Hamas' three requests before talks: `Withdrawal of Israel from Gaza; lift the unjust siege; open all border crossings'
Hamas: `Immediate withdrawal of Israel from Gaza; lift the unjust siege; open all border crossings -- With an open mind, we will deal with any initiatives based on these three requests'
In a speech from Damascus on January 11, 2009, Khalid Mish'al, head of the Hamas political bureau, spoke on Israel's 15-day assault on the Gaza Strip. This edited text of the televised address appeared on the Socialist Unity website. For earlier statements from Hamas, see http://links.org.au/node/842.
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The Zionists wanted to impose a humiliating defeat on us because the only obstacle to confront them is resistance, especially in the Gaza Strip.
Perhaps the Zionists, because of the difference between the resistance in Lebanon and Gaza, thought that in comparison with Hezbollah, we were weak and they could regain the reputation of their army following its defeat in Lebanon. They tried to use the territories of Gaza to show their military might.
So this is a battle of demonstrating military strength, a fight or war to impose a defeat on our people. The Zionists thought that we were the weakest. However, the Zionists were surprised by the resistance.
All our supporters in the Arab and Islamic world as well as the West should be sure that the resistance in Gaza is in its best situation.
The resistance was able to absorb the strikes of the enemy and then take the initiative and day by day, we are seeing new surprises by the Palestinian resistance.
Just less than two hours ago we struck the airbase of Balnakhim which is 50 kilometers away from the Gaza Strip.
The enemy had assigned aims for itself to achieve. These aims are now lessening with the passing of time. Israel wanted to destroy Gaza, wanted to end Hamas’ control of Gaza as it said, the enemy wanted to destroy the resistance in Gaza, wanted to stop the rockets from Gaza.
But what are the Israelis left with today? They are now focusing and targeting north Gaza and are demolishing peoples’ houses over their heads while trying to enter north Gaza and stop the rockets. However, the heroic resistance has not allowed them to make progress. In the south, they are trying to stop weapons reaching Hamas. They are trying to impose new realities whereby with the new situation they can negotiate for what better suits them, for instance in the Security Council.
They are trying to send a message to the Israeli population that they are victorious; that they have imposed new realities, in order to cover up their defeats in these 15 days. But very frankly the enemy has achieved nothing.
Let us make calculations. What has the enemy achieved? I can say with all confidence according to facts on the ground that from a military perspective the enemy has failed completely. Have they stopped rockets being launched? Now they are talking about ways to stop the rockets. They want to impose new facts on southern Gaza so they can guarantee their security as they allege. But they have not attained any of their aims. So what have they achieved?
The enemy has succeeded in one thing. In addition, to covering up for their loses, Israelis do not confess to their causalities and deaths among their soldiers. They prevent the media from entering into Gaza. Israel tries to cover up these losses by talking about friendly fire and road accidents. But the truth will come out and the Zionists will discover how many people they have lost and the magnitude of their failure in Gaza. They also try to trick the world and show that they have gone deep into Gaza by fabricated TV footage. They depict by means of false pictures that they have entered deep into Gaza.
So what has the enemy succeeded in? The enemy has succeeded in committing murders. Murders against the women and children of Gaza. Israel has grouped people in houses and then destroyed the houses. They kidnap people and then execute them in cold blood.
The enemy has succeeded in bringing about a new Holocaust on Gaza.
Let me now speak to Israelis and Zionists. What have you achieved in this war that you supported? You supported your leaders in going ahead with this war, but what have you achieved besides killing innocent children, breaking skulls and creating an ocean of blood in Gaza?
What have you achieved except a Holocaust that your leaders want to use to win the next elections in February? Palestinian blood is now a means for political achievements in your elections.
You complain about the Holocaust that was committed against you, but you today are now committing an even harsher Holocaust. The Palestinians can now make a museum of your Holocaust in Gaza…
What prevented the US from allowing Resolution 1860 being passed a week or two weeks ago? They wanted to give Israel a chance to kill more Palestinians and claim victory over Gaza. But when the resistance did not back down and Israel failed and when the magnitude of these massacres were uncovered and the USA and those who collaborated in this military campaign witnessed the dissent and intifada among the Muslim masses, which carries with it real danger, at that point they let the resolution pass.
But they took the teeth out of (UN Security Council Resolution) 1860. The resolution is a non-binding cease-fire with no date specified for the cease-fire.
The question now is about who should implement the resolution. Those who started the military campaign in the first place, the Zionists, should implement it and immediately pull out of Gaza. This is logic.
Concerning us, we want the immediate and complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza and the lifting of the unjust siege on Gaza that has led to the current situation.
Our other request is the opening of all border crossings including the Rafah border crossing.
We, with an open mind, will deal with any initiatives and decisions based on these three requests.
Therefore, we will not accept any negotiations for a truce in the light of and under the pressure of a military campaign and siege.
Let the military campaign stop, let the Israelis withdraw, and let the rights of our people be admitted to, let them recognize our rights to live without a siege and closed border crossings, just like other humans, then we are ready to discuss a truce, just like we did before.
We will not accept a permanent truce, because it will take the right of resistance from the Palestinian people. The resistance is against occupation and military campaigns and therefore as long as occupation exists, resistance will too…
We will also not accept the interference of international forces because international forces will come only to protect Israel’s security and any international force imposed will be considered as occupiers.
We will not accept any talks about strengthening the ``choke hold'' on the resistance concerning its weapons. Some are speaking about the tunnels as if Gaza is a super power with advanced weapons, while we are people with very limited capabilities to defend our territories and ourselves. No body has the right to take our legitimate right for defense and resistance. The US, as if the whole of the Israeli arsenal does not exists, sends hundreds of tons of explosives and artillery shells to Israel.
In this context, we still sent our delegation to Cairo to talk about Egypt’s proposal and other political plans. The November 2005 Rafah crossing agreement, must be reconsidered because this agreement really promoted the blockade on Gaza and we proposed different means and methods.
I call on Mr. Mahmoud Abbas -- who called for national unity in the face of Israel’s attacks -- to declare to the world that we must agree to a Palestinian partnership between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas in Gaza, so that we can reach a firm arrangement in Rafah. This is appropriate choice for you. Anything besides this has no credibility when it comes to national unity.
We supported national unity from day one–nNational unity based upon confronting the military campaign, but this needs honesty and credibility. All political detainees must be freed and the Palestinians in the West Bank must be free to hold protests without being arrested. We saw them arrested of course yesterday. We also call on Mahmoud Abbas to stop cooperating with the enemy and to stop negotiations with the Israelis. There is no future for these negotiations…
And to the Arab countries, by God you abandoned and degraded us. But if you made mistakes in the past go ahead and correct your mistakes before it is to late… I call on Arab countries not to welcome any Israeli official in their capitals.
The Arab leaders must coordinate and be aligned with the will of their people. Moreover, I call on Arab countries that have relations with Israel to tell the Israelis either that they should stop their war, or that the Arab countries will stop their relations.
After this resolution, the Muslim Ummah should not calm down and assume the atrocities are over. Resolution 1860 has not brought about any changes on the ground. Israel refuses the resolution and the battle in Gaza is in its most intense phase. What we need is more stern resistance in Gaza and we need more fierce protests in the Arab and Islamic world and the international community to achieve victory for the people of Gaza. We need a third Intifada (uprising) in the West Bank and a revolution in the Arab, Islamic world until the enemy withdraws from Gaza, the siege is lifted and the border crossings are opened.
A very important point is that the Muslim world should stand by us. In spite of all these massacres committed by Israel, some say that we are the problem and the massacres are our fault. These are shameful words. What provided the atmosphere for the Zionists to boost their reputation (among their people) and to increase our wounds and impose new circumstances, for example the separation wall, settlement activities and so on, all happened at the time of negotiations.
Concerning are casualties and wounded, resistance cannot liberate without martyrs and casualties. It is better to achieve victory through martyrs and wounded, instead of having casualties without resistance and victory.
Some express fear that after all the sacrifices, the leadership of the resistance may collapse or make a settlement for example. On the contrary, the blood of our women and children and people will increase our cohesion and determination to achieve our aims. It is unjust that after all these massacres to just go and say lets make a truce. On the contrary, the price of this bloodshed is freedom and to decide our own destiny and to end the occupation and siege.