Saturday, January 03, 2009

Hamas on recognition and the truce

From Alain Gresh's blog, via (and presumably translated by) Les Politiques

« Our position vis-à-vis the recognition of Israel is one of reserve. However, despite this, we said that we will not be an obstacle to the different Arab actions meant to implement their 2002 (1) peace initiative. Arabs have multiplied peace initiatives, the latest was in 2007. But the Israeli government has refused the Arab peace initiative by playing with words, multiplying maneuvers, and breaking the initiative into small pieces and problems, not considering it as a whole. »

« The truce did not end by a decision. It was meant to last six months, and that's what's happening. There is no need for somebody to announce the end of the truce. The agreement for the truce rested on three points: a military truce; its extension, after few months, to the West Bank; the end of the Gaza blockade. Moreover, Egypt, who brokered the truce, committed to reopen its Rafah border as part of the agreement. »

« The different aspects of the agreement were respected, only marginally, by Israel. Violence decreased as aggressions against Gaza became few but did not stop (twenty-five Palestinians died since the agreement was signed). As for the rest, nothing was accomplished. The crossing points which were due to reopen within ten days of the signing of the agreement on June 19 2008 were only partially reopened. And, during the last period, the situation in Gaza became worse than before the agreement. Earlier during the truce, we realised that the agreement wasn't going to achieve anything, but we were committed to respect it as it is out of gratitude to Egypt who worked hard to negotiate the agreement. »

« In June, when the agreement was signed, 94 % of the Gaza population was for the agreement. Today, the people of Gaza are against because it did not achieve what was the most important thing for them: the end of the blockade. The non renewal of the agreement was therefore natural expressing the state of mind of the population of Gaza.»

The truce signed in June 2008 could not have been anything else than a temporary truce meant to achieve precise goals. Since these goals were not achieved and « since what is at the origin of the present situation, the occupation, results in resistance», the truce was going to end by war. « We are conducting a defensive war, not a war of aggression. »

Khaled Mechaal, Hamas political leader in exile, to Alain Gresh on December 19th, 2008.

(1) The Arab 2002 initiative recognises Israel as before the 1967 war borders, Jerusalem as capital of a Palestinian state and leaves open the question of the right of return of palestinian refugees. Hamas, as well as all Palestinian organisations, except Islamic Jihad, signed an internal agreement which meets these points."

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