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Hamas leader urges int'l community to respect Palestinian people's choice
www.chinaview.cn 2006-04-02 05:36:32

    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 Hamas leadership.

    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 peace deals.

    "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 Israel)."

    "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 al-Zahar.

    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 talks.

    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 people.

    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. Enditem

Editor: Luan Shanglin
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