Khaled Mash'al, former chairman of Hamas' political bureau, said in a September 10 Al-Jazeera TV interview that while the May 2017 policy document manifested a development in the character of Hamas and in its political and ideological conduct, "it did not constitute a renunciation of the past." He stressed that "our natural platform is to fight the occupation, to liberate Palestine in its entirety, and to regain the land, the holy places, Jerusalem, and our rights." While the formal Arab and Palestinian position is to achieve a state within the pre-1967 borders through negotiations, "we will not agree to concessions - we will not concede the rest of Palestine and will not recognize Israel," he said.
Following are excerpts:
Former Hamas Political Bureau Chairman Khaled Mash’al: Hamas was launched in 1987, and about a year later, in August 1988, it released its charter. Twenty-nine years later, in May 2017, Hamas released the policy document. We long believed that since a long time had passed, it was necessary for Hamas to present a new text.
Just as Hamas progressed from stones to guns and then to martyrdom operations, to the point that it is now waging defense wars in Gaza against the Zionist enemy… Just like there was a great creative development in the field of combat, as well as in politics, [in 2017] Hamas presented the development of its ideology. This is natural development. Therefore, the 2017 document manifested a certain stage, as well as a process of maturation and awareness, and a development in the character of Hamas, and in its political and ideological conduct, but it did not constitute a renunciation of the past. Every stage has its own documents and texts.
Our natural platform is to fight the occupation, to liberate Palestine it its entirety, and to regain the land, the holy places, Jerusalem, and our rights. This is our platform. Meanwhile, we have Palestinian partners, as well as partners in the Arab and Islamic world.
So we said to them: You believe that you can achieve a state within the pre-1967 borders, and moreover, that you can do this through negotiations? The official Arab and Palestinian position is that we want to achieve a state within the pre-1967 borders through negotiations. We consider this to be impossible. Israel will never give us the land, sovereignty, and a true state, unless it is forced to do so, the same way as we forced it to leave Gaza. Nevertheless, we said: Is that what you think? Fine. We agree to a state within the pre-1967 borders. We believe that this can only be achieved through struggle and sacrifices, but if this is accomplished through negotiations, we will not agree to concessions – we will not concede the rest of Palestine and will not recognize Israel.