The Head of the Hamas Political Bureau has told Turkish journalists that the movement is basically moving ahead on the basis of six priorities. This is important, said Ismail Haniyeh, because the US “deal of the century” has implications beyond the borders of historic Palestine.
Speaking via video-link, Haniyeh pointed out that the first of these priorities is the upholding of the inalienable national rights and constants of the Palestinian people. “That is why we have stressed that we are against the ‘deal of the century’ and it will not be passed at all,” he explained. “We have thus taken several steps to hinder it.”
Haniyeh added that the second priority is the restoration of national unity. This necessitates the ending of division and the achievement of reconciliation based on the signed agreements and the principle of partnership between all components of Palestinian society.
The protection of Jerusalem and the Islamic and Christian holy sites is the third priority, according to the Hamas leader. “We do not recognise any solutions that undermine our rights in Jerusalem with all its components on and below the ground.” This was a reference to the fact that the Israeli occupation authorities are tunnelling beneath religious sites in the Holy City, undermining their foundations.
Making reference to the Great March of Return protests which have been taking place in the Gaza Strip since 30 March last year, Haniyeh said that the movement’s fourth priority is the protection of the Palestinian resistance in all of its forms — popular, armed, diplomatic and media — at home and abroad.
This involves the strengthening of Hamas’s relationships with the Arab and Islamic world, which is its fifth priority. “The Palestinian cause does not concern the Palestinians alone,” he noted. “It concerns Arabs, Muslims and the free people of the world. We are thus more concerned than ever about strengthening our relations with all parties.”
The sixth priority for Hamas is its official and public openness to the international community, and an appreciation of all international positions supporting the people of Palestine. The movement rejects suspicious deals, though, and will not deal with the current American “hooliganism” against the Palestinians and their issue.
The movement’s senior official pointed out that there is a lot of turmoil and conflict in the region, which has experienced exceptional events over the past ten years. He warned that in the middle of the Arab and Islamic failures as well as the Palestinian division, the US administration is seeking to push the normalisation of links between the Israeli occupation authorities and Arab governments.
Expanding on this aspect further, he stressed that the so-called “deal of the century” not only targets the Palestinian cause, but is also aimed at manipulating the influential forces in the region. The intention, he said, is to promote Washington’s vision of the region and its favoured resolution of the [Palestine-Israel] issue.
Washington, warned Haniyeh, is seeking to dismantle and restructure the region to ensure that US interests are protected at the expense of Middle Eastern states. The fact that Turkey is facing mischievous internal discord which diverts the government’s attention and prevents it from holding powerful negotiating cards, he added, is an indication that the “deal” also has a regional dimension. What’s more, there are US and Israeli attempts to hinder Egypt’s role in certain directions, in a way that Cairo will not be able to assume its historical responsibility towards the Palestinian cause.
“This whole scenario,” concluded Haniyeh, “goes way beyond the borders of historic Palestine.”