‘WE ARE ONE PEOPLE OUR CAUSE IS ONE!’ – Hamas leader Mishhaal praises Mecca agreement

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Hamas Political Bureau chief Khaled Mishaal in an extensive interview last Tuesday reflected on the Mecca agreement between the Hamas and Fatah movements.

Mishaal said: ‘This agreement contained several basic matters.

‘First, we agreed on ending the internal conflict and aiming weapons at any Palestinian chest, banning the shedding of Palestinian blood, ending the painful fighting, and unifying the internal front to confront the occupation only.

‘The Palestinian rifle will only be directed at the occupation. This was the first step.

‘We agreed on mechanisms that prevent a return to the same situation of inter-fighting and to tend and settle the issues of painful bloodshed that took place.

‘The second thing that we achieved was creating a national unity government in which Hamas, Fatah, and the various Palestinian powers can share.

‘We agreed on the way this government will be formed and over much of the details in addition to its political programme, represented in the National Accord Document which was signed by the majority of Palestinian powers.

‘This is in addition to the letter of designation which was directed from the head of the Palestinian Authority brother Abu-Mazen (Mahmud Abbas) to the prime minister, brother Ismail Haniya.

‘Therefore, the government is on its way to formation. Hopefully within a few days the decree of designation will be issued and then the government will be formed.

‘This government will move on the basis of a specified programme, that is the National Accord Document and the letter of designation. This is what Fatah and Hamas agreed upon and it is an important step.

‘The third matter that we agreed upon in the Mecca agreement is the Palestinian partnership, particularly between the biggest two factions, Fatah and Hamas.

‘We will expand this partnership to include all powers, because we are one people, have one fate, our cause is one, and our enemy is one.

‘We do not need a national unity government only but, moreover, we need real partnership in the field, in politics, in positions, and in responsibilities, particularly since we are still in a stage of liberation and confrontation with the occupation and in a difficult period as we have seen in the past with the targeting of Al-Aqsa Mosque and what the people are living through.

‘Thank God, the Mecca agreement was blessed and comprehensive. Yes, there are things that need to be taken care of, but the solid foundations were put in Mecca and this was a big achievement.’

Mishaal was asked: ‘How do you describe Hamas’ lack of recognition of Israel and the reality of the situation that would require meetings with Israeli officials as well as contacts?’

The Hamas leader replied: ‘Every movement in the Palestinian arena has its own view, programme, and specifics and has total freedom to adopt the political programme that it is convinced of and believes in.

‘This is what we agreed upon, that each faction has total freedom.

‘However, the Palestinian government is a national unity government and as long as it is a national unity one in which all Palestinian factions are participating in, naturally its political programme will not be one of a particular faction.

‘Not Hamas’ and not Fatah’s and not any other programme, but the government will be based on a political programme that is the common denominator among all factions and this is what we agreed upon.

‘The National Accord Document is a unanimous national programme that all Palestinians agree on.

‘Regarding the letter of designation, Hamas and Fatah agreed on its language and content to be, along with the National Accord Document, a programme for the national government that we aim to form.

‘Therefore, there is no problem, every faction has its convictions, but as a national unity government, we agreed on the political foundation and this foundation defines national goals and what we strive for, that is establishing a Palestinian state to the borders of 4 June 1967.

‘This foundation also speaks about the return, real sovereignty, our right to struggle as well as the negotiations and their term of reference.

‘We emphasised that the negotiations are carried out by the president of the Palestinian (National) Authority and the head of the PLO but according to specific mechanisms and foundations.

‘In addition, when the Palestinian government carries out its work, there are interests and requirements to which it will perform accordingly.

‘This government has a clear vision and programme and has Palestinian national interests that it is working to achieve.

‘Therefore, there is no problem and no contradiction.’

 Asked to comment reports on ‘outside intervention, Islamic intervention’ in the Hamas Movement’ Mishaal said: ‘My dear brother, there are many accusations. But as God Almighty said “produce your proof”.

‘Hamas is a Palestinian, Arab, Islamic, national movement that is proud of its approach. Its decisions emanate only from the movement’s leadership institutions and nobody has influence over us.’

He stressed: ‘Hamas is not tied to anyone. It is limited by the interests of its people, Palestinian national interests, the interest and needs of our people, their concerns, and their suffering.

‘These are the basis on which Hamas makes decisions. Those who make decisions in Hamas are its leadership, and its leadership institutions.

‘Nobody has guardianship over Hamas.’

Commenting on the development of the PLO, the Hamas leader added: ‘There are two main issues: first from the organisational side and the second from political side.

‘There is no doubt that the liberation organisation is a national framework which we appreciate and are proud of and that had a major role in the national struggle.

‘However, it has become flaccid and the organisation’s institutions have been sidelined, elections have been absent, there was no democracy as there was no real democracy being practiced.

‘One of the bases to rebuild and reactivate the PLO is to rebuild the movement’s institutions: the Palestinian National Council, the Central Council, the Executive Committee and all other institutions.

‘How can they be rebuilt? They can be rebuilt first through a partnership among all forces on a democratic basis, on the basis of election inside the West Bank and Gaza, and abroad whenever possible.

‘This will give vitality in rebuilding and reorganising. It will deepen democracy in the institutions and give them power to become decision-makers without ignoring and bypassing them as has been the case in the past. This is one point.

‘Politically, as you know the PLO is going through a difficult time because of external pressures.

‘There has been a change in some of its positions, policies and the Palestinian National Charter. The PLO has been burdened with political decisions that do not suit and do not serve the national interest.

‘We need to revive this organisation through reviving its political programme, revive its charter and reach a Palestinian agreement on a political process that is suitable for us, as we did when trying to form a national government.

‘We agreed on the national accord document as a national political programme, we want to research a political programme that we can agree upon within the framework of the liberation organisation.

‘It ought to be a programme that is committed to the rights of the people and its national principles and at the same time it must be flexible, realistic, and be able to serve the interests and needs of the Palestinian people.’

He added: ‘We confirm, as we agreed in the Mecca agreement, that there must be some fast steps in the PLO issue.’

Asked if ‘the agreement reached is enough to end the suffering of the Palestinian people, Mishaal replied: ‘It is a step along the way.

‘As you know the process of the Palestinian struggle has been difficult. Our people are suffering greatly.

‘They are suffering occupation, they are being killed, assassinated, and arrested.

‘There are 11,000 people arrested including women, children, and elderly people, over 1000 of who are ill.

‘There is the question of Jerusalem, and as you know the Israeli excavations and the desecration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque; allowing Jews to be inside the vicinity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

‘These excavations are causing rifts in foundations of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

‘Jerusalem is being Judaized and its people are being forced to leave. Israel is refusing to allow Palestinians to return.

‘The Palestinian suffering is great: there are over six million Palestinians living outside the country.

‘Through our struggle, the resistance we are waging, the steadfastness, the Palestinian accord, the political and popular action, and the Intifadas, we are trying to get closer to the national aims and create a situation that forces Israel to withdraw from our land and give us our rights.

‘We are trying to form a regional, public, and international opinion that supports our people and forces Israel to respect the Palestinian rights. We are still along the way but we believe we are heading in the right direction, God willing.’