HAMAS WILL NOT RECOGNISE ISRAEL – ‘whatever the pressure’

Gate Gourmet locked-out workers campaigning at Heathrow Airport yesterday
Gate Gourmet locked-out workers campaigning at Heathrow Airport yesterday

Palestinian national resistance movement, Hamas, insisted on Tuesday that it will not recognise the Israeli occupation whatever pressures are placed on the Hamas-led government.

Speaking from Khan Younis, the spokesman for the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip, Sami Abu-Zuhri, said that the Israeli arrest of Hamas members will not make the movement retreat from their principals.

The spokesman was commenting on the news that the movement’s West Bank spokesman, As’ad Farhat, had been arrested that morning.

Abu-Zuhri confirmed that such pressures will not achieve the goal of forcing Hamas to retreat, especially in regards to recognising the Israeli state.

He added: ‘We will not recognise the occupation whatever the consequences are.’

The Israeli army raided the West Bank city of Ramallah at dawn on Tuesday and arrested top Hamas leader Farhat As’ad after besieging his house in the town of Al-Tirah.

As’ad’s wife told Palestinian news agency, Ramattan, that a big Israeli military force raided the family’s home in Al-Tirah, searched its contents and then detained As’ad and took him to an unknown destination.

Palestinian security sources said Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Tuesday arrested 14 citizens in the West Bank cities of Nablus, Bethlehem and Jenin.

In Bethlehem, Israeli soldiers raided just before dawn the village of Al-Ibaiyat, east of the city, blocked the main entrances and arrested three youths, leading them to an unknown place.

In Jenin, IOF swept into Marka village south of the city and arrested two citizens, leading them to an unknown fate.

In Nablus, Israeli soldiers stormed Askar refugee camp and Asira al-Shamaliyah town and arrested nine citizens, including a 50-year-old woman, of the old city, leading them to an undisclosed place.

Israeli Occupation Forces wounded six boys in the West Bank city of Nablus, Palestinian medical sources said.

The sources said that Israeli soldiers opened fire on a group of boys, wounding them all over their bodies.

Dr Samir Abu-Zarur, from Rafidiyah Hospital, told the International Solidarity Movement that Muhammad Saqir, 17, ‘has multiple skull fractures on the right side of his head.

‘A rubber-coated metal bullet made a tract through brain tissue and is now lodged in the left side.

‘There is a grave risk to his life.’

Israeli open-fire regulations require a minimum range of 40 metres for firing ‘rubber’ bullets.

The regulations also stipulate that the bullets be fired only at a person’s legs.

Meanwhile, welcome news for Palestinians suffering a financial siege from the US and EU later came from Ramallah.

Palestinian minister of finance, Umar Abd-al-Raziq, stated that the gross total of the fiscal aid that reached the Palestinian government was 71 million dollars, in addition to 20 million dollars which arrived earlier.

Abd-al-Raziq added, at a press conference held in Ramallah, that the government was making preparations with financial sides such as the Palestinian Monetary Authority, the Egyptian Central Bank and the Jordanian Bank, to transfer the money to the Palestinian territories.

A tranche of ten million dollars has been signed off by Russia, and a sum of 100 million dollars was given the Iranian government’s seal of approval.

Saudi Arabia sent 20 million dollars to the Palestinians, while another sum of 72 million dollars is currently being discussed, the finance minister said.

Meanwhile, Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds reported on Tuesday that within the framework of his Arab tour, Dr Mahmud al-Zahhar, Palestinian foreign minister, last Monday night met with his Bahraini counterpart, Emir Khalid Bin-Muhammad Bin-Ahmad Al Khalifah, in the Bahraini capital Manama.

Al-Zahhar expressed his deep gratitude to the Bahraini monarch, prime minister, government, and people for their support of the Palestinian people and their national cause.

A report issued by the Foreign Ministry’s Information Office noted that Al-Zahhar reviewed recent political developments and the suffering of the Palestinian people as a result of the ongoing Israeli aggression.

He reviewed the mounting losses in all daily spheres, such as the health and agricultural fields; and the accumulating debts of the PNA (Palestinian National Authority).

The foreign minister affirmed the Hamas-led government’s keenness on national unity and the exceptional relations with President Mahmud Abbas.

Al-Zahhar said: ‘Our domestic policy is based on justice, mutual understanding, and national unity.

‘Our programme is based on justice and financial, administrative, and moral reforms.’

He also indicted that the Palestinian government will not take sides in any Arab conflict.

He added: ‘We do not temper with the security of any country and would like to see everyone rally around the Palestinian cause.’

For his part, the Bahraini foreign minister affirmed his country’s support for Palestine and the Palestinian government and people.

He reiterated Bahrain’s compliance with the pledge it made at the Khartoum Arab summit, considering it an obligation to Palestine and the Palestinian people.

Also on Tuesday, the Secretary-General of the Palestinian Presidency Al-Tayyib Abd-al-Rahim denied news that President Abbas is seeking European aid to expand his presidential guard and keep offices under his control running.

The Reuters news agency had quoted a senior Abbas aide and Western diplomats in Jerusalem as saying that his tour is to seek funds to expand his presidential guard.

Abd-al-Rahim told official Palestinian news agency, Wafa: ‘This is completely false.’

He made clear that the president’s goal of visiting Europe is to seek support for the Palestinian people and not for his special guard, as was reported, adding that such news is just a rumour intended to prove that there is a shadow government in the presidential institution.

Abd-al-Rahim pointed out that the aim of the president’s tour to donor states is to urge them to continue their aid to the Palestinian people and to end punishing and isolating them as well as to push the peace process forward.