Mousa Abu Marzouk, a member of Hamas's Political Bureau, said in a January 22, 2024 in-person interview with Daria Aslamova of Russian online outlet Pravda.Ru that Hamas hopes that Russia will increase its involvement in international politics and "stand up" to the United States regarding issues in the Middle East. Abu Marzouk noted in the interview that Russia maintains relations with various Palestinian factions, and that Hamas "trusts" Russia, "just as Israel trusts the United States." "We want Russia to play a role [in the conflict with Israel] at this point," he added.
Screenshot of the published interview on Pravda.Ru (January 22, 2024).
The following are excerpts from the Pravda.Ru, interview:
Abu Marzouk: "We Hope And Strive For Russia's Role In International Politics To Be More Active"
Daria Aslamova: "Good afternoon, Dr. Abu Marzouk. First of all, how can we introduce you to our viewers, our readers? They say about you that you are one of the main ideologists of Hamas, one of the leaders of Hamas. They also call you the 'informal minister of foreign affairs.' Is it so?"
Mousa Abu Marzouk: "Indeed, I am one of the founders of the Hamas movement. Maybe I have been active throughout the entire time and also as the head of Hamas before, maybe even after the developments in Gaza, on the West Bank. And my activity is international relations. Maybe it gave me the right to be known as a politician. But, in fact, I am an engineer by training. I received my bachelor's degree in Egypt and my doctorate in the USA."
Aslamova: "This is not your first time in Moscow. As far as I know, you have been here before. What is the purpose of your visit to Moscow? Who are you planning to do?"
Abu Marzouk: "This visit is, in fact, an ordinary visit, since our relations with Russia are developing. I visit Russia at least twice a year. But this time it has special significance, because we are now at war, especially against the backdrop of Israeli aggression. Such a number of victims, genocide committed by Israel, so many civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip. Therefore, we need to talk with our colleagues, with the Russian leadership. We discussed many issues related to our region. Since Russia has a relationship with all Palestinian representatives, we discussed the issue of a Palestinian truce."
Aslamova: "Do you mean with Fatah?"
Abu Marzouk: "With Fatah and with other Palestinians. We also hope and strive for Russia's role in international politics to be more active. We are confronting the United States and its policy in the region. We are discussing the role of Russia in the international arena, but we also discuss issues related to prisoners of war and their exchange — the ones at Hamas, but these are prisoners of war who have dual citizenship, for example Israeli and Russian citizenship. We discussed the issue of their release."
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Aslamova: "How many prisoners of war are there? Russians with Russian citizenship?"
Abu Marzouk: "There were six of them. But these prisoners were captured during the fighting and taken to military bases. At first, no one said anything about their second citizenship. But they started talking about citizenship, that they were Russians. All the prisoners we have are the ones with dual citizenship. That's why we have Americans, Italians, French, Germans, Belgians — almost all of them have dual citizenship. When we captured them, we in fact captured Israeli soldiers. But after they were captured, they began to talk about their second citizenships.
"The President of South Africa called me. The head of their intelligence services asked us about one particular prisoner. When we started looking into the question, we found that he was actually a tanker, he was captured in his tank. And then when they started the war, they started saying he was not a citizen of Israel, but a citizen of South Africa."
Abu Marzouk: "Hamas Wants Russia To Stand Up Against The United States On This Issue Regarding Palestine And The Middle East"
Aslamova: "We are now in the midst of the Hamas-Israel conflict. What kind of help do you expect from Russia? Is this just negotiations between various Palestinian factions or something else?"
Abu Marzouk: "Russia, of course, is an influential international player and such a vast country, with such importance, plays a big role in international politics. America's position in general and its position after October 7 has weakened considerably. The significance of the United States in the region has decreased significantly as well. Therefore, we count on Russia to play a greater role in international politics. Russia can play a big role in international politics, especially a part of the BRICS now, as in addition to Brazil, China, South Africa, Russia, India, the Saudis and the Emirates have joined this organization. Within the framework of this union they can play a big role in the politics of the Middle East. Therefore, Hamas wants Russia to stand up against the United States on this issue regarding Palestine and the Middle East. We trust Russia just as Israel trusts the United States. Yes, maybe the balance of forces here is not equal. But we are still interested and we trust Russia, we want Russia to play a role at this point."
Aslamova: "Do you have mainly political and military allies in this war that you are now waging with Israel?"
Abu Marzouk: "We, of course, have relationships with different states in the region. Naturally, the United States has a great opportunity to put pressure on their decisions in the region, but for now we still keep in touch with them. Our real ally is the peoples: the Islamic, Arab peoples. Today we can notice how in Europe, especially in the USA, thousands of people go to rallies in support of Palestine. The crisis in Palestine has become the most important one all over the world for so many peoples."
Aslamova: "The most pressing news right now is that Israel is already planning not just to occupy the territory of Gaza, but to build settlements there. What kind of future does Gaza have in general?"
Abu Marzouk: "Everything you said about the Gaza Strip and Israel has not happened yet, because the Israeli army is retreating, they are leaving these areas, the people are returning there, and Hamas will reestablish its control of the region. And even in the north now, Israel admitted that Hamas has managed to restore its military strength and has resumed its military activities in northern Gaza. For example, Beit Hanoun is the first place that the Israeli army entered at the beginning of the war, and they still cannot control this area, and there is fierce resistance on the battlefield."
Aslamova: "Who do you think is winning in this war?"
Abu Marzouk: "We will definitely win."
Aslamova: "In a military sense, you are sure of that. The war between Israel and Hamas caused a chain reaction in the world. We now see the entire Middle East has become uneasy. We see the situation in Iran, Pakistan, we see what is happening in Syria, Iraq. That is, the feeling that the conflict in Gaza triggered a general crisis in the region. Are we heading towards World War III?"
Abu Marzouk: "Of course, we don't expect war, we don't think that World War Three is going to break out. But the war in the region takes place between two unequal parties, so victory in this type of war is to prevent the enemy from achieving his goals. If we interfere and do not allow the result to be achieved, then this will be a victory for us. Beirut and Yemen have already started this war. Iraq also got involved. And we think that there will be reactions and consequences in all Arab countries after this war, there will be changes. And the main reason is that America helps and supports Israel in the international arena, at the UN Security Council. The US helps with weapons, Washington provides military and financial assistance."
Aslamova: "Do you think that the crisis is not going to affect all of the Middle East?"
Abu Marzouk: "No, of course not. I don't think it will be like a major Middle East war, but it remains within the framework of the Israeli-Palestinian war. The crisis may either escalate or subside, based on the time frame that Israel can withstand and continue its aggression. When the aggression ends, I think everything will end in the region. And the longer Israeli aggression continues, the wider the escalation will expand in the region. South Africa filed an application to the International Court accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza, and Indonesia filed an application to the international court accusing Israel of genocide."
Aslamova: "You are one of the main leaders of Hamas, for Israel you are one of the main enemies. Were there any attempts to assassinate you? You are in a very dangerous situation."
Abu Marzouk: "I don't think Israel will do it all at once, because they know very well that every action leads to counteraction, so I think they calculate their steps before committing a crime."
Aslamova: "What relationship does Hamas have with Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Organisation?"
Abu Marzouk: "The Palestine Liberation Organisation is an organisation that represents all Palestinians. We at Hamas strive and demand to become part of this organisation. We also strive for a truce with Fatah, so that we have one program, one unity of people and power."