The Palestinian legislative elections held on January 25, 2006, in which Hamas won a majority of votes, appear to be a political earthquake. The Atlantist media make efforts to demonize Hamas. In order to have objective information, Voltaire Network offers a long interview with the spokesperson of this Muslim movement. In his answers to Silvia Cattori, Moshir al Masri introduces a resistance movement against a situation of extreme violence that has nothing to do with the fanaticism they are accused of.
Silvia Cattori : After the assassination in 2004 of Sheikh Yassin, the spiritual leader of Hamas, Israeli authorities justified his elimination by saying that he was the Palestinian Bin Laden. They spread the rumor that Hamas had links with Al Qaeda. Abroad, when journalists speak of Hamas they generally do it to present its members as “terrorists” and not like resistance militants.
You were criticized for your rejection of the Oslo Accords although the facts have proven you right. The widespread idea is that “Hamas does not accept the existence of Israel… that no Jew will be able to stay in Palestine… that every Jew is a target and that he or she should be eliminated.” What do you have to say to those who accuse you of wanting to “throw Jews into the sea” and of opposing “Israel’s right to exist?” Can you clarify your political position regarding these topics?
Moshir al-Masri : First, let me express our gratefulness to all foreign journalists who share the suffering and sadness of the Palestinian people, who have a human conscience, who defend our people and who understand the injustices committed against us. Thanks to all journalists, men and women, who work in a professional, objective and honest way, without yielding to the pro-Israeli tendency.
As to our opposition to the existence of Israel and the presence of Jews in Palestine, let us make a distinction between Jews as such, that is, the followers of a religion, whom we respect and with whom we share honourable ties in Muslim history, and the current occupation of our territory.
So, the problem is not with the Jews. We welcome Jews who want to live with us – this is a position that has always existed in the history of Islam, even during the time of our Prophet Mohammed. The problem is the forced occupation of our land.
Thus, our resistance is legal in virtue of all laws and international regulations. In addition, like in almost every revolution around the world, it aims at finishing with the occupation of a territory. That happened in Europe and in the Americas and, thus, we have the right to defend ourselves and to expel the invaders from our homeland.
It is said that Hamas wants to “throw the Jews into the sea”. Those are false and unfounded allegations. We respect Judaism as a religion and Jews as human beings. However, we oppose an occupation that drives us out of our lands and attacks us using terrible weapons against our Palestinian people.
That is why we can not accept the occupation. Let me give you an example: a man owns a house but somebody comes and occupies his house. Later, the thief agrees to give a small room to the rightful owner of the house during what he calls “negotiations” saying that “the rest belongs to me”. Can anyone accept that situation? Can anyone accept to be thrown out of his own house and later accept that the house belongs to the one who stole it? Can anyone accept having to negotiate with the thief to try to recover a small room while having to accept his accusations? And what if, in addition, the thief kills your children, destroys your crops and damages your means of subsistence?
No, no religion accepts that nor does anyone in his right mind.
S.C. : In 2003 I interviewed Dr. Rantissi; you were not forced to live hiding at that time. Things got considerably worse since then: Hamas is on the black list of “terrorist” organizations and Dr. Rantissi was assassinated en 2004 like many important leaders.
What is your opinion about the fact that no organization or western country takes into account the seriousness of Israel’s violation of international law while you are regarded as enemies? What do you think about Israel’s complete disregard for international law while it ignores the principles of justice and human life and has violated more than 65 resolutions of the UN Security Council?
Moshir al-Masri: As to the listing of Hamas as a “terrorist” group, I have to say that it is clear that it is a groundless and unacceptable classification.
Hamas carries out an honourable and balanced resistance. It is unacceptable to say that it is a “terrorist” movement. We are not “terrorists”, we do no advocate assassination, we do not steal anything from anyone and we are not the invaders. Then, why do they say we are terrorists?
We defend ourselves from raids, arrests, selective assassination and the use by Israel of terrible weapons to cause damage among civilians. We have the right to defend ourselves.
But it is clear that the United States openly supports Israel.
In addition, there is Europe’s weakness towards the US position. We see a European complicity with Israel, based on the pro-Israeli alignment of the US administration.
We urge citizens from around the world to re-examine the nature of the Palestinian-Zionist conflict and to understand that, in light of the truce that we observed and which the Israelis violated, the problem does not lie in the Palestinian people and their legitimate resistance, but in the aggression of which our people are victims.
S.C. : After any action of non-violent resistance, Israel responds sending its bombers. You are aware of the fact that Israel harasses us, so that we make mistakes that may justify the use of force before the eyes of the world. Faced with Israel’s power, which has carte blanche for the massacre, isn’t it a suicide for us to try to respond with weapons?
Moshir al-Masri: As to the so-called “balance of forces”, let us insist on the fact that no occupied country has, due to the fact that it is fighting a military occupation, a favorable force correlation. If there were a balance of forces, the invader could not maintain the country and its people under its occupation.
It is clear that such a balance of forces does not exist and that we are in a disadvantaged position. But this position has to do only with the number of weapons, not with our determination and our willingness to resist and to face Israel’s ultramodern and sophisticated weapons. Our will can move mountains. Justice is on our side and we are willing to sacrifice everything, and I’m not exaggerating when I say “everything”, to enforce our violated rights.
Thus, we will gradually create this balance of forces… Since the beginning, the Intifada has changed its military tactics, going from one way of action to another, in order to effectively hit the enemy and to stop its permanent aggression against our people.
S.C. : What was Yasser Arafat’s policy towards Hamas? What is Abu Mazen’s policy today?
Moshir al-Masri : The policy of the late Abu Hammar [Yasser Arafat] – God rest his soul! – was fluctuating, it changed from time to time.
But in 1996, the Palestinian National Authority implemented an arrogant and arbitrary policy against Hamas, putting its militants and leaders in prison and persecuting them; they even put Sheikh Ahmad Yassin under house arrest. We were patient and we cured our wounds – not because we were weak but because we respect Palestinian blood and because we want to preserve national unity.
However, there was a time when the relation between Abu Ammar and Hamas was solid and there was interaction. As we see, that was not a one-colour relation.
On the contrary, it had varied nuances. As to our relation with President Abu Mazen [Mahmud Abas], he is, thus far, a weak man. We have reached agreements with him on many topics but they have not materialized and, until now, it is impossible to make an accurate evaluation of his policy. First, because not enough time has passed so as to make such evaluation but, above all, because Abu Mazen has not implemented any project in the Palestinian context that may allow us to make a judgment…
S.C. : More than 650 000 Palestinians have been in Israeli prisons and many of them have been tortured. Today, there are 9200 Palestinian prisoners in Israel. As you know, the Shabak police uses sophisticated techniques to degrade them, humiliate them and turn them into collaborators. It is amazing that the Palestinian Authority did not demand their immediate release as a condition for any negotiation! Hundreds of militants of Hamas and the Jihad have been arrested during the last months in the West Bank.
Could these massive arrests and killings take place without the Palestinian security services’ cooperation with the Shin Bet?
Moshir al-Masri : As to the arrests and the “selective” assassinations, we have to say that they could have not been carried out without the cooperation of the Palestinian security services with the Shin Bet.
We affirm that there has been a pact through which the Palestinian Authority surrendered to the Israeli enemy and that, according to the terms of this pact, there was a security coordination that led the Palestinian context to a dead end and internal disagreements. The arrests, the manhunts, and the house arrests against Hamas militants could only be imposed thanks to security cooperation between Palestinian and Israeli officials.
It is clear that there is a network of traitors who come and go freely in Palestine. They play a crucial and direct role in the Israeli elimination operations. The same happens with the incursions and raids.
Unfortunately, the Palestinian Authority has not been able to comply with their responsibilities in this aspect and we have not wanted to take care of this work of public order to avoid the emergence of internal disagreements among Palestinians and to not have them say that we were in state within the state.
We only aim our weapons at those who attack us and the Palestinian justice will have to face its responsibilities and solve all internal problems.
It is clear that the Palestinian Authority has bounded its hands and feet by signing accords that prevent us from persecuting traitors who allow the killing of our citizens by revealing to the occupying forces the hideouts of Palestinians who are being persecuted because they are members of the resistance, who end up arrested or, more frequently, killed.
S.C. : It is well known that the Palestinian Authority, after putting its people in an impossible position by calling them to end the armed struggle before achieving national independence and later by signing “two-party” accords with Israel, eliminated the term “Israeli enemy” from its vocabulary. Recently, the term “right to return” was also eliminated from the vocabulary of Palestinian leaders, who now speak of a “solution for refugees” but not of rights.
Meanwhile, lots of money come into Abu Mazen’s coffers. Is it just coincidence? Is that money destined to buy a political elite and a middle class that are willing to renounce the national struggle for independence? What is Hamas’s current position toward the Palestinian Authority?
Moshir al-Masri : As to the modification of the terminology and the use, or prohibition, of the expression “Israeli enemy”, the Palestinian Authority acted, along with the Israeli enemy, in accordance with a security pact between both parties to eliminate many concepts and to try to erase them from the minds of various generations of Palestinians. But the blessed Intifada of Al-Aqsa gave validity to these definitions and concepts, even more than before, which is mainly due to the very actions of the invaders, such as their crimes and horrible massacres committed against our people.
Yes, the weakness of the actions of the Palestinian Authority is evident in many aspects. And, like by chance, its leaders are the ones who try to change the vocabulary. But the concepts of the people are not the concepts of the Authority representatives.
The same happens regarding the issue of the Palestinian refugees’ right to return. When a Palestinian official speaks of “solving the ‘problem’ of the refugees”, you can see an exorbitant concession on their part... We are speaking here of millions of people (more than five million Palestinians), who had to go into exile or were expelled, who are living in almost all countries of the world and who have the right to return to their homes, their land, the homeland they were forced to leave.
These are the terms that the people and the militants use. What some Palestinian leaders say does not represent the feelings of all Palestinians.
S.C. : The Congress for the “Right to Return” that met in Nazareth in December 2005, sent a warning to those who want to impose the recognition of the State of Israel as a Jewish state and to ignore the right to return. Is this right still an “inalienable right” for you impossible to renounce?
Moshir al-Masri : As to the imposition of a Palestinian and Arab recognition of the State of Israel as a Jewish state and the recognition of the fait accompli, I think that the recognition of the State of Israel is extremely dangerous as it implies the rejection of the Palestinian right, and it means that the policy of the fait accompli has definitively been imposed on the Muslim-Arab world.
We welcome Jews with open arms but we do not accept an occupation that oppresses our people and takes our land from us. As I said before, we can not accept to be expelled from our country, from our homes, from our land, and then come back to take possession of a small portion and to recognize the thief as the owner of everything else in front of the whole world.
That is why the Hamas movement warns all the parties involved about the terrible consequences that could cause falling in the Israeli trap that consists of admitting Israel’s fait accompli policy.
S.C. : The Palestinian Authority has bet everything on the creation of an independent Palestinian state. Weren’t the Palestinians willing to accept a state with 8% of the historical lands as a compensation for the damage caused by Israel since 1948? Wouldn’t a sole Palestinian state in which Jews and non-Jews live with the same rights be a more equitable solution?
Moshir al-Masri : I want to tell you that the Hamas movement believes in a solution by stages, not in solutions based on concessions. That is what Sheikh Yassin, founder and leader of Hamas, affirmed more than 15 years ago. He said: “We can accept the creation of state in the West Bank, in the Gaza Strip and in Eastern Jerusalem, with the return of refugees and the release of all prisoners. Only then we could sign a long-term truce, for 10 years or more.”
But it is clear that the Zionist enemy wants to perpetuate its occupation. Evidence of that is that Sharon, after presenting their withdrawal from Gaza as a “painful concession”, returns to Gaza to kill, bomb and hit and then comes back to the northern part of the Gaza Strip to establish a no-man’s-land there. It is clear, he knows no other language than that of the occupation. He does not know the meaning of truce as his violation of the current truce proves it; he does not know the language of peace. He only knows the language of crime and terror against our people.
Thus, we confirm our support for a solution by stages and we can not accept the occupation of our lands in return. That is why the rest of the world should unite and support our suffering and mourning people, whose land is occupied, whose sacred places are violated and whose children are the victims of the worst of aggressions.
As to the creation of a state where Jews and Palestinians can live together, we have always affirmed – and I say it again – that we have coexisted with the Jews during all Islamic history; that, like Dhimmis in the Muslim state, Jews had the same rights and obligations that we had; and that they were part of our homeland.
I say it again: the problem is not the Jews. Our only problem is the Israeli occupation.
S.C. : After the withdrawal of the Israeli settlers from Gaza, the international community considered that pull out as a step towards peace. However, where is peace? Your movement affirmed that Gaza was free. However, those who have visited that region recently say that the 1.5 million Palestinians who live there continue to be under Israel’s absolute control, and security and constraint will increase after the construction by Israel of a triple barrier equipped with remote-control machine guns and optical and electronic detectors.
Rather than speaking of liberation, why didn’t anyone denounce that the people of Gaza are imprisoned behind those barriers, in a concentration camp?
Moshir al-Masri : Yes. It is clear that what Sharon wanted to sell was a lie. In effect, the withdrawal from Gaza is not a real or complete pull out. Israel continues to control the airspace of Gaza; its planes continue to fly over Gaza and they continue their bombings and mock attacks as well as selective assassinations from the air using unmanned planes and missiles.
The same happens with land and sea siege, including the access point of Rafah, which is the only exit point left to the Palestinian people living in the Gaza Strip. It is full of cameras, there are joint security commissions who interrogate all those who enter or leave the Gaza Strip although there is not a significant Israeli military presence there.
The result is that, in the Gaza Strip, we live in an immense prison and that the Israeli enemy has not made any concessions. They withdrew from Gaza due to resistance actions: they recognized that they could not continue to sustain the big security mechanism they would have to keep there due to their own occupation of the Gaza Strip, particularly in the settlements, exposed to the attacks launched by the Palestinian resistance, in spite of the rudimentary means of the latter, which managed to teach a tough lesson to the Israeli enemies and to show them that the Palestinian people would not tolerate the perpetuation of Israel’s occupation.
S.C. : Unlike the ANC in South Africa, neither Arafat nor Abu Mazen ever launched an appeal for an international boycott or encouraged the adoption of sanctions against Israel. The president of the Palestinian university Al Quds even opposed boycotting Israeli universities, which the British promoted. How do you explain this submissiveness to Israel when the Palestinians expect their leaders to defend their cause?
Moshir al-Masri : It is clear that the Palestinian Authority is undergoing dangerous decline and that some of its leaders are clinging on to their posts. They are willing to make all imaginable concessions. You can tell it by the kind of accords they have signed: there is not a solid position by the Palestinian Authority that can put an end to the Zionist aggression against the Palestinian people. The speech that prevailed was that of making concessions. The language of making concessions was generally imposed to the extent that the president of a Palestinian university dared to protest – you are right – a boycott against Israeli universities as if we lived with Israel in the same framework, ignoring the blood shed, the confiscation of our lands and the occupation that has limited the possibilities of the Palestinian people!
Yes, unfortunately, we can speak of submissiveness by the Palestinian Authority to the Israeli administration in return for the Israeli no-concessions to the Authority. That’s the way it is because the latter tied its own hands up signing accords that it can not ignore, while Sharon himself and his allies disregard them by alleging that the Oslo Accords no longer have a practical use.
S.C. : European Parliament members – those of the left and also those of the right – approved in 2004, with a large number of votes, a resolution called “Peace and Dignity in the Middle East” demanding that the Palestinian Authority should fight terrorism. This resolution:
“reiterates its firm condemnation and its opposition to all acts of terrorism committed by Palestinian terrorist organizations against the Israeli people and demands that the Palestinian Authority should launch a merciless offensive against those terrorist actions until the complete dismantling of these organizations is achieved;”
“specifically states that Palestinian terrorism, with military or civilian victims, is not only responsible for the death of many innocent people, which makes it even more reprehensible, but it also seriously hinders the peace process.”
What do you have to say to Europe?
Moshir al-Masri : As to the “terrorists” and the assertion that says that the resistance not only kills innocent people but also hinders the peace process, we say: Let us look carefully at the situation in Palestine and the events that have taken place there after the signing of the peace accords between Palestinians and Israelis. Who started the killing? Who was the first to carry out massacres? How did the ongoing Intifada of Al-Aqsa begin? Didn’t it begin with Sharon’s provocative visit to the Al-Aqsa mosque, a Holy site for Muslims and Palestinians?
When the Muslim faithful protested, the occupying forces killed dozens of them in a short period of time. It was then that crowds of people, everywhere, rose up in defense of their sacred sites, as it was their duty and their right.
As to the first Intifada, didn’t it start when a settler killed seven Palestinian workers in Jabaliya?
Thus, we are defending our people and those who call us “terrorists” are wrong and should reconsider their opinion. We are not “terrorists”. We advocate life, we advocate a project of liberation, we defend dignity and legitimate pride. Europe should stop being the US’s accomplice in its alignment with the Israeli enemy. If they study and analyze carefully the problems that exist in the Palestinian context, they will understand that, in almost all cases, the occupation is the cause of all problems.
S.C. : The recent electoral success of Hamas spread panic within the Palestinian Authority. Do you think that, after having ruled for 12 years and after having engaged in “peace” negotiations that have only brought more suffering to the Palestinians, they will renounce their privileges - obtained at the expense of their people – and will accept the message that the people is sending them?
Moshir al-Masri : We think that one of the democratic principles is the acceptance of electoral results. Nobody has the monopoly of a nation; it belongs to everyone.
Hamas wants to calm down the world, the United States, Europe and also the Palestinian Authority. We do not intend to take anybody’s place in the elections or to upset anyone. We want to begin a new stage, that of political participation, to end the exclusivity in the making of Palestinian political decisions. That stage will also be one of national unity in front of the challenges inherent to that stage. These people that have made many sacrifices need to live a decent and peaceful life, without the insecurity and anarchy that in most cases have been caused by the very supposed “security” services, without string-pulling or bribery, without the loss of values, without the gap in front of the unknown that today prevails in the Palestinian scene.
That is why Hamas wanted to participate in the legislative elections, to try to save the Palestinian scene from this disastrous situation.
S.C. : For the Palestinian people it is an extremely depressing situation. They have achieved nothing of what the Palestinian Authority promised. If the Palestinians have turned their back on the Palestinian Authority, doesn’t it mean that they support your program?
Moshir al-Masri : It is clear that because of the monopolization of power by the Palestinian Authority, that has made all decisions about the future of the Palestinian people for more than 10 years, and also due to the success of Hamas and its program regarding its resistance legitimately recognized by international law, and because this movement has been the bearer of the concerns of the Palestinian people and the standard-bearer of change and reform, there has been a popular integration around Hamas.
In addition, the Palestinian people are mainly Muslim people. However, Hamas is a movement that wants our people to live Islam as a concrete reality as much as possible.
It is clear that the Palestinian Authority has not learned from its errors and its situation is deplorable. It has not even been able to control its members involved in the kidnapping of foreigners, which affects the honourable image of our people, or those who from different institutions are involved in blackmailing and intimidation.
Due to all these factors, the Palestinian Authority is going through a process of weakening and decomposition. That is why we wanted to participate in the elections, so that the Palestinian Authority recovers its prestige and so that law prevails again. We want to create a respectful Palestinian Authority so that the Palestinian people can respect it.
S.C. : With the exception of Ramallah, during last year, Hamas won more than 50% of the votes in local elections. The PFLP, a leftist party, then became your ally in certain cities. Doesn’t it show that it is not about voting for a religion, but for upright men and women who, unlike the leaders of Al Fatah, never gave up the liberation struggle?
Moshir al-Masri: The fact that Hamas has created alliances with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and with other organizations confirms that it is not a sectarian movement that has become fossilized.
Hamas is an open movement that is willing to ally itself with all Palestinians to defend the interests of our people through change and real reforms in the Palestinian context. That explains why Hamas supports a leftist candidate for the mayor’s office in Ramallah, although it is not an exception, on the contrary.
We tell everyone that we do not want to replace anyone; we do not want to ostracize anyone. We want to live a peaceful and dignified life witnessing all the things that have happened in the Palestinian political scene over the past 10 years. We want to establish a well defined strategy that protects the rights of the Palestinian people and preserves their achievements regardless of the origin of our allies. All it takes is that they are Palestinians and that they want to defend the cause of the Palestinian people.
S.C. : Why did you decide to participate in the elections while the Islamic Jihad abstained? Don’t the elections under the occupation deflect Palestinians from what is essential? Wouldn’t the priority be a dialogue among Palestinians to resume the national struggle?
Moshir al-Masri: What are Hamas’s priorities today? Let us put this very clear: Hamas has three priorities, none of which has expired or is more important than the others.
The first one is the strengthening of our internal unity as this unity can protect Palestinians from any dangerous situation.
The second one is the strengthening of political participation, which is a feasible alternative to save the Palestinian scene from the current apathy.
And the third priority is the strengthening of the resistance program as a strategic choice of our people as long as the foreign occupation of our lands and the aggressions against our people continue to exist. That has been the choice of all revolutions around the world, including territories such as Europe and the United States. It is a decision recognized by international law.
S.C. : Hamas’s participation in the Palestinian legislative elections, in the territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority, has been criticized by Javier Solana. Retaking the US threat, Solana pressured the Palestinians saying that, if Hamas wins the elections, the European assistance would be suspended. That means that Europe does not recognize the right of the Palestinians to choose their own representatives or their right to resist. This blackmail, that threatens the Palestinians by means of financial strangling and tries to make them even more vulnerable in front of the invader, could it prevent the Palestinians from voting for the Hamas or the PFLP candidates?
Moshir al-Masri : As to the question that if we think that the US and European threats of cutting their financial assistance could dissuade our people from supporting Hamas, we have to note that their comments – those of the Europeans and also those of the Americans – coincided with the fourth stage of the Palestinian municipal elections, particularly in the big cities.
And, what was the result? Hamas won in the bigger cities such as Naplusa, El Bireh, Ramallah and Yenin. Therefore, our Palestinian people basically trust in God – Praise God! – and they know the Islamic precept that says that “the true life that you have been promised is in Heaven”. The people know they are victims of an international conspiracy. Thus, they want to choose the ones who are able to take care of their concerns and those who are worthy of the mission that they will be entrusted with, by the grace of God!
We, the Hamas movement, have showed our nature for many years in numerous organizations, unions, cooperatives, etc., and we have set an example to be followed. The Palestinian people that have chosen us are fully aware of what they have done because they trust us.
Thus, the provocation of the US administration that, according to the leaders of the Palestinian Authority, only gives the Palestinian people scraps that are practically nothing in the Palestinian budget; and the European position, even the comments made by Javier Solana, which I don’t think reflect a well studied European position or all the members of the European Union - that is, that I don’t think that the position adopted by the Quartet is very firm – are the expression of a backward movement: after having opposed the participation of Hamas in the elections, certain international interlocutors have started to overcome that obstacle as they witnessed the determination and the will of the Palestinians as well as the consensus that exist around the need to let all parties participate in these elections.
Foreign powers, which then opposed our participation, began to use these threats regarding the suspension of economic assistance. Later, they stopped doing it when they realized that they could not convince the Palestinian people of not voting for Hamas. Then, they started to send warnings about the participation of Hamas in a future Palestinian government.
But I am certain that the international interlocutors will have to adapt to a new reality for them: the Hamas movement is an authentic element of the Palestinian people; it is part of those who make political decisions in Palestine.
S.C. : The position of the French Ministry of Foreign Relations was more subtle than that of Solana: “We think that it is important that the electoral process underway in the Palestinian territories can continue in a normal way… Hamas will remain on the European Union list of terrorist organizations as long as it does not renounce violence and recognize the State of Israel. For our part, we follow with interest what is happening and this evolution of Hamas in the political field”. Do you think that it is possible to renounce the armed struggle and to recognize the existence of the State of Israel?
Moshir al-Masri: On the recognition of the State of Israel and the renunciation of the armed struggle I say: How was Lebanon liberated? How were many European countries liberated? How was the United States liberated? Didn’t they all have to expel the occupying powers?
We have been trying to negotiate for ten years. What for? What is the result? Ignorance and emptiness. What has the Palestinian Authority achieved? What have the Palestinian people achieved? Nothing but misfortune, destruction and the deterioration of the Palestinian cause for many years…
It is not possible to continue with this experiment doomed to failure or to accept an occupation that continues to bring death, horror and massacres against the Palestinian people. We say that Hamas is an open movement willing to establish a dialogue with anyone who supports the interests of the Palestinian people.
But a dialogue with the Zionist occupying forces is doomed to failure although we made many concessions to them and obtained nothing in return.
S.C. : Is it shocking to you knowing that the leaders of democratic countries have systematically refused to impose sanctions on Israel – which violates the Geneva Conventions by demolishing houses, carrying out summary executions and arbitrary arrests and killing children – and also knowing that organizations that support the Palestinian cause have cooperated with the Palestinian Authority, which was a repressive and corrupt system? Is that shocking? Don’t you think that your best weapon is to explain to the international community the kind of help that the Palestinian people expect to receive under the current military occupation?
Moshir al-Masri: Yes, that is shocking. That is right; we need an effective media campaign. But it is clear that the Zionists, their followers and their friends have extremely powerful media that overwhelm ours.
Israel has violated almost all resolutions of the UN Security Council and the Geneva Conventions; it has perpetrated the worst terrorist crimes against our people: destroying houses and plantations and deliberately killing children; and nobody, not a single soldier, has been tried for these killings, particularly in the case of the killing of children like that of Muhamad Al-Durra, a crime that the whole world was able to see; they saw him cry and beg but it was in vain. What was the result? The soldier who killed him barely spent one month in prison. That is a mockery of the blood shed by the Palestinian people.
Yes, we have to denounce all these crimes committed by Israel, all their violations of the Geneva Conventions and UN Security Council resolutions.
We need help from European journalists – men and women -, jurists, and of all people and organizations who are aware of the meaning of the word “humanity”, people who understand what the occupation means and who know the horrible crimes committed against our people by Zionist terrorism, so that they let the world know about the true situation as much as possible.
We know there is complicity among the European political regimes and the Israeli enemy, but we also know that there are people among you, in Europe, who defend human values and we send them our fraternal regards and ask them to strengthen their contacts with us.
S.C. : In other words, Israel will continue to be the good guy as long as the world ignores that the origin of the conflict is not religion but the people’s struggle for their land and the expulsion of the Palestinian people from three quarters of their territory, in 1948, in order to settle Jewish people coming from all corners of the world. As long as this denial of history continues in place, it will be easy for Israel to accuse of terrorism those who try to lift their heads.
If you win the majority of the votes during the legislative elections, would you be willing to meet with European political leaders to remind them that the origin of the conflict is the expropriation and the ethnic cleansing carried out by Israel? In general, what are you planning to do?
Moshir al-Masri : We will decide what to do if we obtain a majority in the legislative elections.
But, as to a dialogue with Europe and the United States, Hamas is not hostile to anyone and we are willing to have a dialogue with anyone who wants to have a dialogue with us. We have held dialogues with Europe, particularly with European parliamentarians, and we have spoken with US university people, in Beirut (but they are people who do not have power in the United States).
Hamas is a movement open to everyone and it is not inflexible. Of course, Hamas defends an Islamic project whose goal is that our people and the world can live free and with dignity.
We ask the world not to align with the provocative and killer Zionist enemy, to the detriment of the national interests of the Palestinian people. We are willing to speak with any interlocutor – apart from Israel that continues to occupy our land and to attack our people – to say whatever is necessary and to let everyone know about what is happening in the Palestinian political scene and also to remind them that the problem here is the occupation and the aggression against our people, not their resistance. Those who came to expel our people from their country and to occupy their lands are the ones who created the problem.
Thus, we think that the free world has to try hard so that the Palestinian people can also live free and with dignity.
Thank you all.
Translation from Arabic by Marcel Charbonnier, Ahmed Manai and Voltaire Network.