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Hamas: Peaceful resistance not applicable to Gaza
Published Tuesday 03/01/2012 (updated) 04/01/2012 17:39
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Palestinian and left-wing Israeli demonstrators face tear gas fired by Israeli
forces during clashes at a protest against a nearby settlement, in Nabi Saleh
village, near Ramallah, on Dec. 16, 2011. (Reuters/Darren Whiteside)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar has cast doubt his party will take up peaceful resistance against Israel as advocated by former rivals Fatah.

Under a reconciliation deal between the factions signed in May, officials called for a unified "national strategy," and Fatah officials say that Hamas chief-in-exile Khalid Mashaal agreed to adopt non-violent popular action in favor of armed struggle.

But in comments to Ma'an late Monday, senior Hamas official in Gaza Zahhar stressed the situation in the Gaza Strip is different to the occupied West Bank.

"Against whom could we demonstrate in the Gaza Strip? When Gaza was occupied, that model was applicable," Zahhar said.

Israeli forces withdrew from the coastal strip in 2005, and imposed a crippling land and sea blockade after Hamas took power in 2007.

Zahhar said that no program of peaceful resistance had been agreed with Fatah. "We only discussed that as a slogan," he said, without elaborating.

The mass popular protests of the Arab Spring are not applicable to Palestinians' opposition to Israeli occupation, he added.

"We can't use the same means seen in Egypt, Syria, and Tunisia because they are inappropriate in the West Bank. Egypt got rid of the British occupation with arms, and since we are resisting occupation, we should use all means including armed resistance."

But Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad told Ma'an that Fatah chief President Mahmoud Abbas and Mashaal agreed at their Nov. 24 meeting to adopt peaceful resistance and to increase its scale both in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank.

Suggesting that agreement was still pending, Zahhar said: "The most important thing is to have a united political agenda. We should agree on whether we want all kinds of resistance, or just limit it to rallies and waving flags?"

The May deal aimed to end four years of division between the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas-led Gaza administration, which split after fighting between the factions exploded in 2007.

Hamas will be ready to step down in the Gaza Strip if another party wins elections, Zahhar said, "however, elections must be honorable."

Differences between the parties' strategy was again highlighted on Monday, when Hamas slammed Fatah officials' participation in talks with Israeli and Quartet envoys in Jordan this week, saying such meetings were "reproducing a failed policy."
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1 ) Mahmoud / Gaza
03/01/2012 14:49
Demonstrate against the occupier; Israel is still effectively controlling Gaza's border, sea and skies. Plus almost daily incursions. Demonstrate at Erez and Karni crossings for links with the other part of OPT. This is more sound than the demos on Rafah crossing, which goes, against all odds, in line with Israel's strategy to split Gaza from the West Bank and throwing Gaza on Egypt; not keep it as part of Palestine.

2 ) Mel / USA
03/01/2012 16:28
'Honorable'? There's no such word wherever Israel is involved.The last election was free,fair,clean,independently observed & democratic.But, Israel&D.C. still wouldn't accept it,because it didn't match their goal/strategy! I remember the code of all POW's of military occupation,imprisonment. Never stop resisting or attempting to escape.Israel only wants their proxy-of-the-moment,the PA,to lead all Palestinians,on a leash,of Israeli colonial compliance& sacrifice all that is Palestine by law!

3 ) Robby / USA
03/01/2012 17:44
"Against whom could we demonstrate in the Gaza Strip? When Gaza was occupied, that model was applicable," - is Zahar saying if Israel occupies Gaza then peaceful demonstrations make sense, but if they don't then the alternative (violence) makes sense? i.e. more lives would be saved on both parts if Israel moved people back into Gaza?

4 ) JohnWV / United States
03/01/2012 18:04
Iran has the potential to wonderfully balance Israel's cruel and outrageously exercised Mideast hegemony. Primarily at behest of Israel, United States has persuaded UN to impose increasingly severe punitive sanctions against Iran. Why should Iran be expected to not retaliate in kind. Closing Hormuz would justly impose the same economic hardship on Iran's tormenters as they have imposed on Iran. Iran has a recent history of peace, whereas Israel has repeatedly initiated preemptive wars, and con

5 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
03/01/2012 18:48
@ 1) Mahmoud / Gaza, No, Mahmoud, we're NOT trying to split Gaza from the W. Bank and dump it on Egypt. First, Egypt has a hell of enough problems of its own and DOESN'T want Gaza. Second, Gazans DON'T WANT to be a part of Egypt. Third (and this is probably the most important reason), you and your fellow Gazans are Palestinian, NOT Egyptian !!! ... As far as Hamas and Fatah go, this just sounds like more of the same old crap indicating long-standing differences on policy dealing with us.

6 ) Filipe / Portugal
03/01/2012 20:38
Ah..... so the most estute and intelligent intellectual Mr. Zahhar has finally spoken out and acknowledged the Gaza is not "occupied territory".
How wonderful !!!!! But help me understand...."Against whom could we demonstrate in the Gaza Strip? When Gaza was occupied, that model was applicable," Zahhar said.
So now that Gaza is no loger "occupied"-- You feel it necesssary to advocate and persue violent, aggresssion against your civilian neighbors.
Hmmm.. so much for relinquishing territory.

7 ) @ Mel #2 / USA
04/01/2012 00:03
You are totally right, that Israel should have accepted Hamas, after it won the election, as the Palestinian's new leadership, a leadership clearly intending to destroy Israel, and blockaded Areas A & B, just like Gaza, until Hamas changed it's policies (if ever) !!!!

8 ) Malone / Hfx
04/01/2012 01:43
#6..You beat me to it..no longer occupied,but violence is necessary..so much propaganda,they just can't keep track of it all,lol.

9 ) southparkbear / usa
04/01/2012 01:50
thank you. I was concerned we may get a dull year without hamass victories

10 ) Shirlee / Australia
04/01/2012 01:50
""Gazans are Palestinian"".....................no they are not.......The people of GAZA ARE ARABS. There is no such country, nor has there ever been, by the name of Palestine

11 ) BEN JABO / ISR AEL
04/01/2012 05:25
4 ) JohnWV / United States I'll make it short & sweet..Iran won't close the Straits of Hormuz because she is hard up for money and cannot afford to lose the money that her own oil trafffic through the straits brings in, she would be cutting off her own nose to spite her face Iran has lots of oil, not enough refineries to process it, it imports gasoline via straits If Iran would be dumb enough to attack Israel, don't think that Israel will be sitting with its hands folded waiting

12 ) Bonnie Prince Charlie / Scotland
04/01/2012 18:37
If you check your history you'll see that both Israel and the USA DID accept Hamas as the legitimate government of Gaza and invited it to forego its sworn ambition to wipe Israel off the face of the map and kill all Jews (see Hamas Charter for details) and instead participate in peace talks. Hamas rejected this invitation and continued to wage war on Israel.

13 ) Peace & / Unity
04/01/2012 18:46
Zahhar said "We only discussed peaceful resistance as a slogan", so:
[1] when he discussed Hamas/PA UNITY, it WAS ONLY A SLOGAN too, and
[2] when Arafat discussed PLO/Israel PEACE, it WAS ONLY A SLOGAN too !!!

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