GAZA, April 1 (Xinhua) -- New Palestinian Minister of
Foreign Affairs Mahmoud al-Zahar urged the international community on Saturday
to respect the Palestinian people's choice in electing the Islamic Resistance
Movement (Hamas) in the January legislative ballot.
Al-Zahar, a senior Hamas leader who
was sworn in as the new Palestinian top diplomat on Wednesday, also called upon
the international community in an exclusive interview with Xinhua to give the
Hamas cabinet a chance to show it was "clean and transparent."
He also said that the United States should abandon
its long-time partial policy that favors Israel and should not act in a hurry to
pressure the new Hamas government politically and economically.
Shortly following the inauguration of the Hamas
cabinet, Washington ordered its diplomats and contractors to cut off contacts
with Palestinian ministries and reiterated that no U.S. funds should go to the
Meanwhile, the U.S. along with other members of the
Quartet of Mideast mediators-- the European Union, the United Nations and
Russia-- threatened to cut off aid to the Palestinian government if Hamas did
not renounce violence, recognize Israel's right to exist and accept interim
"There are so many countries which are standing on
the side of the Hamas cabinet and supporting its stance," said al-Zahar. "We
will build close diplomatic relations with these countries."
Al-Zahar said that the new government would
reconsider previous deals with Israel, but quickly added that all the agreements
reached in the past had been later destroyed by the Jewish state. "Do you want
us to repeat the same experience?" he asked.
Al-Zahar also stressed that Hamas opposed holding
negotiations with Israel.
"Israel wants to negotiate only for the sake of
negotiations, but on the ground, it expands settlements and continues building
the separation fence on the Palestinian territories," he said, adding that
Israel had negotiated with the Palestinians and the Arab world in the past but
all the agreements resulted in were undermined by the Jewish state.
"Israel doesn't want peace and nor does it have any
peace project. Therefore, we should not cheat our people and tell them that
there will be negotiations," he concluded.
But al-Zahar reiterated that it was possible that
Hamas and its cabinet accepted a temporary two-state solution to the conflict
with Israel, but voiced doubts over whether Israel really wanted to see the
establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
"I want to ask, 'Does Israel believe in the idea of
two states?'" he said. "Israel is deceiving the international community and it
actually wants only a Jewish state and it just hopes to see the Palestinians
have an autonomous regime."
The senior official also defended Hamas' ultimate
goal of destroying Israel and founding an Islamic state.
"I dreams of hanging a huge map of the world on the
wall at my Gaza home which does not show Israel on it," he said. "I hope that
our dream to have our independent state on all historic Palestine (including
"This dream will become real one day. I'm certain of
this because there is no place for the state of Israel on this land," said
However, he didn't rule out the possibility of having
Jews, Muslims and Christians living under the sovereignty of an Islamic state,
adding that the Palestinians never hated the Jews and that only the Israeli
occupation was their enemy.
Al-Zahar also said that the Hamas cabinet might make
contacts with Israel in running the daily affairs of the Palestinians on some
occasions, but stressed that these contacts would never be promoted to political
In addition, al-Zahar sharply criticized Israel for
halting the transfer of monthly tax revenues to the Palestinian government,
urging Israel to allow continuous flow of humanitarian aid to the Palestinian
Al-Zahar also rejected the disarmament of Hamas'
armed wing Izzeldein al-Qassam, stressing that the Hamas government would
continue supporting armed resistance against Israeli occupation. "Why should we
disarm the militants while the Palestinian territories are still occupied? The
people should defend themselves," he said.
On the Palestinian internal political situation,
al-Zahar said that the Hamas cabinet would work together with President Mahmoud
Abbas, dismissing that there were differences between the two sides.
Defeating Abbas' long dominant Fatah movement in the
Jan. 25 parliamentary elections, Hamas has become the dominant faction in the
Palestinian Legislative Council and then single-handedly formed a new cabinet.