The mask slips in Al-Ahram. From MEMRI, with thanks to Rebecca Bynum:
A convention held by the Egyptian newspaper “Al-Ahram,” which was attended by writers and experts on Palestinian affairs following the Palestinian Cairo agreement on calming down the situation [ Tahdiah ], also hosted the head of the Hamas political bureau, Khaled Mash’al….
“Hamas controls its military wing… and despite that fact that it is one of the largest factions of the resistance, it is highly capable of keeping its men disciplined. Tahdiah means Tahdiah [and when you talk of] escalation, there is escalation. There is a commitment and it is honored… In the eyes of Hamas, Tahdiah is a trick within the resistance plans, [but] in the eyes of the [Palestinian] Authority, Tahdiah is a step on the way out of the resistance plan… but we still give it a chance… we can be patient and suffer, but not from the perspective of those who want to be free of the Intifada…”
“… Regarding the nature of the struggle, we know and understand that the international arena does not accept harming civilians… but the existence of the occupation requires resistance… Hamas is not in power and it operates according to the public’s state of mind. If the public would shun the resistance, Hamas could not uphold it. We respect the public, for if not, why would we have accepted this Tahdiah now?…
“… Hamas’s project is the resistance. [History] has not seen an occupation end without resistance… every negotiation devoid of resistance is useless… Hamas will become a political body only after an independent state is established. As long as there is occupation, it [Hamas] will combine the resistance with political activity…
“… I cannot be satisfied with the 1967 borders alone and see them as a permanent solution… A Palestinian might say: ‘Who gave you the right to forego the rights of Palestinians?’ So Abu Mazen himself says, in his talks: ‘I cannot forego the right of return.’ It will be his political suicide, for there are 5-6 million whose problem must be solved. However, Hamas has no objection to accept the 1967 borders as an interim solution.
“… Is there ambiguity about Hamas’s position regarding the future of the Palestinian state? [Does Hamas want] a democratic state or a bi-national one? We want a democratic state… in the religious aspect, we will not impose anything on the people, and we do not want fanaticism or extremism. As for a bi-national state, I understand the concept, but the meaning of a bi-national state is that you, the weaker side, ask for equal rights. I can ask for this for one hundred years, and we already have experience with the 1948 Palestinians [Israeli-Arab citizens]. A bi-bational [state] is not a practical solution and in the end [Palestinians will be annexed] to an occupation state…”
When Israel Withdraws From Gaza, There Will Be a Period of Rioting Over the Loot
“… There is concern that a conflict will break out over the loot [in the settlements that Israel will withdraw from in Gaza]. The main fear isn’t from the public at large, but from the PA personnel — those who are supposed to be the guardians [of the assets] are themselves the thieves. All those who took land [without a permit] and built shacks on them on the beaches of Gaza are men from the [Palestinian] Authority and the [Palestinian] security forces. Therefore, there is an agreement among all Palestinian bodies that the Fatah or the PA will have no sole right on these lands. I fear that if Israel withdraws from Gaza, and it must, there will be a period of rioting or problems resulting from a conflict over the loot and control [and the question] of who will fill the void… Hamas will not be part of this conflict, but it will not let the decision in Gaza be a monopoly of one body. It will insist on being a partner with others…”