March 9, 2006 Special Dispatch No. 1109

Hamas Leader Khaled Mash'al on Arab TV: ‘There Will Be No Concessions’; ‘…The Demand to Disarm and …to Turn Hamas …Into Political Parties is Unrealistic’

March 9, 2006
Palestine | Special Dispatch No. 1109

The following are excerpts from interviews with Hamas leader Khaled Mash'al, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV and Al-Arabiya TV on March 6, 2006.


Al-Jazeera TV

Khaled Mash'al: "The government is a means and not the end, and we insist on the option of resistance. If Israel is thinking of declaring an all-out war against the PA, claiming it has become a terrorist authority - this does not frighten us, because we will adhere to our principles and not to formalities.

"If they want an all-out war - we are ready. If they want peace - let them acknowledge the rights of the Palestinian people and get out of our land. There can be no peace or stability along with occupation and aggression.

"The Palestinian people are prepared. In the past, Hamas fought Israel with its military wing, but today - if Hamas finds itself facing this option - it will fight Israel with the Palestinian people in its entirety. This is our choice.

"When the international community sees that we are resolute in our position, it will respect this position. Therefore, Hamas is saying, with complete confidence - Allah willing, we will knock on [the doors of] all the world's capitals. We are confident that ultimately, the world - even if it does not support us - will at least know there are men in this region."


Al-Arabiya TV

Interviewer: "You've said that Hamas has adopted a realistic approach. What does this realism mean? In other words, what is the limit of the tactical concessions you might make?"

Khaled Mash'al: "There will be no concessions. Some people believe that realism means making concessions. It doesn't. Concessions were made in the past, with no results. On the contrary, making concessions is not realistic, because it means you are not acting in accordance with your people's needs, or with the requirements entailed by the reality of the Palestinian people.

"In addition, these concessions encourage Israel to act unrealistically, by trying to have both occupation and security. When Israel feels that it can maintain its security and its interests, while continuing the occupation, why shouldn't it have both? To be honest, making concessions is an unrealistic option."


"Realism means responding to the needs of the Palestinian people, learning the lessons of the past, and dealing with the facts as they are. I say that we are being realistic, because we believe that the source of the problem is the existence of the occupation. Any attempt to deal with the problem without removing the occupation is unrealistic. Realism means putting an end to the occupation. Realism means to talk about the liberation of the land and putting an end to its occupation, before you talk about a state.

"Those who talked about a Palestinian state that would hang from the sky, before we liberate the land and gain full sovereignty over it, were being unrealistic. Realism means insisting upon putting an end to the occupation, liberating the land, and gaining sovereignty, before talking about a state. This is realistic logic. Some consider this difficult. Yes, it is. But it is in line with the true history. On the other hand, surrendering may seem easy, but it leads nowhere."


"Hamas is realistic. It says to the international community: You talk about the 1967 borders - by all means, make Israel declare that it will withdraw from all the Palestinian lands occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem, that it will accept the right of the refugees and the displaced to return to their lands and property, that it will dismantle the settlements, destroy the separation wall, and release all the prisoners and detainees. Since you believe in it, pressure Israel to do this, and then demand that the Palestinians and the Arabs take serious steps. Then we will be ready to take a serious step that will lead us to true peace. That's realism."


"Our realism also leads us to conclude that the demand to disarm and the demand to turn Hamas and the rest of the resistance forces into political parties is an unrealistic demand, because it has nothing to do with the Palestinian reality."

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