Friday, January 9, 2009

Worth reading: interview with a Hamas spokesman

I'm waiting to see if any of the MSM pickes this up from Al Jazeera.

I suspect the heavy pro-Israel spin would be, Why dignify terrorists by listening to them? We've said what they need to do to re-establish a cease-fire.

And I'm certainly not enamored with Hamas or any other Islamist organization.

But the process of negotiating a cease-fire rather than dictating surrender terms begins with--as they say--a frank exchange of views.

So here are two snippets from an interview with Hamas spokesman Abu Marzouq, the first on a cease-fire, the second on Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton:

excerpt one

Al Jazeera: Under what conditions will Hamas agree a ceasefire with Israel?

Abu Marzouq: We have three conditions for any peace initiative coming from any state.

First, the aggression of the Israelis should stop. All of the gates should be opened, including the gate of Rafah between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Finally, Israel has to withdraw from the Gaza Strip.

We are not saying we will stop firing rockets from the Gaza Strip to Israel - we are only talking about stopping the aggression from the Israelis against the civilian population in the Gaza Strip.

When others talk about a ceasefire, they are saying all military operations should stop.

But we are sending a message [by firing rockets]: "We will not surrender. We have to fight the Israelis and we will win this battle."

We know we are going to lose a lot of people from our side, but we are going to win, inshallah.


excerpt two:

Has Hamas had any contact with the administration of Barack Obama, the US president-elect?

No, we haven't had any direct contact.

Do you have any expectations regarding the approach of Hillary Clinton, the US nominee-designate for the post of US secretary of state?

We cannot evaluate something that lies in the future.

We know that in the US senate, Hillary Clinton's vote was always with Israel, but maybe there will be some differences when she becomes secretary of state.


The rest of the interview is worth reading, even if only in a know-your-enemy way.

[I do have to admit that I'm waiting for somebody to parse that we haven't had any direct contact with Obama line. I suspect it is either a translation artifact, or Marzouq trying to send signals that Hamas would love such contact. Yet what's interesting is that, unlike recent comments from Al Qaeda's number two, the Hamas spokesman seems to be going out of his way to come across as neutral on the new administration.]

2 comments:

Delaware Watch said...

"We are not saying we will stop firing rockets from the Gaza Strip to Israel - we are only talking about stopping the aggression from the Israelis against the civilian population in the Gaza Strip."

Unless I'm reading this wrong, that's hypocritical since the rockets fired from Gaza tend to effect the Israeli civilian population the most. It sounds like he's saying, "Israel should stop firing on our non-combatants, but we'll continue to fire on theirs."

Steve Newton said...

Dana
I don't disagree with you. But in some ways it is almost the mirror image of the Israeli position.

I posted this primarily because I'm tired of the otherwise complete embargo on primary source news on Hamas.