Amman, Asharq Al-Awsat- Dr. Mahmud al-Zahhar, chairman of the Hamas bloc in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), stated yesterday that the peace process with Israel “does not exist in reality”, the roadmap “is now dead”, and the Oslo agreements “are finished.” He stressed that the Palestinian side would not make concessions to Israel in return for nothing and that the resistance “is not to fire of a bullet here and there and then make a bid.”
Al-Zahhar told “Asharq al-Awsat” that the PLC’s participation in the 47 th session of the Arab Parliamentary Union “is aimed at mobilizing the Arab stand in support of the Arab cause” and pointed out that the Palestinian cause needs more political, legislative, and material support.
Regarding Palestinian National Authority Chairman Mahmud Abbas’s announcement of his intention to resign if Hamas did not continue the peace process with Israel, Al-Zahhar asked, “Where is the peace process, especially as the other party has nothing to offer for the sake of peace.” He added that “The peace does not exist in reality and with it the Oslo agreements and the roadmap. Why do we make it difficult for us by raising such problems in return for nothing?” He noted that a delegation representing Hamas would meet President Abbas to discuss the Palestinian stand on the peace process following the return to Palestine of the Palestinian parliamentary delegation attending the session.
In reply to a question about the Fatah movement’s participation in the Palestinian government that Hamas would form, Al-Zahhar said, “We wish for the participation of all in the government. We have not received yet an official response from Fatah about this. The official response we received was from Rawhi Fattuh, chairman of the Fatah bloc in the PLC, who informed us of the movement’s willingness in principle to join the government.” He pointed out that the two sides have drawn up a draft for joint action program, not only with Fatah but also with the other parliamentary blocs in the new PLC and said, “We will continue our talks about this after the Arab Parliamentary Union ends its session and we return to Palestine.”
On the freeze of US aid to the Palestinian Authority, Al-Zahhar said, “We do not want US aid at the expense of our national plan, our territories, and our holy places.”
In reply to another question about a Hamas delegation’s visit to Jordan he said that the visit would take place soon “and there is a Jordanian invitation and a response on our part.” He expressed his gratitude for the Jordanian stand of support and backing for the Palestinian people and its respect for their determination and decisions.
The Hamas leader went on to assert that the movement “is eager to have good relations with Jordan and Egypt, politically and economically”, and that this “is necessary for the success of our plan. Egypt is the Palestinian people’s gate through Gaza and the Jordan gate is through the West Bank.”
Regarding Hamas’s talks with the Palestinian forces to form a national unity government, Al-Zahhar pointed out that the first round of the talks and consultations with all the forces “have ended” and all expressed an agreement in principle to join. He added however that the second round of consultations “will deal with the government’s program in all fields” and said, “There are no disagreements with most of the forces, including the Fatah movement, over the government’s economic and social program. The disagreement is over the political program, which is under deliberation.” He concluded that the “free recognition that the PLO offered to Israel in 1993 led to this situation we are in now, from the expansion of the settlements, control of occupied Jerusalem, to the loss of years of big sacrifices.” He added, “We will not repeat a failed experiment.” He then expressed his belief in the success of Hamas’s upcoming experiment saying that this success “will come from correcting the financial and administrative corruption and failings that involve the massive waste of the Palestinian people’s funds and resources and from the investments by the Palestinians inside and abroad as well as the Arabs, investments that were absent because of the corruption.” He also mentioned that Arab countries, among them Egypt, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, “have promised to revive and back the Palestinian economy.”
He went on to say that “anyone who wagers on this government’s failure will fail” and downplayed the ability and threats of the United States to thwart the Hamas government and said: “The United States is not a god or the decider who should be obeyed.” He added, “We were able to defeat with resistance a nuclear state, Israel, albeit a partial defeat. Though we were not able to score a decisive victory, we are not wiling to hand over to our sons the flag at half mast.”
Al-Zahhar was not surprised by the statements of General Yair Naveh, the commander of Israel’s Central Military Zone, who warned before two days of what he claimed “is an Islamic axis stretching from Iran to Gaza and that it could affect Jordan and its regime.” He said, “This is the Israeli unconscious that a slip of the tongue revealed. The Jordanian people should understand that these are Israel’s intentions.” He underlined Hamas’s commitment “not to interfere in the policy of Jordan or any Arab country and not to tamper with their security even if we have views that differ from those of this or that country.” He stressed that Hamas “is committed to the resistance program after its victory in the elections” and said, “We are going to make health, education, and sports programs of steadfastness and self-sufficiency the resistance program.” He added, “The challenge is to develop our weapons.”