Hamas’ reputedly hardline leader in Gaza, Mahmoud al-Zahar, has written an OpEd piece that was published today in the Washington Post. Here are some excerpts — Mahmoud Zahar, in his own words:
“President Jimmy Carter’s sensible plan to visit the Hamas leadership this week brings honesty and pragmatism to the Middle East while underscoring the fact that American policy has reached its dead end.
“Palestinians are fighting a total war waged on us by a nation that mobilizes against our people with every means at its disposal — from its high-tech military to its economic stranglehold, from its falsified history to its judiciary that ‘legalizes’ the infrastructure of apartheid. Resistance remains our only option. Sixty-five years ago, the courageous Jews of the Warsaw ghetto rose in defense of their people. We Gazans, living in the world’s largest open-air prison, can do no less.
“The U.S.-Israeli alliance has sought to negate the results of the January 2006 elections, when the Palestinian people handed our party a mandate to rule. Hundreds of independent monitors, Carter among them, declared this the fairest election ever held in the Arab Middle East.
“Now, finally, we have the welcome tonic of Carter saying what any independent, uncorrupted thinker should conclude: that no ‘peace plan’, ‘road map’ or ‘legacy’ can succeed unless we are sitting at the negotiating table and without any preconditions.
“Israel’s escalation of violence since the staged Annapolis ‘peace conference’ in November has been consistent with its policy of illegal, often deadly collective punishment — in violation of international conventions.
“Only three months ago I buried my son Hussam, who studied finance at college and wanted to be an accountant; he was killed by an Israeli airstrike. In 2003, I buried Khaled — my first-born — after an Israeli F-16 targeting me wounded my daughter and my wife and flattened the apartment building where we lived, injuring and killing many of our neighbors. Last year, my son-in-law was killed.
“Our movement fights on because we cannot allow the foundational crime at the core of the Jewish state — the violent expulsion from our lands and villages that made us refugees — to slip out of world consciousness, forgotten or negotiated away. Judaism — which gave so much to human culture in the contributions of its ancient lawgivers and modern proponents of tikkun olam — has corrupted itself in the detour into Zionism, nationalism and apartheid.
“A ‘peace process’ with Palestinians cannot take even its first tiny step until Israel first withdraws to the borders of 1967; dismantles all settlements; removes all soldiers from Gaza and the West Bank; repudiates its illegal annexation of Jerusalem; releases all prisoners; and ends its blockade of our international borders, our coastline and our airspace permanently. This would provide the starting point for just negotiations and would lay the groundwork for the return of millions of refugees. Given what we have lost, it is the only basis by which we can start to be whole again”.
The whole OpEd article can be read here .