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memri
February 1, 2006 No.
1081

Hamas Leader Khaled Mash'al Presents Hamas Plan on Al-Jazeera TV: 'We are Committed to...the Resistance and Adhere to its Weapons...As for Recognizing [Israel] and Amending Our Charter - Hamas is Not the Kind of Movement That Succumbs to Pressure...We Will Not Recognize it, No Matter how Much Time Passes...We Believe in Acting According to Stages...'

The following are excerpts from an address by Hamas leader Khaled Mash’al at a press conference that aired January 29, 2006 on Al-Jazeera TV.

TO VIEW THIS CLIP, VISIT: http://memritv.org/clip/en/1013.htm.

Hamas Leader Khaled Mash'al: "Some people believe it is impossible to combine resistance with politics. As long as we are an occupied people, resistance is our natural right."

[…]

"I say to the American administration, to the Europeans, and the international community, which make all these demands, like stopping the resistance - or stopping 'terrorism,' as they call it - and to disarm… I say to them: If you have a problem with the factions' weapons, we are prepared to unite the Palestinian weapons based on Palestinian understandings, and to form an army, like any other country, even though our country is not yet independent. We will form an army like all independent countries. We will conduct reforms within our society, with democracy, pluralism, with partnership, and clean administration, which are the slogans of international and Western society, and at the same time, we will have an army, which will protect our people from aggression and will strive to recapture Palestinian rights. Other countries have this, so why should the Palestinians be deprived of this? There is no contradiction between the two. As for the PLO, as I have said, for some time we have been striving to rebuild the organization. We will move faster, reach understandings with our brothers in the PLO. We are all convinced of the need to reform and revive the PLO, so it can become a Palestinian home for all, and a source of authority, in and out of [the Palestinian territories]."

[…]

"The Palestinian people has chosen Hamas with its known stances. If America wants to negotiate with Hamas - it is most welcome, but based on the positions for which the people chose us. If Europe wants to negotiate with Hamas - it is most welcome, but based on the choice of the Palestinian people. However, they must not impose conditions on us. Our internal affairs must not be subject to extortion and external pressure."

[…]

"The Legislative Council is one of the Oslo Accords' political frameworks, but the Oslo plan is over. It is no longer effective, and no one follows it anymore, and I don't think our people will accept the revival of Oslo, after it has been buried and eulogized by all."

[…]

"We will not accept any formula that undermines some or all of our rights. In other words, we are committed to the liberation of the land and to Jerusalem. We will not agree to any kind of disregard [of our right] to Jerusalem. We are more committed to Jerusalem than Sharon and the enemy leaders. We are committed to the right of return and to our rejection of the settlements. We are committed to the resistance and adhere to its weapons. These are our choices and our fundamental principles, which the Palestinian people supported even before the elections. In the elections, I believe, the Palestinian people clearly demonstrated this support, in a democratic manner. No one should accuse us of being out of line or singing out of tune. There are internal Palestinian agreements. True, the Palestinian Authority was founded on the basis of the Oslo Accords. We recognize that this is a reality, and we will deal with it with the utmost realism, but without neglecting our fundamental principles and our rights. We will honor any agreement or commitment, as long as they benefit our people and do not infringe upon its rights. In other words, we will honor our Palestinian commitments, provided they serve our people and do not infringe upon its rights, and we will not accept dictates. This is, very clearly, our position. We are capable of maintaining this position, despite all the pressure. As for recognizing [Israel] and amending our charter - Hamas is not the kind of movement that succumbs to pressure. The occupation has no legitimacy. We will not recognize it, no matter how much time passes. We will never recognize the occupation as legitimate, and we will not give up on our rights. However, we are realistic, and we know things are done gradually, in stages."

[...]

"America may not recognize a certain country, yet it succumbs to reality. Today we, the Palestinians, do not recognize the legitimacy of the occupation, but this does not mean I want to abolish Israel in a matter of moments. I have a plan of commitment to my land and my rights."

[...]

"Succumbing to the will and pressure of others is unacceptable, but by our own decision, we can either calm or escalate the situation, depending on what is required at each stage. But if anyone expects Hamas to agree to take steps that it would not agree to in the past, I say clearly, brothers and sisters: We will not withdraw from our fundamental principles, from our rights and our strategic goals. The map of Palestine, for any Hamas member and for any Palestinian, is the well-known Palestinian map, just like any European or American - if you ask him about his country's map, he says to you: 'My country's map is this and that...' When they bring us someone from Europe or America who is willing to give up his country's map, and accepts a distorted map - come back to us then. The Palestinian rights remain intact. But we believe in acting according to stages, gradually and realistically, and we have the ability to obtain our rights, step by step. We will establish our state on any piece of land we liberate, providing we have real sovereignty over this land, Allah willing."

[...]

"Our presence in the Legislative Council and in the Palestinian political system will strengthen and protect the resistance, and not harm it. I do not agree that there is a dispute over the resistance. Resistance, in all monotheistic religions, and in international laws and conventions, is the right of any people subject to occupation."

[...]

"If people raise the issue of targeting civilians - we have said and we continue to say that when our enemy stops targeting civilians, we will make the same commitment. Ten years ago, we made such an initiative, but Israel rejected it. That is why we must respond in kind. Resistance will remain a possible option, which enjoys international consent."

[...]

"There is a difference between regarding the period of calm as divergence from the resistance - which will never happen - and regarding the period of calm as one of the tactics of the resistance."