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Hamas’s al-Zahhar on Developments in Gaza | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- Dr. Mahmudal-Zahhar, a prominent leader of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and former Palestinian Foreign Minister, has said that the Hamas Movement wants to reorganize the Palestinian intelligence service on a national basis and does not want the notorious Preventive Security Service in Gaza. He said that his movement has fears about the security issue, which is one of the most important problems that led to the recent events.

In a telephone interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Al-Zahhar said, “The security centers of the Fatah Movement in Gaza still exist, and we have not seized control of them. The police are functioning, and we will make a list and collect all the things looted from some of the centers during the chaos and return them. We will reorganize the security situation.” He said, “There will be no rocket attacks on Israel unless it attacks Gaza.”

Al-Zahhar added,” There is a strong faction in the Fatah Movement in the Gaza Strip demanding that leaders who caused the destruction of the movement, led by Muhammad Dahlan, be brought to justice and severely punished, and we in Hamas will back this faction.”

Regarding the situation in Gaza, he said: On the security level, calm is prevailing in the Gaza Strip, which it has not witnessed since 1994. He noted that all the crossings were reopened and functioning since yesterday, and goods, food commodities, and gasoline have entered Gaza. All the needs of the Palestinian people are arriving. We have electricity and water. The Rafah crossing was also reopened, and its status would be discussed with the Europeans.

Referring to the situation in the West Bank, Al-Zahhar said, “Security disorder exists. The West Bank is witnessing acts of revenge against members of the Hamas Movement. If the situation continues like this, members of the Hamas Movement will be forced to defend themselves by unknown means.” He noted, “There is a faction in Fatah gaining strength in the West Bank, led by Jibril al-Rujub that does not want to transfer what happened in Gaza to the West Bank and does not want Dahlan and his group to dominate Fatah.”

Asked whether there were Fatah detainees still in the hands of Hamas, he said: All detainees from Fatah and the security services have been released as a gesture of appreciation to Egypt and the Egyptian security delegation. He added, “Hamas has established a motto for the coming period, which is: Compassion is the axiom of the period.”

Regarding the Americans and the Israelis, Al-Zahhar said, “We in Hamas have not and will not wager on them at any time. They are our opponents. They were waiting for this moment to support Abu-Mazin (President Mahmud Abbas] against us. However, I affirm that the United States is facing new elections, and the US Administration will not undertake any political move in the coming period.” He added, “Israel will be watching us until it reorganizes its security and political situations. Several changes are expected to take place in Israel. The Olmert government could be changed without elections. It will help Abu-Mazin and release some funds, which will ultimately benefit the Palestinian people, because Abu-Mazin will not be able to stop payments to the employees in Gaza.”

Responding to a question about the position of the Hamas Movement and the Al-Qassam Brigades if Gaza was the target of Israeli raids, he stressed, “In case of an aggression, we will retaliate in the appropriate way, including firing rockets.”

Regarding Arab support of the Fayyad government, Al-Zahhar said, “All those who help the new government will lose among the Arab people, because the Palestinian people are fully aware of the political situation and know who are with them and who are against them.”

Al-Zahhar believes that “the current crisis between the Fatah and Hamas Movements will take one of two courses: either the dialogue between the two movements will resume and the Palestinian rank will be reunited or the current situation will continue and the division between the Palestinian people and territories will be perpetuated. President Mahmud Abbas (Abu-Mazin) will be held responsible for the second alternative because of his unlawful decisions.”

He added: The crisis can only be resolved through an agreement between the Fatah and Hamas Movements. Abu-Mazin will have to cancel all the decisions he made and their results and recognize the new reality on the ground before any meetings take place.

Al-Zahhar added, “A reading of the present situation confirms that Abu-Mazin is continuing to implement unlawful plans. It is clear that there will be two administrations of the Palestinian territories. Abu-Mazin bears the responsibility for this situation, because the so-called emergency government does not exist in the National Authority’s basic law [constitution]. If a state of emergency is declared, this government (Haniyah’s government) should continue to carry out its duties, except declare war or sign agreements. However, he formed another government, the government of Salam Fayyad, which has not obtained the confidence of the elected Legislative Council. After 25 days, he will dismiss it and turn it into a caretaker government, which is unlawful.” He added,” The existing Palestinian government (under Haniyah) will exercise its duties in full, and will not abandon its duty toward the Palestinian people.”