Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal gestures as he announces a new policy document in Doha, Qatar, May 1, 2017. REUTERS/Naseem Zeitoon - RTS14OSN

Hamas drops call for Israel’s destruction in a new political document

The Palestinian Islamist Hamas organization, which controls the Gaza Strip, announced it would drop its long-standing call for Israel’s destruction as well as its association with the Muslim Brotherhood, in a new policy document, which was issued yesterday. That said, the revised political document of the internationally recognized terror organization, still rejects Israel’s right to exist and backs an “armed struggle” against it, as Hamas leader Khaled Masha’al declared that his organization “will not waive an inch of,” what he defined as, “the Palestinian home soil”.

“We shall not waive an inch of the Palestinian home soil, no matter what the recent pressures are and no matter how long the occupation. Hamas rejects any idea except liberating the home soil entirely and completely, although it does not necessarily mean we recognize the Zionist entity or give up any of our Palestinian rights. Hamas considers the establishment of a Palestinian state, sovereign and complete, on the basis of the June 4th, 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital and the provision for all the refugees to return to their homeland is an agreeable form that has won the consensus among the movement members,” said Mash’al.

The support of a ‘sovereign and complete Palestinian state, based on the 1967 lines with Jerusalem as its capital’, as the Hamas leader put it, aligns with the goal of the Islamist group’s main political rival, the Fatah movement led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who seeks a future state encompassing the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem along the borders that existed before the 1967 Middle East war. Fatah officials welcomed the move by Hamas, stressing the fact that all the Palestinian factions are comprised of Muslims, no matter what their ideology may be, as long as they pursue a goal of establishing a liberated Palestinian state, the Fatah leadership welcomes their national efforts.

“Hamas’ motivation is clearly is to alleviate some of the international pressure against it and what they are trying to do is basically fool the world to say we are not as bad as you think we are, but when you look at what they tell their own people in Arabic, on Al-Aqsa TV, on Hamas’s TV stations, in their mosques, in their schools, they are calling on a daily basis to destroy Israel, they are calling on a daily basis for genocide of all Jews and this attempt to fool the world isn’t going to work because it is so abundantly clear that they continue to desire the ultimate destruction of Israel,” said David Keyes, Israeli Government Spokesman.

Israel vehemently rejected Hamas’ change of wording to its political statement as an attempt to fool the world and alleviate international pressure against it.”We welcome the return of Hamas to its people with a Palestinian representation, thinking and behavior according to the national Palestinian needs. Throughout history, Fatah never opposed or prevented the emergence of any political party, and the martyr Yasser Arafat used to say: “let thousands of flowers flourish in the garden of revolution”. Fatah, throughout history, have always welcomed every national Palestinian effort, from wherever it comes, or its political thinking, and it is okay for it to be religious thinking, we are also Muslims in Fatah movement,” said Majed Al-Fetyani, Senior Fatah Official.

The publication of the policy document comes two days before Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is due to visit Washington, and days after US President Donald Trump announced he may travel to Israel this month and sees no reason why there should not be peace between Israel and the Palestinians.