[Marxism] Hamas' no. 2 on its "strategic shift"

Marvin Gandall marvgandall at videotron.ca
Thu Jan 26 21:47:02 MST 2006

Hamas candidate speaks of future talks with Israel
By Arnon Regular
January 16 2006


"We'll negotiate [with Israel] better than the others, who negotiated for 10
years and achieved nothing," Sheikh Mohammed Abu Tir, second on the Hamas
national list for the Palestinian parliamentary election, told Haaretz

Abu Tir does not dismiss future negotiations with Israel. He makes a great
effort to explain to Israel and the world, which are attempting to come to
terms with his organization's expected good showing in the elections later
this month, that Hamas is playing by new rules.

According to Abu Tir, the movement's decision to enter the elections - as
well as the decision to remove from its election platform sections in its
constitution calling for Israel's destruction - are not only tactical
measures. Rather, they represent a strategic shift.

"In the past, it was said that we don't understand politics, only force, but
we are a broad, well-grounded movement that is active in all areas of life.
Now we are proving that we also understand politics better than the others,"
Abu Tir said.

Abu Tir, 55, from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Umm Tuba, does not have
a high media profile in either the West Bank or Israel. However, he is
considered one of Hamas' most prominent individuals. He was released from an
Israeli prison about six months ago, after spending most of the last 30
years in administrative detention or serving sentences for membership in a
terror organization, weapons possession and directing the activities of the
Hamas military wing, Iz al-Din al-Qassam. Following his release, Abu Tir was
recruited by the Hamas leadership to head its national list after the
group's Gaza leader, Ismail Haniyeh.

"The use of the word muqawama [resistance in Arabic, used by Hamas and many
other organizations to signify the armed struggle] in the platform does not
necessarily refer to weapons and the use of force," Abu Tir said.

When asked whether Hamas would negotiate with Israel after the elections, he
said, "We will not give Israel the justification and the legitimacy to
occupy our lands." But he immediately added that "we are not saying 'never.'
The question of negotiations will be presented to the new parliament and, as
with every issue, when we reach the parliament it will be discussed and
decided in a rational manner."

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