Translated by Saed Bannoura-IMEMC

Head of Hamas political bureau, Khaled Mashal said that Hamas considered Sharm Al-Sheikh summit as a positive step which enables the Palestinians examine the real Israeli stand.

The following interview was conducted by “Kul Al-Arab” newspaper, published in Israel .

– What is your opinion about the quartet summit in Sharm Al-Sheikh, next Tuesday?

We consider this meeting as a positive step, but we, of course insist on our position which we repeatedly stated concerning the release of the Palestinian detainees, and stop all sort of operations against the Palestinians, Mr. Abu Mazin is interested in talks with the Palestinian movements, and the brothers in Egypt, as a resistance movement, we want the occupation to be committed to our legitimate demands.

– So, you observe this meting as a positive step?

The basic issue is not this meeting or other meeting, the occupation has to end its violations, the suffering of the Palestinians should end, and we should achieve our national legitimate rights.

– As a leader of the Islamic movement, how close to a truce is the movement?

Close, or far depends on two basic facts; the Israeli commitment to the Palestinian demands, and the American capacity to pressure Israel . Hudna (truce) is only one step forwards, the fundamental issue is ending the occupation and stop the military aggression, the Palestinians should have sovereignty and freedom in their land.

– Some Hamas leader said that you are ready to accept a Palestinian State within the 1967 borders, what is your opinion?

Ending the occupation over the occupied territories since 1967, sovereignty, Jerusalem, evacuation of settlements will be considered a positive achievement to the Palestinians, and this represents the official Palestinian and Arab position, we have no objection to it, but this definitely does not end the Palestinian cause, but nobody can neglect the rest of the Palestinian rights, but it is an acceptable issue in the current stage.

– Frankly, after four year of armed struggle in the Intifada, the Palestinians were exhausted, the current stage of relative calmness could be a breathtaking for the Palestinians and voices are rising now to demilitarize the Intifada, how do you respond to this?

Its true, the Palestinians are exhausted, lost of sufferings, sacrifices, injuries and pain, but this is the price of freedom, the enemy in spite of its advanced military capacities is also suffering, after failing to achieve its colonial goals by military means, power is not the only facture which determines the future of the conflict, the Palestinian are determined to achieve their freedom. The Palestinian will resist and struggle; this is their choice which was clearly seen in the municipal elections in the Gaza Strip last week. Rafah, Beit Hanoun and all of the areas which were damaged by the Israeli military attacks and operations voted for Hamas, voted for the resistance.

– Disengagement, Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip and the colonial settlements, do you think that this is a victory for the resistance?

Definitely, the enemy started considering the evacuation as a result of the resistance; of course Israel is trying to deny this achievement, unilateral withdrawal and disengagement, proves that the enemy had to leave and evacuate from Gaza , this is our achievement as Palestinians, and we will continue our resistance on different tracks until achieving our rights.

– But you didn’t answer my question about demilitarizing the Intifada?

This concept needs need to be re-examined because its not true, we are talking about a popular Intifada, a legitimate resistance and self defense, there is no literal “militarization”, the Israeli military is using all sorts of advances weapons, the abilities of our people are humble, it can’t be considered as militarization, it is self defense, it is defending out people and land.

– How do you evaluate the effects of the Intifada on the Israeli society?

I think that resistance, and four year of Intifada, managed to strike the Israeli society on different levels; social, political, morale and economical levels, the Israeli society is now shaken, extremism in the Israeli society is a proof of weakness, which proves that renitence and steadfastness is the real way for liberation.

– Back to the Hudna, can we tell the Israeli that we are entering a new stage of Hudna?

We met with Abu Mazin, and expressed readiness for pacification as long as Israel agrees to the Palestinian terms.

– What are these terms, halt the assassinations, for example?

There are specific terms, the release of the detainees, halt of assassinations and arrests, halt the demolishing of the Palestinian homes and stop the invasions. If they do that, then we in Hamas and other movements will be ready to deal positively with the Hudna.

– What is your position concerning the “Road Map” plan?

We think that it is a map which does not lead to anywhere, it places the Palestinians in a dark tunnel, and demands them to be committed to security commitments which could lead to civil war, and weaken the Palestinian internal front, how can we accept this plan, it is direct implementation of Sharon’s position, we are facing a plan which is made by Sharon and supported by the States. It is was Sharon wants, its unfair to the Palestinians, the only positive thing in it is the article about a Palestinian state, Sharon wants to impose his own view of the Palestinian state with temporal borders.

– How did you evaluate the conducts of Abbas after he was elected as a P.A chairman?

Abu Mazen conducted good procedures by negotiating with the Palestinian movements, we hope he will continue this path and deal with the current internal situation, and we hope he will continue these conducts.

We in Hamas will deal positively with Abu Mazen, ands he should do the same, this is our only choice to achieve our rights, unity is needed, especially when the states and Israel start to pressure Abu Mazen.

– Can you assure the Israelis that there will be no internal Palestinian conflict?

The Palestinian blood is a red line, there will be no internal fighting among the Palestinians, the internal conflict is just an Israeli dream, the Palestinian interests are our main priority, and our only battle is with the occupation, this battle will end when the occupation leaves.

– What do you think about the Israeli threats to assassinate you, especially the latest statement of the head of the Israeli Foreign and Security Committee, Yuval Steinitz?

First, this proves the hostile conducts, murder and terrorism Israel uses, second, whenever Israel fails to “assassinate the Palestinian cause”, its starts threatening people and figures in the country and abroad.

Whenever Israel assassinates a leader, it starts looking for others to assassinate, they attempted to assassinate me, but God saved me and made me stronger and more determined, we have a just cause, death does not scare us.

– But, did you take the need procedures to protect yourself?

We always take the threats into consideration, we conducted the needed security measures, but it’s all in the hands of God the almighty, and we took the needed procedures as preventive measures.

– Do you in Hamas intend to participate in the legislative elections? Some sides are taking about fear among Fatah of you power, especially after you won the municipal elections in the Gaza strip.

We are still discussing this issue; when he reach a decision about the elections, we will announce it, of course we consider our victory in the municipal elections as a good step, but it is a victory to democracy, a victory of the Palestinians, and all factions, nobody should panic or be angry, our brothers in Fatah our partners in the process, we aren’t here to replace anybody, the Palestinian cause is bigger than Hamas and Fatah. We are fighting against the occupation, by the Intifada, political and diplomatic means.

– Head of the military intelligence at the Israeli army said that Sheikh Hasan Nasrallah and you decided to act against the truce, how do you comment to this?

This is a lie, a flat-out lie, we in Hamas have a clear position in Palestine and abroad, they want to accuse us with different accusations, the Israeli incitement is not only against us, it’s against Syria and Lebanon .

This is an Israeli game, what Hamas agreed upon with Abu Mazin concerning a truce, is the position of Hamas in Palestine and abroad.