Hamas office to remain in Syria: Haniyah

Deposed Palestinian Prime Minister and prominent leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyah has ruled out the possibility of shifting Hamas’ political office from Syria, following the turmoil in the country.

Participating in Al Jazeera’s weekly show “Without borders” (Bila Hudood) on Wednesday, Haniyah denied reports that Hamas was planning to shift its political office from Syria to Jordan or Qatar.

Ismail Haniyeh

“Hamas is still existing in Syria. None asked us to leave the country,” said Haniyah, in reply to question from Ahmed Mansour, presenter of the programme.

The Hamas leader was here to have discussions with the Qatari leadership.

Asked about Hamas’s stand on the political situation in Syria, Haniyah said: “We are calling to stop the bloodshed in Syria because the Syrian people are precious to us. We hope Syria would gain security and stability and put an end to the bloodshed through democratic reforms.”

He said the latest developments in the Palestinian issue, especially the threat to Jerusalem posed by the Israeli occupation topped the issues discussed with the Qatari leadership. The Arab revolutions and their impact on the region in general and the Palestinian issue in particular was also discussed.

He felt that the Arab Spring had far-reaching impact on the Palestinian issue and had given a fillip to Palestinian unity and their struggle for freedom.
“The impact is clear and the results have started appearing. It will be more evident in the years to come,” he said.

He reiterated Hamas’ well-known position on peace negotiations with Israel. He said the organisation is ready for a long-term peace with Israel, if the latter is ready to accept the terms of the 1967 agreement, Jerusalem as the capital of the proposed Palestinian state and the return of the Palestinian refugees.

He, however, said even in such conditions Hamas will not recognise the Israeli state.

He added that Israel is not interested in real peace and had not responded to peace proposals from the Fatah leaders.

“There is no negotiation between Hamas and Israel in the present nor in the near future,” said Haniyah.

Asked about a recent report in a British newspaper saying Hamas has decided to stop armed resistance against Israel and start the political process, he said: “Hamas and other resistance groups fought the Gaza war and sacrificed 1,500 people. The war left 5,000 Palestinian injured, 5,000 houses destroyed, and 20,000 families displaced. Now we have given our people the time to re-energise themselves. We are reviewing our agenda upholding our right to defend Palestine and ourselves.”

“There is confrontation with occupational forces almost on a daily basis. Hamas is in the forefront of the resistance. Whenever the occupying forces penetrate the Gaza border, they face resistance led by the Qassam Brigade and Hamas. Hamas didn’t surrender the weapons. The resistance movement is alive to defend Gaza,” he said adding that Hamas was ready for elections in Gaza and would accept the results if free and fair elections are held.

Source: The Peninsula

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