by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
At a ceremony marking the 24th anniversary of the founding of Hamas, Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniyeh said that Hamas may work for the “interim objective of liberation of Gaza, the West Bank, or Jerusalem,” but that this “interim objective” and “reconciliation” with Fatah will not change Hamas’ long-term “strategic” goal of eliminating all of Israel: “The armed resistance and the armed struggle are the path and the strategic choice for liberating the Palestinian land, from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river, and for the expulsion of the invaders and usurpers [Israel]… We won’t relinquish one inch of the land of Palestine.”In his speech, Haniyeh also promised that Hamas will “lead Intifada after Intifada until we liberate Palestine – all of Palestine, Allah willing. Allah Akbar and praise Allah.”
Two days later, contradicting Haniyeh’s statements, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said that Hamas leader abroad Khaled Mashaal had agreed that:
– “There will be no military resistance.”
– “The permanent solution is on the ’67 borders.”
According to Abbas, Hamas agrees to a permanent solution on the ’67 borders. However, Haniyeh said that Hamas agrees to a temporary solution on the ’67 borders as a first stage only.
For many years, the PLO promoted a “stages plan” that would first create a Palestinian state on the 1949 – 1967 armistice lines, and then work from that position to destroy Israel.
Senior Fatah official Abbas Zaki recently stated that this remains the goal for Fatah as well, but that “you can’t say it to the world. You can say it to yourself.”