Hamas leader Haniyeh:
Goal is destruction of Israel in stages
Hamas agrees to '67 borders
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
At a ceremony marking the 24th anniversary of the founding of Hamas, Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniyeh said that Hamas may work for the "interim objective of liberation of Gaza, the West Bank, or Jerusalem," but that this "interim objective" and "reconciliation" with Fatah will not change Hamas' long-term "strategic" goal of eliminating all of Israel:
"The armed resistance and the armed struggle are the path and the strategic choice for liberating the Palestinian land, from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river, and for the expulsion of the invaders and usurpers [Israel]... We won't relinquish one inch of the land of Palestine."
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In his speech, Haniyeh also promised that Hamas will "lead Intifada after Intifada until we liberate Palestine - all of Palestine, Allah willing. Allah Akbar and praise Allah."
Two days later, contradicting Haniyeh's statements, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said that Hamas leader abroad Khaled Mashaal had agreed that:
- "There will be no military resistance."
- "The permanent solution is on the '67 borders."
According to Abbas, Hamas agrees to a permanent solution on the '67 borders. However, Haniyeh said that Hamas agrees to a temporary solution on the '67 borders as a first stage only.
For many years, the PLO promoted a "stages plan" that would first create a Palestinian state on the 1949 - 1967 armistice lines, and then work from that position to destroy Israel.
Senior Fatah official Abbas Zaki recently stated that this remains the goal for Fatah as well, but that "you can't say it to the world. You can say it to yourself."
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The following are longer excerpts of the statements mentioned above:
Speech by Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas at ceremony marking 24th anniversary of the founding of Hamas:
"We welcome you today, on this anniversary of the founding of the Islamic Resistance Movement - Hamas, as you renew the promise and oath of loyalty with Allah, with His Messenger and with His believers; you are renewing the loyalty to the blood of the Martyrs and the path of resistance and Jihad upon the blessed land of Palestine...
We say today, explicitly, so it cannot be explained otherwise, that the armed resistance and the armed struggle are the path and the strategic choice for liberating the Palestinian land, from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river, and for the expulsion of the invaders and usurpers [Israel] from the blessed land of Palestine. The Hamas movement will lead Intifada after Intifada until we liberate Palestine - all of Palestine, Allah willing. Allah Akbar and praise Allah. We say with transparency and in a clear manner, that Palestinian reconciliation - and all sides must know this - cannot come at the expense of [our] principles, at the expense of the resistance. These principles are absolute and cannot be disputed: Palestine - all of Palestine - is from the sea to the river. We won't relinquish one inch of the land of Palestine. The involvement of Hamas at any stage with the interim objective of liberation of [only] Gaza, the West Bank, or Jerusalem, does not replace its strategic view concerning Palestine and the land of Palestine."
[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), Dec. 14, 2011]
PA TV rebroadcast of interview in Arabic with Abbas on the European Union's news channel Euro-News:
Abbas [asked about discussions with Hamas]: "We held a meeting about a month ago, Khaled Mashaal [head of Hamas political bureau] and I, and we established some foundations for an agreement. Among these foundations - first, Hamas concurs with us on the following points: the first point is that the calm and the ceasefire are [in place] not only in Gaza, but also in the West Bank - that's one. Two - the resistance must be non-violent -popular. There will be no military resistance, honestly. And we agreed on this. The third point [was] that the permanent solution is on the '67 borders. Hamas agreed to this, too. The fourth point - that we would go to elections in May of next year."
[PA TV (Fatah), Dec. 16 and 17, 2011]