Hamas Leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar: Our People Took Off Their Military Uniforms and Joined the Marches; We Decided to Turn the Bodies of Our Women and Children into a Dam Blocking Arab Collapse
Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar emphasized in a May 16 interview with Al-Jazeera TV that although Hamas has chosen the “wonderful and civilized” method of non-armed clashes, it would not hesitate to resort to armed struggle again when required by the circumstances. Sinwar said that Hamas members could have “rained thousands of missiles down” on Israeli cities, but instead, chose to take off their military uniforms and join the marches. He added that against the images of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, the Palestinians had painted an image of heroism and determination with their sacrifices – “the sacrifice of their children as an offering for Jerusalem and the Right of Return.” “When we decided to embark on these marches,” he said, “we decided to turn that which is most dear to us – the bodies of our women and children – into a dam blocking the collapse in Arab reality.”
Following is a transcript:
Yahya Sinwar: It is too early to say that such a great act of struggle has fulfilled its goals in full, but an important part of these goals has undoubtedly been fulfilled. The first goal that has been fulfilled at this point is that these marches have restored the Right of Return to the Palestinian, Arab, and international consciousness as one of the important rights and principles of the Palestinian people.
Another goal fulfilled by these marches is that they have placed the Palestinian national cause on the world’s agenda once again, when some defeatists were claiming that the world’s schedule was too busy and had no room for the Palestinian national cause. They tried to use this to promote further concessions.
I must emphasize a great strategic goal accomplished on May 14. Our people in Gaza recorded, for the whole world to see, their testimony over the transfer of the United States embassy to Jerusalem and the declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of the occupation entity. On behalf of the Arab Palestinian people and all the Arab and Islamic peoples, our people in Gaza have rejected that decision and that move, by this great activity and by recording its testimony for the sake of history, and by signing this testimony with the blood of the martyrs – our people sacrificed sixty martyrs on May 14, as well as three thousand wounded. They were used to sign our people’s rejection of the reckless decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
Interviewer: Is this a new strategy of the resistance – shifting from armed military resistance to popular protests, of the kind that has always been advocated by the Palestinian Authority under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas?
Yahya Sinwar: It is true that the form of resistance to the occupation changes from time to time in keeping with subjective and objective circumstances.
This method (of struggle) is appropriate for this stage, but circumstances might change, and we might have to return to the armed struggle. When this happens, our people, the factions, and Hamas will not hesitate to use any means required by the circumstances.
Interviewer: What circumstances could push you once again toward the option of armed struggle?
Yahya Sinwar: Before answering this question, I'd like to state a certain fact. The strategic circumstances surrounding the Palestinian cause are extremelydifficult and complex, on the international, regional, and local levels.
We, the Palestinian people, the factions of the resistance, and the Hamas movement, emphasize that we will continue on this path, the path of pe aceful popular resistance, to confront the oppression machine of the Israeli occupation, and we will make our utmost efforts to prevent these marches from slipping into armed military activity, but for everything definitely has a limit, and if the enemy goes too far in its acts against our people, against our men, women, and children, and if the enemy sheds a lot of (our) blood, it will definitely be required from us to respond in kind.
Interviewer: But the enemy has already gone too far and killed 60 Palestinian on Monday.
Do you mean to say that in light of the circumstances both of us mentioned that you are incapable right now of turning to armed resistance due to the international and regional pressure, and that all this pressure is pushing you at present toward peaceful resistance only?
Yahya Sinwar: The enemy says that we use people as human shields and push them towards the fence, but we say that these youths and men could have opted for another option. They could have rained thousands of missiles down on the cities of the occupation when the U.S. opened its embassy in Jerusalem. But they did not choose that path. Many of them took off their military uniforms and put their weapons aside. They have temporarily abandoned the means of armed struggle and turned to this wonderful civilized method, which is respected by the world, and which is appropriate for the current circumstances.
Our people have imposed their agenda upon the whole world. There was supposed to be a romantic picture of the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem on the world’s television screens, but our people, in their collective consciousness, forced the whole world to split the television screens between the footage of fraud, deception, falsehood, and oppression, manifest in the attempt to impose Jerusalem as the capital of the occupation state, and between the image of injustice, oppression, heroism, and determination painted by our own people in their sacrifices – the sacrifice of their children as an offering for Jerusalem and the Right of Return.
When we decided to embark on these marches, we decided to turn that which is most dear to us – the bodies of our women and children – into a dam blocking the collapse in Arab reality, a dam to prevent the racing of many Arabs towards the normalization of ties with the plundering entity, which occupies our Jerusalem, plunders our land, defiles our holy places, and oppresses our people day and night.
Interviewer: You are referring to the “Deal of the Century”…
Yahya Sinwar: The “Deal of the Century” and any deal of compromise, aimed at eliminating our national Palestinian cause.