Hamas’ Meshal Affirms Support for Palestinian State Within 1967 Borders and ‘Popular Resistance’
Following on a post I published here about a Wahington Post story on the “new pragmatism” of Hamas, Khaled Meshal expanded on these themes in an AP interview in which he affirmed Hamas support for a Palestinian state established through Israeli withdrawal to 1967 borders. Though the Islamist movement’s chief leader refused to renounce violence as a tool in the fight for Palestinian rights, he made clear that violence was a tactical, and not a strategic choice; and that his first choice would be the types of “popular resistance” exhibited during the Arab Spring uprisings and the first Palestinian Intifada in 1987:
Popular protests have “the power of a tsunami,” Mashaal said, pointing to the recent waves of demonstrations across the Arab world.
“Now we have a common ground that we can work on — the popular resistance, which presents the power of people,” he said. The idea for the protests originated with the Palestinians themselves and the uprising they launched against Israel in 1987, he said, typified by crowds of rock-throwing Palestinian youths confronting heavily armed Israeli soldiers.
Mashaal also gave rare Hamas public support to the idea of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.
Pointedly, Meshal, in reaffirming Hamas support for a Palestinian state, did not mention the traditional Hamas fudging tactic, offering a hudna in its struggle against Israel:
We have political differences, but the common ground is the state on the ’67 borders. Why don’t we work in this common area,” he said.
There is no magic bullet as far as Hamas is concerned. It won’t all of a sudden become a liberal social democratic movement that is to the taste of Israel, the U.S. and the western world. Nor should that be necessary to take it seriously as one of two Palestinian interlocutors that must be included in any discussions that would resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In a related matter, The NY Times’ Isabel Kershner continues to lie about Hamas’ views about Israel. This recent passage is exemplary of her sweeping distortions of the group’s position:
…Hamas, the Islamic militant group that…is sworn to Israel’s destruction.
While there is certainly no love lost between Israel and Hamas, no senior Hamas official that I know of has in the recent past (the past few years) made any such statement. And the group would certainly, from their point of view have reason to do so after Operation Cast Lead, the Mavi Marmara killings, and years of punishing siege. Though I don’t find Hamas an exemplar of democracy (nor Fatah or Israel for that matter), statements like Kershner’s and Bronner’s do a disservice to a full understanding of the nuance of the conflict.
34 thoughts on “Hamas’ Meshal Affirms Support for Palestinian State Within 1967 Borders and ‘Popular Resistance’ – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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Ms Kershner was correct. On December 14, Minister Haniya, speaking at Hamas anniversary ceremony pledged, ‘that armed violent resistance will be the continuing strategy until all of Palestine is liberated from the river to the sea’.
Addressing the crowd, Haniyeh called for continued armed struggle against Israel.
“We affirm that armed resistance is our strategic option and the only way to liberate our land, from the sea to the river,” he said. “God willing, Hamas will lead the people … to the uprising until we liberate Palestine, all of Palestine.”
I stand corrected. But Khaled Meshal is Hamas’ leader, not Ismail Haniye. And Hamas policy on such matters is made by Meshal, not Haniye. As for Kershner, it would actually have been accurate for her to say that SOME Hamas leaders call for the end of Israel, which she did not say. But the movement as a whole, and it’s most senior leader do not.
Further, it’s worth noting that even Haniye, as radical as he may be, calls armed struggle “an option,” which corresponds to Meshal’s articulation, which sees popular (non-violent) resistance as the preferred option, with armed struggle held back and used only if necessary.
And again, even if Haniye believed otherwise and held that armed resistance was preferred, he doesn’t determine the military strategy of Hamas, as I wrote above.
Say one thing in Arabic, say the opposite in English.
As Joel says, Hamas, like Fatah, conditions the organization’s stance based on who’s listening. Nothing new there. I am unconvinced that Haniye doesn’t call some military shots–like any militia type organization hierarchies are not always strictly observed.
Why did the Shalit deal take as long as it did? Hamas has a leader inside and a leader outside the country. More to the point–isn’t Meshal still headquarterd in Damascus, at Assad’s beck and call? If so, what is he REALLY saying here…
Meshal is NOT at Assad’s beck & call. In fact, Assad is pissed that Hamas hasn’t offered full throated endorsement of the crackdown & the group is anticipating leaving Damascus for another Arab capital like Cairo or Istanbul.
Israel has set a good example by agreeing to the Two State solution and then transferring hundreds of thousands of illegal settlers to make it all but impossible.
But “everybody knows” that there will be a land exchange. Then again, who transferred hundreds of thousands and when? Go back and read New York Times archives since the Arab aggression of 1967 and their refusal to make peace in accordance with UN 242 and 343.
as I read in the AP article, that Hamas wishes to “obliterate the Israeli state….” my first thought is, the notion of “state” is an abstraction. As an abstract concept, it can’t be obliterated by violence….only the concrete manifestations can’t be obliterated….(e.g. fences, barracks, H-Bombs, )
My next thought is, as a U.S. born anarcho-capitalist, I desire the obliteration of the American state. THe H-Bombs, the military industrial complex, the FDA and all the other bureaucratic regulatory apparatus. I think it’s OK for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to applaud the obliteration of the Israeli state in that sense, and I’m pretty sure most Iranians would be thrilled with the obliteration of the Iranian state.
It would be more useful to ask the Hamas leader with what would he replace the Israeli state if its obliteration became a reality. Would he wish for a free and prosperous commonwealth of individuals at liberty? If so , why should anyone view that as a threat? If not, if he wishes for something inimical to individual liberty, then focus on why that’s wrong, and not on cliches like “obliteration”
Would you be so kind as to inform me as to the borders of this Israel State. Perhaps Hammas would be prepared to accept an Israel country with fixed borders.
@Joel – you nailed it. Because there’s absolutely no one who understands both Arabic and English, so who would know?
The nerve of those treacherous Hamas a-rab terrorists. They always lie in English, yet unwittingly reveal their “true nature” in Arabic. And since absolutely no one understands both languages, their perfidy remains hidden from the world. Brilliant!
Arafat, Johannesburg, 1994.
“Anyone who thinks Hamas has changed its position is living in an illusion”.–Hamas minister Osama Hamdan.
Last I checked Osama Hamdan didn’t run Hamas. In fact I’ve never heard of him. Have you? Again, Meshal runs the show. Not Hamdan, not you, not me.
With regard to Mr. Hamdan, I think it’s a little surprising that you’ve never heard of him as he’s been cited in comments on your blog on more than one occasion.
He’s also on Al Jazeera English and NPR quite a lot and has written op-ed pieces for The Guardian and other news outlets.
He is generally identified as being in charge of “international relations” for Hamas. I believe this is something akin to Foreign Minister.
[ed., You were already banned fr commenting at this site. Your comments will only be published if they adhere to the comment rules. Sarcasm & insult, esp. fr those previously banned, do not.]
Those nasty sand-n-gger Arabs dare to have differences of opinion between them, not like us good ol’ white men. We are all of the same mind 🙂
Ha’aretz newspaper frequently covers the same stories with different headlines and nuances, in its English and Hebrew editions. A nefarious plot, I tell you! 🙂
Any utterance from a Hamas spokesperson that is concilliatory is automatically suspect – but anything supporting armed resistance, by definition, represents the entire organization.
Israeli spokespersons by contrast – always speak with one voice. And they always have the best – and most peace loving, intentions.
I can see you’re an honors student at the Hasbara Academy.
Can you serve us a fact today. One.
I can’t tell whether this comment is directed at me. If it is, it violates the comment rules as it is off topic & pure snark. If you continue in this fashion you may be moderated.
Sure Joel, facts are easy enough to come by – here’s one:
Oct 02. Speaking in Tehran, at a conference in support of the intifada, Meshall said, ‘Resistance will remain the strategic option amd project throughout the stages to liberate Palestine, esyablish a real Palestinoan state and eliminate the Zionist project’.
I wrote about that speech here and that’s not at all what I recall reading regarding it’s contents. Provide a link to your report and tell us who translated what Meshal said. Frankly I wouldn’t trust any such claim from you without a credible source and translation.
I’ve just researched your alleged quotation & the sources I found don’t actually put that statement in quotation marks. In other words, it’s a paraphrase of what he said. I don’t trust paraphrases on subjects as sensitive as this
Got it. I checked that out & again it’s not a quotation, but a paraphrase, which isn’t trustworthy in my opinion.
Since you blocked my IP address, I’ve been using my IPhone anf cannot cut/paste quotes or links. I’m forced to paraphrase.
Why does Silverstein continue to threaten to cut off people who disagree with him like Joel and JONG?
On what basis does Silverstein place such trust in Meshal? Hamas continues to commit attempted murder by firing rockets over an internation border into civilian population areas. Isn’t the leader of such international aggression a criminal?
Are you truly suggesting that Israel does not kill the innocent of Gaza, America in particular seems to place a great deal of emphasis on the firing of missiles that usually cause a little damage and not much more, but is quite reluctant to speak out with reference the the deaths of hundreds of Palestinian women and children
Ha’aretz has it translated this way:
“Palestinians must resort to resistance no matter how costly it is, until Palestine is free and Israel is destroyed,” Meshal said.
They cite the AP in the byline as well.
Frankly, I don’t know who translated the speech & whether the translation is trustworthy. If you can find the original Arabic I can have it translated by a trustworthy translator. I am not denying that he said something close to what is claimed. But until you can authenticate the accuracy of the translation I’m not prepared to concede this is accurate.
How would I go about finding the original Arabic?