “policy of concessions."
As to claims that Hamas had lessened its resistance operations since coming to power, a-Zahhar said it was not a tactic and stressed that if resistance ends, so will Hamas. "We have not stopped resisting, we are just resting awhile" and he added that if Israel "entered al-Aqsa" it would be her downfall….
A-Zahhar said he did not oppose talks with Israel but said "experience with negotiations had been difficult. Someone misspoke and said negotiation was a strategic choice whereas it was just a means, not an aim. We can talk to Israel as we are doing today, indirectly, with Egypt as a mediator, to exchange prisoners, so talks are not forbidden, but should not be an aim."
10. The Hamas spokesman, Isma’il Radwan, gave a virulent sermon in the Gaza Mosque on Friday 30 March (Palestine TV) in the course of which he urged fighting and killing the Jews
He quoted from the Hadith (sayings attributed to the prophet Muhammad) declaring:
"Judgment Day will come when the Moslems kill the Jews." He alleged that the repairs Israel is carrying out near the Mugrabi Ramp in Jerusalem (note: work necessitated by a natural landslide after heavy rains) were designed to destroy the Mugrabi Gate (note: leading to al-Aqsa Mosque) and rebuild the [Jewish] Temple.
Calling for Jihad (holy war) to defend al-Aqsa. Radwan said that Palestine and Al-Aqsa would not be liberated by conferences, international decisions or negotiations, but by the gun, because the occupation only recognized force. He concluded by saying that honor will not be regained for Palestine nor its liberation attained without Jihad as foretold by Allah in the Quran.
Hamas leaders continue to deny Israel’s right to exist
The establishment of the new Palestinian unity government has in no way mitigated the extremist attitude of the Hamas movement towards Israel. In public comments and declarations, Hamas officials continue to vilify and demonize Israel, and deny its right to exist.
Ideologically, the Hamas movement does not view itself as being restricted in any way by its membership in the unity government. Consequently, Hamas leaders made a point of stating publicly that the movement does not intend to recognize Israel and will continue to seek its annihilation.
– Fathi Hammed:
In an 15 March interview on "El-Alaam", Iran’s Arabic-language TV, Fathi Hammad, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, condemned FM Livni’s call to the Arab countries to normalize their relations with Israel. Hammad said that FM Livni’s alleged call is a disaster for the Palestinian people. They cannot accept it – not as Palestinians, not as Arabs and not as Moslems – as in effect this means they must accept Israel’s presence in the region as a natural presence that they must cooperate with, which according to him is incomprehensible.
Hammad added that a Palestinian recognition of Israel as a state would in effect put an end to their basic demands – i.e. the liberation of Palestine and the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the restoration of all Palestinian rights. He called on all Arab states to resist FM Livni’s call for normalization, as this would destroy the Palestinian cause. Even in the event Arab countries do accept this concept of normalization, they, the Hamas, will resist it with all their force, he declared.
Hammad emphasized that Hamas opposes the Arab League peace initiative, which he claimed explicitly recognizes the State of Israel as a substitute for the ‘State of Palestine’ and Palestinians. He further added that Hamas would continue to oppose the Arab initiative until it is changed to accord wdith Hamas principles, replacing the achievement of lasting peace with the declaration of a cease-fire for a limited number of years. Anything different from this is unacceptable. ‘We want Palestine from the Sea to the River; if we are unable to liberate it at present, then it will be liberated by future generations, with the help of Allah. If there are some Arab countries that are unable to reach a decisive victory in this time, they will try again in the future.’
Hammad further claimed that Hamas reunited Palestinians in the National Agreement memorandum of June 2006 under the flag of a Palestine liberated from the ‘Sea to the River’. The memorandum is one of the foundation documents of the Palestinian unity government’s political platform.
‘Mark my words’, Hamad warned. ‘A Palestinian intifada will start within three years. It will spread throughout the Arab world and the Islamic arena. The intifada will come to a close only upon the destruction of Israel. Israel will be destroyed no later than 15 years from now. The Arabs have the desire and the ability. There is a very strong movement of political activism, of Jihad activism, of Islamic activism and popular education activism, which is creating an unstoppable tidal wave….’ (Note: Khaled Mashal, Chairman of the Hamas political bureau, has threatened a third intifada in the past).
With regard to acceptance of prior PLO-Israel agreements, as required by the Quartet, Hammad said: How can these agreements be accepted, when they do not protect Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa from Jewish settlement and destruction, and do not prevent the destruction of Al-Aqsa, do not respect the right of return to ‘Palestine’, and do not constitute the minimum Palestinian rights?
– Mahmoud A-Zahar
Mahmoud A-Zaher, the outgoing Palestinian Foreign Minister, was shown on Al-Jazeera TV (17 March) speaking before the Legislative Council saying, ‘Our organizational program does not accept the term "permanent borders", as this will mean in effect recognition of Israel, and the movement has not announced this position.’
– Fawzi Barhom
In an interview with Al-Aqsa TV (17 March) Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhom was asked to explain Prime Minister Haniyeh’s remarks regarding the continuation of the ‘resistance’ (a euphemism for terrorism). Barhom said that Haniyeh meant that resistance was a legitimate right of the Palestinian people, and that it included public and popular resistance in addition to all the other forms of resistance. He emphasized that so long as there was an occupation, there would be resistance, and that everyone understands how important this is to the Palestinian people.
– Mussa Abu-Marzuk
Deputy Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau, Mussa Abu-Marzuk, emphasized that Hamas will not participate in any meeting with Israelis. When asked how it is possible to contend with Israel’s refusal to recognize the new Palestinian government, he responded by saying that one way would be to use all available means to implement the Palestinian resistance plan until the Palestinians achieve their goals. (Syrian TV, 17 March)
– Osama Hamdan
Osama Hamdan, the Hamas representative in Lebanon, was asked if the establishment of the Palestinian unity government was a sign that the resistance was over. His reply was that the opposite was true, as the unity government enables the consolidation of a unified resistance position. He added that there are now real expectations from the resistance. (Syrian TV, 16 March)
– Official Hamas announcements
On 18 March, Hamas published an official announcement on its website stating that ‘the platform of the Palestinian unity government was drafted as a consensus of all Palestinian factions, and is totally different from the Hamas platform.’ The statement added further that ‘no change, permutation, confusion or obfuscation has occurred in the Hamas platform. There is no neglect of rights or basic principles, and there is no recognition of the legitimacy of the occupation.’
In this statement, the Hamas calls upon the unity government ‘to extend all possible aid to the resistance in order to help contend with the endless Zionist aggression against our people everywhere’. The statement ends with the declaration: ‘Jihad until victory or a martyr’s death.’
Mashie Al-Mazri, a Hamas member of the Palestinian legislative committee referred to the statement (Al-Aqsa TV, 18 March), stating, ‘The platform decided on by the Palestinian unity government is the lowest common denominator regarding basic principles. These basic principles were agreed upon by all the Palestinian forces. The Hamas program, on the other hand, is consistently clear as it appears in its Covenant and its strategic decisions, and there is no question of abandoning it at any stage. The basic principles of the unity government are merely temporary principles.’