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“The European people should stand with the Palestinians”

29. August 2006

Interview with Dr. Musa Abu Marzook, Deputy Chairman of Hamas Political Office

Question: Currently, there are talks between Hamas and Fatah in order to build a common government. Do you believe that it will be possible to build this government and what is its aim?

Dr. Marzook: Yes, we believe in the common government and this was our policy right from the beginning. One of our aims before the last elections was to share responsbilities with Fatah, and in general to have a shared government between all Palestinian groups. We have a lot of problems and we have to carry responsibility for them together with the others. After Abu Mazen assigned Mr. Haniyeh to be Prime Minister and to establish a new government, we opened discussions with all of the groups to form the Palestinian government. They refused because there is a lot of pressure coming from the US and others not to join the Hamas government. After a few months, they expected the government of Hamas to fail. This was the main reason to refuse being in an aligned government. But the Palestinian people stood with Hamas and supported its government. Now we opened again discussions with Fatah and the others. I guess that now we will reach an agreement between Hamas and Fatah to establish an aligned government. But we said yesterday officially that Abu Mazen should ask the Israelis to release the Members of Parliament and other Hamas members who were kidnapped from the Westbank before we start to discuss about the government. We have opened discussions with the other groups, but at the same time we have to put pressure on the Israeli government to release the Palestinian members of Parliament and government who have been arrested.

Question: Do you believe that the government will be formed?

Dr. Marzook: I think the government will be formed, but currently there are some difficulties. Eight ministers and 21 Members of Parliament are in prison. Yesterday, the deputy prime minister was arrested. Still, I hope that we will soon be able to form the government.

Question: Some people say that the price to form the government is to accept Israel as a state. Is this true?

Dr. Marzook: No, there is a full agreement between Hamas and Fatah and in this agreement we did not talk about this issue. To recognize Israel is not a condition to form this government and it is not on our Agenda as Hamas.

Question: It is obvious that Hamas has won the elections because it is the only political force that openly stated that it would carry on with the Intifada. In which form the resistance struggle could be carried on?

Dr. Marzook: It is unusual to have a government under conditions of occupation. The government carries all the responsibilites while the occupation has the entire authority. The government can never work without the permission of the occupying force. At the same time, in this situation we have to have resistance. Without resistance, the occupation will last for a long time or forever. When we took over the government, we said that at the same time we will continue resistance. This is our project, our agenda. Under any circumstances, we will not lift the resistance struggle against the occuption.

Question: The Israeli aggression against Lebanon failed this time. It turned out to be a victory for the Lebanese resistance, especially Hisbollah. Does this influence your resistance struggle?

Dr. Marzook: It is a victory for our resistance, because the victory that was gained by Hisbollah is a victory for all the resistance struggles in the area. It is a victory for Hamas resistance, for Iraqi resistance, for anyone who is against aggression, against the occupation and in favor of freedom. After the victory of Hisbollah, nobody thinks that Israel is still a big country in the Middle East. The US can’t say anymore that there is a new Middle East whose head would be Israel. After the victory of Hisbollah, who are a small party, Israel can’t claim anymore to be a super-power in the Middle East.

Question: Many people in Europe accuse Hamas to be against Jews and to plan to kick them out of Palestine. What is your position on Jewish people living in the historic territory of Palestine?

Dr. Marzook: We are not against Jews. In Islam, if I refuse to believe in the Jews’ prophets, I am not a Muslim. Muslims have to recognize all Jewish prophets, while on the other hand, the Jews do not recognize our prophet. Secondly, the Jews lived with us hundreds of years without any problems. They lived in Yemen, Morocco, Tunisia, Iraq, Egypt and Syria without any problems. There were no massacres. But if you look to Europe’s history, the situation changes. They were many massacres. Many of the Jews who used to live in Arab countries, had come there fleeing the massacres in Europe. We as Muslims cannot harm any other people who believe in other religions. Christians and Jews lived with us without many problems, also in Palestine and Jerusalem. The problems started with the massive Jewish immigration to Palestine, when Jews started kicking Palestinians out of their country. That is the reason why we fight Israel. We haven’t any problems with Jews, we do have problems with those people who pushed Palestinians out of our country. We are looking for justice. If Christians or even Muslims did they same thing, we would fight them as well because we are looking for justice.

Question: In Europe, many people fear Hamas and other parties of political Islam because they believe that the model of society Hamas wants to implement is that of an Islamic state. Could you briefly explain to us what kind of society you are aiming at?

Dr. Marzook: First of all, Hamas is now striving to remove the occupation and to establish a Palestinian state that is governed by the Palestinians. We are in the government right now and we are following the Palestinian constitution. Anyway, there is a lot of propaganda against the Islamic state. Sometimes out of ideological standpoints, sometimes because of misinformation or misunderstandings. I believe that the Islamic state means more justice, more freedom and more democracy than in any Arab state right now. Many people think that an Islamic state would be like Iran, but this is not exactly the model. In any case, we are striving for an independent country, governed by the Palestinian people and they have the right to choose any constitution they wish after the liberation.

Question: What is your message to the European people?

Dr. Marzook: They should look at the Palestinian dilemma. There is a common language between us, the language of justice and freedom. We have the right to establish our country, to establish an independent state and we are asking the European people to correct the historical mistake they committed when they helped the Israelis without looking at the Palestinan rights. The European people should stand right now with the Palestinian people.