Hamas vows: ‘We will not sell our people or principles for foreign aid’
Published Feb 6, 2006 9:40 PM
Much hysteria has been raised in the mainstream media about
the Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections last month. The voice of Hamas
itself, however, has barely been aired in the U.S. Following are excerpts from a
Jan. 31 statement by Khalid Mish’al, head of the political bureau of
Hamas, that appeared in Britain’s Guardian newspaper.
is widely recognized that the Palestinians are among the most politicized and
educated peoples in the world. When they went to the polls last Wednesday they
were well aware of what was on offer and those who voted for Hamas knew what it
stood for. They chose Hamas because of its pledge never to give up the
legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and its promise to embark on a
program of reform.
There were voices warning them, locally and
internationally, not to vote for an organization branded by the U.S. and EU as
terrorist because such a democratically exercised right would cost them the
financial aid provided by foreign donors.
The day Hamas won the
Palestinian democratic elections, the world’s leading democracies failed
the test of democracy. Rather than recognize the legitimacy of Hamas as a freely
elected representative of the Palestinian people, seize the opportunity created
by the result to support the development of good governance in Palestine
and search for a means of ending the bloodshed, the U.S. and EU threatened the
Palestinian people with collective punishment for exercising their right to
choose their parliamentary representatives.
U.S. and British response
We are being punished simply for resisting oppression and
striving for justice. Those who threaten to impose sanctions on our people are
the same powers that initiated our suffering and continue to support our
oppressors almost unconditionally. We, the victims, are being penalized while
our oppressors are pampered. The US and EU could have used the success of Hamas
to open a new chapter in their relations with the Palestinians, the Arabs and
the Muslims and to understand better a movement that has so far been seen
largely through the eyes of the Zionist occupiers of our land.
to the U.S. and EU governments is this: your attempt to force us to give up our
principles or our struggle is in vain. Our people who gave thousands of martyrs,
the millions of refugees who have waited for nearly 60 years to return home and
our 9,000 political and war prisoners in Israeli jails have not made those
sacrifices in order to settle for close to nothing.
While we are keen on
having friendly relations with all nations, we shall not seek friendships at the
expense of our legitimate rights. We have seen how other nations, including the
peoples of Vietnam and South Africa, persisted in their struggle until their
quest for freedom and justice was accomplished. We are no different, our cause
is no less worthy, our determination is no less profound and our patience is no
Our message to the Palestinians is this: our people are not
only those who live under siege in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip but also the
millions languishing in refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria and the
millions spread around the world unable to return home. We promise you that
nothing in the world will deter us from pursuing our goal of liberation and
return. We shall spare no effort to work with all factions and institutions in
order to put our Palestinian house in order. Having won the parliamentary
elections, our medium-term objective is to reform the PLO in order to revive its
role as a true representative of all the Palestinian people, without exception
Israel and the Jewish people
to the Israelis is this: we do not fight you because you belong to a certain
faith or culture. Jews have lived in the Muslim world for 13 centuries in peace
and harmony; they are in our religion “the people of the book” who
have a covenant from God and His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) to be
respected and protected. Our conflict with you is not religious but political.
We have no problem with Jews who have not attacked us - our problem is with
those who came to our land, imposed themselves on us by force, destroyed our
society and banished our people.
We shall never recognize the right of any
power to rob us of our land and deny us our national rights. We shall never
recognize the legitimacy of a Zionist state created on our soil in order to
atone for somebody else’s sins or solve somebody else’s problem. But
if you are willing to accept the principle of a long-term truce, we are prepared
to negotiate the terms. Hamas is extending a hand of peace to those who are
truly interested in a peace based on justice.
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