With official reconciliation between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority expected to be finalised any day, there is little attention being paid to Hamas’s statements of their intentions. According to an analysis from the Gatestone Institute, Hamas is plainly stating that the Palestinian Unity Government will not renounce violence and will not recognize Israel’s right to exist.
Hamas’s two most senior representatives, Khaled Mashaal and Mahmoud Zahar, have both made it clear that their movement is planning to continue “resistance” actions against Israel even after the formation of the unity government. They also emphasized that Hamas has no intention of dismantling its military wing, Izaddin al-Qassam, as part of the unity accord.
“The reconciliation will actually consolidate the resistance … from one intifada to another until the liberation of Palestine,” says Mashaal, leader of the Hamas political bureau.
“Who is this crazy guy who would be able to go to the resistance groups and ask them to hand over their weapons?” asks Zahhar, senior representative of Hamas.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is trying to persuade the West to accept his recent unity accord with Hamas, especially as his Palestinian Authority is highly dependent on American and European financial aid.
Abbas, in his efforts to calm the U.S. Administration and EU governments, declared that the new Palestinian government would recognise Israel and reject violence.
His remarks, however, have been strongly denied by Hamas leaders, who say their movement intends to pursue “jihad” against Israel. Musa Abu Marzouk, deputy chairman of Hamas’s political bureau, announced that his movement would never recognise Israel. “This is a red line that cannot be crossed,” he said.
Zahar also disclosed that Hamas is planning to take advantage of the unity deal to move its terror attacks against Israel to the West Bank, and that Hamas will target Palestinians who “collaborate” with Israel. He said that Hamas would pursue the fight against Israel. “We believe in what was mentioned in the Quran: that Palestine, all of Palestine, will be liberated,” he added. “The Israeli entity should expect more from Hamas after our rockets reached Tel Aviv.”
Mashaal also vowed that Hamas will never abandon the armed struggle against Israel. “The reconciliation and politics are not an alternative to resistance,” he said. The reconciliation will actually consolidate the resistance. Our steadfast people are continuing to move from one revolution to another and from one intifada to another until the liberation of Palestine.”
The Hamas statements have caused little stir internationally. The EU on Wednesday announced that it was giving an additional €200 million in aid to the Palestinians, most of it directly to the Palestinian Authority.