MECRA Interview With
Hamas Political Leader
Mr. Mousa Mohammad Abu Marzouk was born in Gaza in 1951. Holds a Ph.D., (American University education), in industrial engineering. He was accused of terrorism and extradited from Jordan to the U.S. where he was imprisoned for almost one year. The American government resisted Israeli calls to extradite him to Israel and sent him back to Jordan in may 1997. He is very active in the Hamas movement. Member of the politburo and real power behind the throne. He is not the one who was attacked by the Mosad.
MECRA is pleased to introduce Mr. Abu Marzouk.
The following is the full text of the interview.
MECRA: Dr. Abu Marzouk, Hamas and other Islamic or Islamic leaning political movements are notoriously known, especially in the west, as being totally opposed to peace with Israel. This reputation, it seems has been used against you by your enemies and rivals to their maximum advantage. Is it true that the Hamas movement is so vehemently opposed to peace?
It is unfortunate that Western public opinion is easily manipulated by Israeli propaganda. Self-defense is God given right. Resisting an occupying army is a universal value that has been elevated to the level of duty by a modern civilization dominated by the West.
Dr. Abu Marzouk: Hamas is not opposed to peace. But we are certainly opposed to submission or capitulation. This is the kind of peace that is being offered now. The Palestinian people are being asked to simply accept a situation in which they are oppressed, dispossessed, and deprived of their most basic rights as human beings, as a normal and permanent state of affairs, and to give up what all human beings consider to be a natural right - the right to live in peace and dignity in their own ancestral homeland. The Israelis created this human
tragedy by the use of brutal force, by a total disregard to the norms of law and morality and by the help or acquiescence of the west. May be they can continue this for some time to come, but they will never be rewarded with our voluntary acceptance or quiescence. It is simply preposterous for anyone to ask the Palestinians to do so and, worse still, to accuse us of being opposed to peace when we refuse. It is sad and tragic that some Palestinians were duped into thinking that Israel was in pursuit of real peace and justice, only to be quickly and rudely disillusioned, but only after paying a heavy price for their folly.
MECRA: Hamas is accused, by Israel and many western countries, of employing terrorism against Israel. Terrorism is considered, by your accusers, a morally repugnant political technique because it targets innocent civilians. Public opinion, especially in the west, has been inflamed by this issue, and it is working to the advantage of Israel. How do you answer this accusation?
Dr. Abu Marsouk: It is unfortunate that western public opinion is easily manipulated by Israeli propaganda. Self-defense is a God given right. Resisting an occupying army is a universal value that has been elevated to the level of duty by a modern civilization dominated by the west. This is precisely what we advocate. No one has the right to deny us the right to defend ourselves against a brutal oppressor that has uprooted our people, and to resist its continued attempts to deprive them of a dignified and meaningful existence. The onus and the blame should be put squarely on Israel for level of violence that sometimes takes a random and irrational form. It is not humanely possible to imagine the anguished state of mind that drives a person to such extreme acts of desperate protest. Such are the conditions of extreme deprivation and despair under which our people are forced to endure, and that were deliberately created by Israel.
I do not understand how western public opinion turns a blind eye to the ugliest form of terrorism that Israel has been waging against unarmed and helpless civilians on daily bases and for many decades. Policies of consecutive Israeli governments towards the Palestinians can best be described as a series of measures, deliberately undertaken, to cause harm, suffering, and even death, to a helpless civilian population ,women and children included. It would serve western public opinion leaders well to look at the facts and figures that show the plight of the millions of Palestinians who were subjected to Israel's sustained terror campaign.
The agreements that have been reached, so far cannot provide the basis for a real and permanent peace, since they were signed by a political elite that abandoned its own people in the pursuit of their own narrow interests."
MECRA: Many political observers consider Hamas to be too rigid, politically speaking. First of all, it is claimed that your position toward Israelis too uncompromising. Hamas aims at the total liberation of Palestine. This is seen as a totally unrealistic goal, since Israel is a reality, it is a very strong military power and is allied with a world power that has a virtual monopoly of power at the global level. Your organization's position is also considered rigid in another way. You refuse to deal with leading states at the regional and international levels simply because you disagree with their political positions regarding the Palestinian issue.
But you cannot change the fact that some of them have substantial weight at either the regional or the international arenas, and you cannot hope to play a politically effective role unless you accept this political reality and become more open to the world. How do you answer these accusations? And is it at all possible that Hamas would one day accept the existence of Israel?
Dr. Abu Marsouk: It is true that there are certain regional and international political realities that should be taken into account. But why is it the Palestinian side that is being asked to accept the reality of Israel and not vice versa. Or, to put it differently, how can we accept to deny our own identity and to forgo our rights in order to please the powers that be. What is important to us is to be accepted by our own people. This demands that we faithfully express their supreme and vital interests even if this leads to our movement's rejection by outside powers. It is much more important for us to be accepted internally and rejected externally than to be accepted externally but rejected by our own people. We would rather achieve both goals simultaneously, but if the two clash, our choice is clear. I think the most serious problem facing us now is the illegitimacy of the present "official' Palestinian leadership. It lacks legitimacy precisely because, in order to become accepted to the Israelis and their allies, it had to forsake the most elementary demands of the people it was supposed to represent. The agreements that have been reached, so far cannot provide the basis for a real and permanent peace, since they were signed by a political elite that abandoned its own people in the pursuit of their own narrow interests. Unfortunately our position has been subjected to a great deal of distortion. Hamas does not reject the presence of Jews in Palestine. This has never been our position. But we reject that Palestine becomes an exclusively Jewish state, which is the exact goal of the Zionist movement. It is a historical fact that Christians and Jews have lived our midst for more than a thousand years without suffering from any form of discrimination, and found a safe refuge in our area when they were subjected to inhuman discrimination in the West.
The proper question to ask is why does Israel deny the existence of the Palestinian people and their rights. Palestinians never usurped the land or the home of a Jew in Palestine, But tens of thousands of their own homes and property were usurped by Israelis.
MECRA: Thanks for your time!
This interview was conducted by Dr. Radwan R. Abdullah, MECRA Senior Regional Consultant.
'Ties with Hamas reason for fewithin Brotherhood'
Copyrigt - MECRA-Shurdom
"I say this one more time so that everyone understands. We do not hate the Jews as Jews. We do not fight the Jews as Jews. We are fighting (people) who take our rights and our land, and our homes and our houses. We are fighting those who kill us. We want Truth. We are not the aggressors against anyone. We do not oppress anyone.
The Palestinian people want to return to their homes. For that reason, we are prepared to live with the Jews in the best possible circumstances, in brotherhood and a spirit of cooperation.
But they must not infringe our rights. If my Muslim brother, of the same mother and father, took my land I would fight him. I would fight my brother, though he was from the same mother and father."
Sheikh Ahmed Yassin
The founder and the spiritual leader of Palestinian group-Hamas.
This is a translation by Out There News of an interview by APTV in a Jordanian hospital on October 4, 1997.
An Interview with
Dr. George Habash
The General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).