MEMRI: Hamas Columnist: We Will Negotiate With Israel Only Over Its Departure

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MEMRI June 22, 2011 Special Dispatch No.3939

Hamas Columnist: We Will Negotiate With Israel Only Over Its Departure From
Palestine ? And Recognize It Only Once It Is Reestablished Elsewhere

In a June 4, 2011 article, Mustafa Al-Sawwaf, a columnist for the
Hamas-affiliated daily Falastin, claimed that the only thing Israel and
Hamas could negotiate was the departure of the "Israeli Jews" from all of
Palestine and the reestablishment of Israel elsewhere.

In another article, published two days later, Al-Sawwaf wrote that the
events of this year's "Nakba Day" (May 15, 2011) and "Naksa Day" (June 5,
2011), as well as the revolutions in the Arab world, marked 2011 as the dawn
of a new chapter in history. This chapter, he predicted, will end
approximately 15 years from now, with the liberation of Palestine and the
end of the Zionist occupation. He added the Palestinians must reject any
peace initiative that divides Palestine into two states, and must patiently
wait for the end of the occupation and the restoration of Palestine to its
rightful owners. He emphasized that the struggle against Israel was a
religious one, and would only be decided once this was understood.

Following are excerpts from both articles:

We Do Not Believe in Negotiations for Dividing Palestine

In his June 4, 2011 article, Al-Sawwaf wrote: "Do not be surprised if, one
day, you hear that Hamas, as the representative of the Palestinian people,
is holding direct negotiations with the Israeli occupation.

"It is not important where such negotiations are held or who conducts them.
What is important is the aim of these negotiations.

"[Let me emphasize that] this does not mean that any negotiations, direct or
secret, are [currently] underway between Hamas and 'Israel'... [But] Hamas
does not discount [the possibility of] negotiations with 'Israel.' Rather,
[some negotiations] are forbidden because of their aim. There are those who
have negotiated with 'Israel,' and continue to dream of negotiating, with a
mind to dividing Palestine between the Palestinians ? who are the [rightful]
owners of the land and of [its] history and geography ? and the usurping
occupation that wants to take their place.

"Hamas's negotiations with 'Israel' ? if there were to be [such
negotiations] ? would be different, for example, from those [conducted by
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] 'Abbas, who, in response to the
French initiative [for a peace conference in Paris], said that his first
choice was negotiations, his second choice was negotiations, and his third
choice was negotiations. He has yet to learn that this is an unfortunate
choice, as these negotiations are based on principles which are unacceptable
to the Palestinian people. The negotiations which he conducted failed
utterly ? yet despite this, he continues to cling to them and to strive for
[further negotiations].

"As for the sort of direct negotiations that could be held between Hamas and
'Israel,' we do not believe in negotiating for the sake of recognizing
Israel or for the sake of land swaps with it. Nor [do we believe in
negotiating] for the sake of relinquishing rights and steadfast principles
[in exchange] for recognition of the Palestinian state or approval of a
[Palestinian] appeal to the U.N., or for the sake of dividing Palestine.

"Hamas could only negotiate with 'Israel' over one thing: the departure of
the occupation from Palestine and arrangements for the safe removal of
'Israel' [from Palestine] ? meaning from all of Palestine and not [just] the
1967 [territories], or any of those fairytales and nonsensical [notions]
that are heard from time to time amongst the Palestinian and Israeli
negotiators or the American, European, and Arab delegates...

"These are the [only] negotiations that Hamas does not reject. The
Palestinian people does not consider them a disgrace. If 'Israel' agrees to
the notion of departing from Palestine and wants someone with whom to
discuss [the arrangement of] such a departure, we believe that Hamas would
comply and would be best suited for this role, since it does not back down
from its positions and assurances, and is as steadfast as a mountain. [In
fact,] if 'Israel' does not turn to Hamas of its own volition and request
such negotiations, [Hamas] will do this unwillingly.

"Time will prove us right. Therefore, do not waste time [on negotiations
instead of] devising and formulating plans for [the Jews'] departure from
Palestine ? a safe departure that will ensure human dignity, following which
the Israeli Jews will go wherever they wish and establish a country there.
If they [establish] a country that does not come at the expense of any other
peoples ? as in the case of the Palestinian people ? then Hamas will
recognize 'Israel.'"[1]

2011 ? The Beginning of the End of the Zionist Occupation

In his June 6, 2011 article, published the day following "Naksa Day,"
Al-Sawwaf wrote: "We have turned the page on the Naksa for good, and also on
the Nakba. Just as on May 15, [2011] we turned the page on the Nakba, and
turned over the new leaf of return [to Palestine], yesterday we turned [the
page on] the Naksa, and turned over the new leaf of nobility, honor, and
holding our heads high... We have launched a new phase, one entailing
different tools and goals.

"What happened today [i.e. on Naksa Day], which was a reenactment of the
events of May 15, [2011], is a keen and emphatic message to those wishing to
put down roots in the soil of Palestine ? [namely a message] that the
Palestinian people broke the barrier of fear long ago, and that today it has
strengthened its stance.

"The [other] Arab peoples have broken the barrier of fear, as well. The
spring of Arab revolutions will not stop at the borders of the countries
where these revolutions raged. The reason for these winds [of change] ?
Palestine and the Israeli occupation ? remains. If this were not the case,
we would not be witnessing the [marches] on the borders of occupied
Palestine aimed at supporting the Palestinian people and taking part in the
realization of its goals.

"The Israeli occupation is in a state of anxiety and unprecedented alert on
[its] borders... even though there are still some [Arab] regimes which
continue to defend this occupier. The peoples [in these countries] are
warning these regimes, saying: If you continue [along this path], you will
not escape the winds of change that will storm you and harm you.

"The occupier understood this message even before the regimes [themselves]
did ? which is why it began fearing for its future. And indeed, several
studies indicate that an increasing number of settlers in this entity [i.e.
Israelis] are requesting foreign passports... in anticipation of the
[approaching] moment of truth, for which they must prepare themselves.

"The events on the ground, both in Palestine and in the Arab [world] around
it, indicate that 2011 is different from other years. This year is laying
the groundwork for what is [to follow]. This year is laying the first brick
toward ending the occupation in Palestine. This year has launched the stage
of liberation and the end of the usurpation of Palestine. The occupation
will end altogether in no more than 15 years. This is not a long time, but
it requires patience and steadfastness alongside continuous work, sacrifice,
and a non-dependence on [outside] assurances.

"This brings us back to the [issue] of apprehensions, and to the warning
that has been heard from many quarters against turning the struggle with the
Zionist entity into a religious one. Those who have warned against this
transformation understand that it will [inevitably] come, and that it will
decide the battle. They are trying to delay the historic moment when the
occupation [finally] ends and Palestine is liberated ? for, in the past,
Palestine was liberated from its occupiers due solely to an Islamic and
religious approach.

"Those who now propose [various] solutions, conferences, and peace plans
[aimed at] dividing Palestine into a Jewish state and a Palestinian [state],
in order to evade the impending truth, are trying to grant legitimacy to
those who lack legitimacy. These plans will not succeed as long as we cling
to our rights and to our belief that the occupation is temporary and that
[its end is] only a matter of time. This must be understood by those who are
breathlessly [chasing after] conferences of false peace, which will never
come to fruition because it is a counterfeit peace.

"True peace means the restoration of rights to those [who are entitled to
them], and the restoration of Palestine to its rightful owners ? which is
why those who are breathlessly [running to] to the Paris conference must
think [twice] and stop chasing illusions. They must wait a bit and not rush.
They must stand up to watch the end of the occupation."[2]


[1] Falastin (Gaza), June 4, 2011.

[2] Falastin (Gaza), June 6, 2011.

IMRA, Independent Media Review and Analysis, was founded in 1992, by Drs. Aaron and Joseph Lerner, as an ongoing analysis of developments in Arab-Israeli relations. Awarded credentials by the Government of Israel as a news organization, IMRA provides an extensive digest of media, polls and significant interviews and events.

The site includes:

  • Israeli public opinion polls performed by Gallup
  • Palestinian public opinion surveys conducted by the Palestinian research centers
  • Summaries of news reports from the Israeli and Arab press and Arab broadcast media
  • Official Israeli and PNA statements
  • English translations of government reports and memoranda
  • Translations of important unofficial documents
  • Analysis of treaties and agreements
  • Reprints of IMRA's Op-Ed columns

This is originally posted at and IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis is responsible for the content.

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