Monday, 25 June 2007

Hamas spokespersons criticise Abass's speech


Hamdan and Azzam lash out at Palestinian president’s speech

On June 20, the Qatari-funded Al Jazeera TV carried an interview with Usamah Hamdan, Hamas representative in Lebanon and Nafidh Hamdan, by Hasan Jammul:

“[Jammul]: “What is your reply to the accusations Mahmud Abbas made in his speech on the aims of what happened on the ground in terms of killings and so forth, in addition to his accusation of those who participated in what he called a plan and his rejection of dialogue?

“[Hamdan]: “In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate. In fact, it is a long speech in which there are false and fabricated stories and a logic that has nothing to do with the logic of leaders and presidents. This is not the logic of a president of people or chairman of the PLO. This speech is not fit for a person in such a position. Also it is not proper for a president to close the door of dialogue in the face of a basic part of his people. He knows the weight and percentage of these people at a time when he is panting after a meeting with Olmert or the Israelis as noted at the end of his speech.

“He spoke in this speech about law and religion and accused others of treason. He falsely said what none can believe. Here I will ask questions whose answers are clear. Hamas won in the elections and formed a government and then a national unity government. Weapons were brandished against this government by the security services for one and a half years. Who carried the weapons? Did the government carry arms against itself or the security services which he protected and looked after?

“Here I want to stress that when Interior Minister Hani al-Qawasimah was named for this post, he was among the names listed by Abu-Mazin. When the government adopted the plan and he himself approved it, Rashid Abu-Shibak, secretary general of the ministry, obstructed it. He even issued a decision preventing the interior minister from entering any security centre without his permission. When the interior minister contacted Abu-Mazin asking him to either relieve him of his post or dismiss Rashid Abu-Shibak, Abu-Mazin rejected that.

“Therefore, the interior minister resigned. He resigned because Abu-Mazin covered the commanders of the security services who rejected a security plan that protects the Palestinian people. He lied and said the government carried arms against the security services. Regarding the story of the tape he claimed was sent to brother Abu-al-Walid, I want to say that one of the commanders of the security services gave him a fabricated tape.

“He called brother Khalid Mish'al and told him he had a tape. Brother Khalid Mish'al said: This is perhaps a fabricated tape, but please send it to me to verify things. Abu-Mazin has still not sent the tape. The question is: Why did he not send the tape? Is there really a tape or the issue is a mere media fabrication to justify a retreat on the Mecca agreement as dictated by the commanders of the security services and US Administration and perhaps regional quarters, in addition to Israel, with the aim of toppling the Mecca agreement after some had thought there would be no agreement?

“Let us draw a simple comparison between the language used by the head of the Hamas Political Bureau and the language used by the chairman of the PLO Executive Committee. The difference between the two languages is that the head of the Political Bureau calls for dialogue while Abu-Mazin rejects dialogue and calls for alienation. The head of the Political Bureau proves that mistakes are unacceptable while Abu-Mazin covers up mistakes.

“The head of the Political Bureau underscores the unity of the Palestinian people while Abu-Mazin personally asks Olmert to cut off fuel, electricity, and water supplies to the Gaza Strip. Today the senior negotiator in the PLO explained this in detail. To sum up, I ask: Why did the United States express support for Abu-Mazin immediately after he had turned against the elected government? What is the meaning of the call he received from Condoleezza Rice, congratulating him on the steps he took?

“What is the meaning of George Bush's phone call in support of him? What is the meaning of Livni's announcement that she asked the EU to lift the siege imposed on the government and the meaning of Olmert's statement that he will support the government and the president? Is this a national government? Is this a president who seeks the interest of the Palestinian people?

“[Jammul]: “Let me ask you about the main points he mentioned. These may shed more light on some aspects of the issue. He rejected dialogue and you replied to this. What is Hamas's response to his statement that Hamas in and outside the territories reached agreement with some regional parties on a plan to establish a black emirate.

“[Hamdan]: “With regard to dialogue, we stress our adherence to it. We thank the Arabs for the efforts they are making to restore Palestinian dialogue although his reply to these efforts was out of place. By talking about an agreed plan to establish an emirate of darkness, he tries to arouse the feelings of the ones who supported him. These are the Americans and Israelis. We stressed right from the first moment that what took place was not a battle against Fatah as proven by the fact that the Fatah leaders are now expressing all their opinions and positions in Gaza. Not a single Fatah centre or Fatah house was attacked in Gaza.

“They move. Even we accepted Fatah leaders' bail for some commanders of services who committed murder, and they were released. We clearly said the issue is directed against a security group which carried out the Dayton plan. He spoke about it and said there is an international security plan. It is a plan that tries to build a security apparatus that has complete loyalty to the ones who build it in order to subjugate the Palestinian people.

“To underscore this, he said at the end of his speech that he wants to change the proportional and absolute elections law. What does this mean? It means the entire crisis over the past one and a half years was due to electing the one the United States did not want. The elections brought Hamas, which wants to liberate all of Palestine. This is so while it was tailored for those who want to make peace with Israel at the expense of the Palestinian rights.

“Therefore, they want to change the elections law so that the one the United States wants and the one who is ready to live under occupation and accept the sway of occupation over his decision will win. Regarding talk about an independent national decision, I ask him: What is the national independent decision the United States and Israel support? What national independent decision leads to the abduction of 100 Hamas's men in the West Bank in five days and to 450 attacks, includ ing 150 attacks during which libraries, educational centres, schools, and social institutions were burned? Is this the national independent decision? Is this the law or order he is talking about?

“[Jammul]: “In his speech, he also spoke about what is being concocted abroad to establish a state with interim borders and about the postponement of the issue of refugees' return. There were almost direct accusations in this regard.

“[Hamdan]: “He specifically accused Ahmad Yusuf, adviser to the Prime Minister. I frankly say we said right from the beginning that the paper distributed by a European state was in the form of ideas which we as a movement rejected in a clear statement we issued. We sent a copy of our rejection to him and stressed to him during our dialogue in Damascus that we reject a state with interim borders as this conflicts with the national project in which we believe.

“I wonder why he is trying to tell fabricated and false stories. The answer is simple. It is because he cannot tell the people the truth as it is. He, for example, talks about an attack on the house of Abu-Ammar. We were the ones who protected Abu-Ammar's house. Mrs Suha al-Tawil contacted Brother Khalid Mish'al asking him to ask Hamas to protect the house from the mob who tried to loot it.

“[Jammul]: “He also spoke at length about attacks on churches.

“[Hamdan]: “By speaking about churches he tries to trade with the people's feelings. Our Christian people know Hamas's position. All know what Hamas does for them. This is not a favour done to them; they are part of our people and have the same rights and duties. Christians are not an alien part of our people in order to alienate them. They are a basic part of the national Palestinian fabric. Some of those who attacked the church were arrested while others are being pursued. They are not from Hamas. On the contrary, we believe that we are responsible for protecting churches in the same way as we protect mosques and both private and public establishments.

“[Jammul]: “He said there will be no dialogue with Hamas, considering the latter coupist, takfiri, and murderous. He, however, set some conditions like ending the coup, apologizing to the Palestinian people and the PLO, and returning the seized headquarters to the new government. What is Hamas's reply? Where are the Palestinians heading? Will Gaza be completely separated from the West Bank? By the way, President Mahmud Abbas said sedition will not be transferred to the West Bank.

“[Hamdan]: “Let me briefly say that his statement that the sedition will not be transferred to the West Bank is part of the lies he tells. There were 450 attacks last week and more than 120 brothers were kidnapped. We do not know where they are. They were kidnapped by the security apparatus gangs which we tried to stop several times. Some 150 establishments were burned and attacks are continuing. He is the one separating or trying to separate Gaza from the West Bank.

“We insist on the unity of the Palestinian territories not only in the West Bank and Gaza, but Palestine from the sea to the river. We insist on the unity of the Palestinian people not only in the West Bank and Gaza but also everywhere. We will not accept the sick attempts to accuse us of being behind this. Those who signed agreements in Geneva ceding the right of return, those who negotiated the way to cede part of Jerusalem in the Abu-Mazin-Beilin document, and those who divided the Palestinian territories into the 1967 land and A, B, and C areas are the ones who sacrifice land and squander rights, and not Hamas, which is offering martyrs.

“We believe that talk about closing the door to negotiations is a sign of weakness and fear of the US-Israeli conditions. We even believe that Abu-Mazin is afraid of the Arab fact-finding committee because what we will present to this committee will reveal many of the details which we did not want to reveal or talk about. Hamas is open for negotiations without conditions. We will not accept the imposition of any conditions on us in order to hold dialogue with our people.

“We are part of these people and even a majority among them and none can cancel us or our people whether he wants to do so upon his own decision or upon regional and international dictates and submission to the Israeli and US decision as frankly expressed in the media and elsewhere.

“[Jammul]: “Thank you, Usamah Hamdan, representative of Hamas in Lebanon. As a follow-up on this issue, I have with me Nafidh Azzam, a leading figure in the Islamic Jihad movement. How would you comment on what came in Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas's speech and Usamah Hamdan's reply?

“[Azzam]: “In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate. Much of the speech spoke about what happened in the Gaza Strip. There were other points which President Abu-Mazin said were the outcome of what happened. We do not want to get into the details of the events which took place, but we may have reservations about some points mentioned in his speech like the general rules made about universities, schools, and mosques by saying they spread darkness.

“There are perhaps some mistakes but positions should not be generalized on the basis of some mistakes as seen by President Abu-Mazin. In general, the Palestinian territories are living a complicated situation as a result of the painful incidents which took place in Gaza and the West Bank and the subsequent decisions and measures. The Palestinians are living an extremely difficult and complicated situation. Israel and the United States are trying to exploit this.

“[Jammul]: “Let me ask you about some specific points about what happened and what President Mahmud Abbas said. The president spoke about a plan Hamas in and outside the territories approved in cooperation with some regional parties. What do you think of this?

“[Azzam]: “The brothers in Hamas can respond to this. If President Abu-Mazin has information and evidence, he can present them and the brothers in Hamas can respond to them.

“[Jammul]: “With regard to Gaza plan, he also accused Hamas. But do you in the Islamic Jihad movement think there is a plan to form militias and establish a black emirate? Is there a takfiri situation or other such things as the president mentioned in his speech? Since you are living in Gaza, do you see such things on the ground and are you afraid of the consequences?

“[Azzam]: “We live the situation on the ground and we are afraid that Israel might exploit this situation and its repercussions. Israel today killed six Palestinians. Today six martyrs fell. There is also incursion into some areas in the Gaza Strip. Areas in the West Bank are also raided. The United States tries to exploit this situation. The most serious result of the regrettable incidents which took place in Gaza and the West Bank was separating the Gaza Strip from the West Bank. The United States and Israel are trying to exploit this situation.

“They are trying to exploit Palestinian division and the bloody conflict among them in order to deal more blows to them and to weaken the resistance and confuse the Palestinian arena in general. We emphasize the need to be alert to this. Regardless of how we feel about what happened, we must give precedence to wisdom and reason. The Palestinian arena cannot be ruled except through accord and no group can cancel another group. The national interest requires that there should be accord in the Palestinian arena.

“[Jammul]: “Nafidh Azzam, a leading member of the Islamic Jihad movement in Gaza, thank you very much.” - Al Jazeera, Qatar

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