[Mb-civic] What Hamas Is Seeking - Mousa Abu Marzook - Washington
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Tue Jan 31 03:58:04 PST 2006
What Hamas Is Seeking
By Mousa Abu Marzook
Tuesday, January 31, 2006; A17
DAMASCUS, Syria -- A new era in the struggle for Palestinian liberation
is upon us. Through historic fair and free elections, the Palestinian
people have spoken.
Accordingly, America's long-standing tradition of supporting the
oppressed's rights to self-determination should not waver. The United
States, the European Union and the rest of the world should welcome the
unfolding of the democratic process, and the commitment to aid should
not falter. Last week's victory of the Change and Reform Party in the
Palestinian legislative elections signals a new hope for an occupied people.
The results of these elections reflect a need for change from the
corruption and intransigence of the past government. Since its creation
10 years ago, the Palestinian Legislative Council has been unsuccessful
in addressing the needs of the people. As the occupation solidified its
grip under the auspices of "peace agreements," quality of life
deteriorated for Palestinians in the occupied territories. Poverty
levels soared, unemployment rates reached uncharted heights and the lack
of basic security approached unbearable depths. A grass-roots
alternative grew out of the urgency of this situation. Through its
legacy of social work and involvement in the needs of the Palestinian
people, the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) flourished as a positive
social force striving for the welfare of all Palestinians. Alleviating
the debilitative conditions of occupation, and not an Islamic state, is
at the heart of our mandate (with reform and change as its lifeblood).
Despite the pressures of occupation and corrupt self-rule, Palestinian
civil society has demonstrated its resilience in the face of repressive
conditions. Social institutions can now be given new life under a
reformed government that embraces the empowerment of the people,
facilitates freedoms and protects civil rights.
Our society has always celebrated pluralism in keeping with the unique
history and traditions of the Holy Land. In recognizing Judeo-Christian
traditions, Muslims nobly vie for and have the greatest incentive and
stake in preserving the Holy Land for all three Abrahamic faiths. In
addition, fair governance demands that the Palestinian nation be
represented in a pluralistic environment. A new breed of Islamic
leadership is ready to put into practice faith-based principles in a
setting of tolerance and unity.
In that vein, Hamas has pledged transparency in government. Honest
leadership will result from the accountability of its public servants.
Hamas has elected 15 female legislators poised to play a significant
role in public life. The movement has forged genuine and lasting
relationships with Christian candidates.
As we embark on a new phase in the struggle to liberate Palestine, we
recognize the recent elections as a vote against the failures of the
current process. A new "road map" is needed to lead us away from the
path of checkpoints and walls and onto the path of freedom and justice.
The past decade's "peace process" has led to a dramatic rise in the
expansion of illegal settlements and land confiscation. The realities of
occupation include humiliating checkpoints, home demolitions, open-ended
administrative detentions, extrajudicial killings and thousands of dead
The Islamic Resistance Movement was elected to protect the Palestinians
from the abuses of occupation, based on its history of sacrifice for the
cause of liberty. It would be a mistake to view the collective will of
the Palestinian people in electing Hamas in fair and free elections
under occupation as a threat. For meaningful dialogue to occur there
should be no prejudgments or preconditions. And we do desire dialogue.
The terms of the dialogue should be premised on justice, mutual respect
and integrity of the parties.
As the Israelis value their own security, Palestinians are entitled to
their fundamental rights to live in dignity and security. We ask them to
reflect on the peace that our peoples once enjoyed and the protection
that Muslims gave the Jewish community worldwide. We will exert
good-faith efforts to remove the bitterness that Israel's occupation has
succeeded in creating, alienating a generation of Palestinians. We call
on them not to condemn posterity to endless bloodshed and a conflict in
which dominance is illusory. There must come a day when we will live
together, side by side once again.
The failed policies of the U.S. administration are the result of the
inherent contradiction in its position as Israel's strongest ally and an
"honest broker" in the conflict. World nations have condemned the brutal
Israeli occupation. For the sake of peace, the United States must
abandon its position of isolation and join the rest of the world in
calling for an end to the occupation, assuring the Palestinians their
right to self-determination.
We appeal to the American people's sense of fairness to judge this
conflict in light of the great thoughts, principles and ideals you hold
dear in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the
democracy you have built. It is not unreasonable to expect America to
practice abroad what it preaches at home. We can but sincerely hope that
you use your honest judgment and the blessings of ascendancy God has
given you to demand an end to the occupation. Meaningful democracy
cannot flourish as long as an external force maintains the balance of
power. It is the right of all people to pursue their own destiny.
The writer is deputy political bureau chief of the Islamic Resistance
Movement (Hamas). He has a U.S. doctorate in engineering and was
indicted in the United States in 2004 as a co-conspirator on
racketeering and money-laundering charges in connection with activities
on behalf of Hamas dating to the early 1990s, before the organization
was placed on the list of terrorist groups. He was deported to Jordan in
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