And he’s off to such a wonderful start. An interview with a Hamas founder, Mahmoud Zahar, in Spiegel Online (thanks to all who sent this in):
Mahmoud Zahar — a founder of Hamas, and one of its most militant hardliners — has called for an Islamic state in the Gaza Strip. After the Hamas takeover of the territory last week, he’s also threatened Fatah with more violence in the West Bank.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: After heavy fighting, Hamas won control over the Gaza Strip last Saturday. But it’s not clear what your party now intends to do. The assumption in the Western world is that Hamas wants to establish an Islamic state in Gaza. Is this true?
Zahar: Of course. We want to do that, but with full support of the people. At the moment we can’t establish an Islamic state because we Palestinians have no state. As long as we don’t have a state, we will try to form an Islamic society.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: How would a Hamas-led Islamic state look?
Zahar: There would be no difference from how it looks today, because our customs and traditions in Gaza are already Islamic. Marriage, divorce, daily business — everything is Islamic. As soon as we have a state, then everyone will have their freedom. Christians will remain Christians, parties could be secular or even Communist.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: If an Islamic state is the ideal, why are there not more of them?
Zahar: If there were free and fair elections throughout the Arab world, Islamic forms of government would win everywhere. Islam is against the corruption, weakening, and materialism which have destroyed societies in Europe and America. Families are broken (in the West); there are AIDS and drugs. We don’t have such things here.
Sure. You have little children calling for genocide. You’re a very moral bunch.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: What will Hamas’ future relationship to Israel be?
Zahar: We are ready to speak with everyone about everything. Of course we have to speak with the Israelis, de facto, for example over trade. We also have to speak with them about cross-border issues, like the movement of severely ill patients and protection from bird flu and how we can avoid environmental catastrophes. We won’t discuss politics, because the Israelis have no political agenda with us. The political agenda of Condoleezza Rice and Ehud Olmert with President Mahmoud Abbas consists of trading kisses every two weeks — but with empty hands. We will only talk about essential things.
Such as, how will you make it easier for us to kill you?
SPIEGEL ONLINE: In the West there is a fear that the Gaza Strip may become a playground for international terrorism. Is this danger real?
Zahar: Our people can’t distinguish between resistance and terrorism. We’re fighting for the liberation of our land from an occupation. When people in Europe had to fight the Nazis, they were honored, later, as freedom fighters. No one would have called Charles de Gaulle a terrorist.
Right. Did Charles de Gaulle exult in the killing of civilians and call for Germany to be wiped off the map?
SPIEGEL ONLINE: The militant wings of Fatah and Hamas have been fully armed over the last few months. Are these weapons still in circulation?
Zahar: There are naturally very many weapons around now. Two years ago, one bullet in Gaza cost around â‚¬3.50 — now it would cost 35 cents. The American aid money has been translated into weapons. Thank you, America
Hey, don’t mention it, big guy!
There is quite a bit more. Read it all.