Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza share their views regarding what they expect from Hamas after its decisive legislative elections victory.
With Hamas’ election victory, the future of the Palestinian people and the fact that they are facing the prospect of cuts in global aid have become the subject of heated debate. With Hamas consistently perceived by the United States as a terrorist organization, many questions pose themselves regarding the future of the peace negotiations, the nature of future pressure on the Palestinian government, and the resulting economic and social conditions in the Palestinian territories. Ola Atallah, from the Gaza Strip, and Atef Daghlas, from the West Bank, provide us with some of the people’s comments.
The Gaza Strip
Nour al-Saqqa, university student: “I hope Hamas will be able to provide me with security and protection. I hope, under the Hamas-led government, we will be able to live in happiness and with dignity.”
Amina Ashour, young woman: “Hamas has to stand for the right of Palestinians to resist occupation, and to govern according to Shariah. On the personal level, I hope women will be armed with Islamic upbringing and full understanding of their rights under Shariah.”
Hajj Nahedh Sarsour: “Hamas should rebuild the Palestinian economy and solve the problems of poverty and unemployment.”
Lina Salim, eighth grade student: “Hamas should introduce better educational curricula and methods in order for us to be able to catch up with modernity.”
Ahmed Ghazal, university student: “Hamas should encourage students to participate in extracurricular activities. They also should create an appropriate atmosphere for student unions to work, and support them in a way that enables them to be strongholds of national awareness.”
Umm Ibrahim Qassim: “They should achieve social solidarity and help with maintaining Palestinian perseverance. The most important thing is arming citizens, especially the youth against moral corruption and intellectual invasion.”
Muhammad Hejazi, Palestinian youth: “Hamas should fight corruption, and to put an end to lawlessness and disorder. We dream of living in peace. Security is more important for us than food and water.”
Sara al-Khedry, university student: “I want Hamas to protect the Palestinian rights in Jerusalem and to resist all the attempts for Judaizing it.”
Hajja Huda Ismail, 70: “Simply, I want Hamas to apply their slogan of ‘change and reform’."
Hisham al-Shurafa, engineer: “in sha’ Allah (Allah willing) the coming days will be better. Things will be better under the Hamas-led government because Hamas has qualified leaders. Let’s wait and see.”
Rana Hemdan, young woman: “I do not think that the Hamas-led government will be better than its predecessor. They are all the same: They look for prestigious positions. Once they are in power, they will completely forget about us.”
Bilal Abu Kashef, merchant: “The Palestinian society will face many challenges as a result of Hamas’ victory. I am afraid that financial aid will stop, which will worsen our situation.”
Sally al-Shawwa: “Hamas might force women to wear the veil and I refuse this. I am a Muslim girl, but I will wear the veil at the time that I find appropriate. I think Hamas will force us to do it.”
The West Bank
Nawwaf al-Amer, writer and researcher: “Hamas’s victory constitutes a turning point in the processes of reform and democratization in Palestine, the Arab World and the Middle East. The people who voted for Hamas are quite satisfied with the results despite all the attempts for spreading fear of the future. In my opinion, all the fears that have to do with money will fade away as Hamas proves its success, and as the government employees get paid their salaries.
What I want from Hamas is just like what any other citizen wants: fighting oppression and corruption, giving people back their rights, appointing qualified people and achieving social security. Also, it is very important to prevent a civil war from erupting, which will allow Hamas to score points for itself and for the Islamic movement in general.”
Waddah Abdel-Kareem, journalist: “I think that Palestinians are keen for change and reform, which can be attributed to their belief in the importance of fighting corruption and providing people with jobs to allow them to lead good lives. I voted for Hamas because they are the ones capable of dealing with the coming challenges due to their honorable history and their role as the spearhead of the resistance movement.
What I want from Hamas is carrying on with liberating Palestine, the whole of it, participating in freeing the prisoners from the occupation jails, giving back liberty to our besieged people in the Gaza and the West Bank and alleviating injustice.”
Ramy Abu Dhaher, university student: “Hamas won the elections because it is a sincere movement that has a very special place in the hearts of a big number of Palestinians. Most Palestinians urge Hamas to stand firm in order to gain the confidence of the Palestinian voter.
If they give up their beliefs, they will lose the trust of their people. The people’s demands are the basic ones: Jerusalem, the return of the refugees, etc. They want their rights to be protected.”
Alaa Muhammad, nurse: “The marvelous results of the elections were not determined by a leader, an official or the so-called thugs; rather, they were determined by the will of a free nation that dreams of an end for corruption. Therefore, I call on Hamas to be up to the trust of the people who voted for it, to work hard on freeing prisoners and to liberate the land and the people.”
Riyadh Udah: “We call on Hamas to forget about vengeance because there are more important issues, such as imposing order, creating job opportunities and gaining external aid. I advise Hamas not to recognize Israel because if it did, it would be giving up its basic principles. I also ask Hamas not to negotiate at the time being, not to recognize Israel and not to give up to external pressures.”
Ahmed Fatah Allah, engineer: “The Palestinian situation after Hamas’s victory is critical. They have to fulfill the promises they made during their electoral campaign, especially in the field of internal reform (the economic situation, fighting corruption). The people have chosen Hamas for this particular reason. There are external pressures for sure, but dealing with them should not affect the basic Palestinian demands (Jerusalem and the refugees).”
Saed Dowaykat, middle-aged man: “Hamas should work on fulfilling their promises and to benefit from the experience of their predecessors. They also should benefit from qualified people regardless of their political affiliation and stand up to Israeli, American and European blackmail.
They should take their people’s side. Hamas must not recognize Israel because by recognizing it, they lose their raison d’être. Recognizing Israel is not only a political stance; rather, it involves the basic ideological foundations of Hamas.”
Wafa al-Khayyat, doctor: “Hamas must not give up any of its principles because if they did, they would lose the trust of the Palestinian voter. They should form a coalition government, and they should not stop cooperating with Fatah. Also, they should give the voters confidence by maintaining security on the national level and by proving to people their capabilities.”
Yahya Mahameed, farmer: “Hamas should follow the footsteps of the martyr Ahmed Yassin and Dr. Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi. They should recognize Israel only if Israel changes its view regarding Hamas being a terrorist organization. They should not give up to external pressures.”
Huda Yusuf, dressmaker: “I call on Hamas to resign because they have placed themselves in an embarrassing situation. They cannot find a middle way between resistance and peace. I urge Hamas to recognize Isreal, a state recognized internationally. There should be negotiation, compromise and flexibility while dealing with external pressure.”
Atallah Tayseer: “Hamas should recognize the Oslo Accords and find solutions for the unemployment problem. Also, it should recognize Israel in order for the financial aid not to be stopped. Being responsive to external pressures in a way that benefits the Palestinian people is also important.”
(reprinted from IslamOnline.net)