Al-Hiwar TV aired a debate featuring several intellectuals affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood on December 24, 2020, in the wake of the recent normalization agreement between Morocco and Israel, which was signed by Islamist Moroccan Prime Minister Saadeddine Othmani. The discussion then turned to Hamas policy in addressing the West. Osama Abuirshaid, executive director of American Muslims for Palestine, said that Hamas states its support for a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, even though this contradicts its "principled" goal of one state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. He said that if Hamas had insisted on declaring its real goal, no one in the West would talk to them. Dr. Azzam Al-Tamimi, a U.K- based academic and the Head of Al-Hiwar TV, said that Hamas cannot convey contradicting messages, one to the West and another to the East, and that this has not led to any achievements. For more about Osama Abuirshaid, see MEMRI TV clips No. 5558 and 5487. For more about Azzam Al-Tamimi, see MEMRI TV clips No. 7703, 7349, 7269, 6581, 6093, 3374, 2339, 2297, 1663, 921, 886, and 742.
Dr. Azzam Al-Tamimi: "The thing that I, and many others, could never have imagined is that we would see the [Moroccan] PM, who belongs to an Islamic movement, sign a normalization agreement with the Zionist entity."
Osama Abuirshaid: "We cut certain people some slack, but not others. Hamas has done a lot of [of what Morocco just did]. Hamas has done a lot of this, and nobody cares, because Hamas faces too many constraints for me to criticize it from 6,000 miles away. They have constraints..."
Al-Tamimi: "What did Hamas do? So people understand what you are talking about..."
Abuirshaid: "Did Hamas talk about a two-state solution or did it not? We don't call it a two-state solution. We call it a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, but what does it mean? Am I supposed to accept that Hamas does not believe in Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea? Absolutely not! Hamas does believe in Palestine from the River to the Sea, but it has the principled position on the one hand and the political position on the other. The political position adapts with the constraints of reality, but it does not mean that Hamas has abandoned its principles.
"I am convinced that at no moment has Hamas given up on its principles regarding Palestine in its entirety. But when Hamas needs to talk to the world...Brother, let me tell you, the world is vile. It is vile! The world does not let you breathe. We saw what they did in Gaza. They starved them to death. We saw what they did in Iraq. They starved them to death. We saw what they did in Syria. They let them be slaughtered."
Al-Tamimi: "Hamas's statements about accepting a state within the 1967 borders was a mistake, and I criticized it from day one, and I still do... – And I defended it. That decision was a mistake. They assumed that they would get some political gain in return, but they did not get anything. On the contrary...It caused confusion with regard to what people understand to be Hamas's goals. When you say that you accept a state within the 1967 borders, at least some people would understand that you accept the existence of a Zionist state next to it."
Abuirshaid: "This is why we should have a principled and intellectual discourse, and another – political – discourse, or we should abandon politics altogether."
Al-Tamimi: "You can't have it both ways, Osama. I cannot have two, contradicting, discourses."
Abuirshaid: "They do not contradict one another. They complement one another."
Al-Tamimi: "I can use one language which is clear to intellectuals, and another language that is clear to people who are not intellectuals, but my position in both cases must be the same. I cannot present one position to the West and another position to the East."
Abuirshaid: "So how do you want to engage in politics and sit with representatives of countries? What would you tell them? That you have come from Palestine from the River to the Sea? They would not be ready to listen to you."
Al-Tamimi: "Do they listen to you when you tell them you come from one-quarter of Palestine?"
Abuirshaid: "So we should abandon politics altogether."
Al-Tamimi: "What did the Palestinian Authority gain by accepting all those concessions?"
Abuirshaid: "There is a difference. There is a difference."