Press release on Hamas’ 31st Anniversary

HAMAS

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On this day 31 years ago the Hamas movement began a journey to struggle for freedom against the Israeli occupation. Throughout this journey, the movement has made enormous sacrifices in order to fulfill the aspirations of the Palestinian people: FREEDOM, INDEPENDENCE, and RETURN.

Throughout its life, the Hamas movement has faced huge challenges and concerted attempts to suppress, beleaguer and break the movement. Despite this the movement has succeeded in building up its structure, enhancing its capabilities and putting forward a clear political vision. Hamas has steered its compass towards Palestine, neutralizing all internal conflicts and minor issues. Indeed, the movement has made resisting the Israeli occupation its sole objective, utilizing all the capabilities of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories or in the diaspora to serve the national project of the Palestinians.

Hamas has stood steadfast against all Zionist schemes aiming to liquidate the Palestinian issue. It has fought off US projects such as the ‘Deal of the Century’ that pose serious and strategic threats to the Palestinian cause and regional interests. The US project was planned to legitimize the Israeli occupation at the expense of the national rights and interests of the Palestinian people. The first phase of the ‘Deal of the Century’ was seen on the ground when the US recognised Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Palestine, as the Israeli occupation’s capital and then moved its embassy into the Holy City. The US then endeavoured to dismantle UNRWA and hence to abolish the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland, and receive compensation for their forcible displacement.

Hamas retains the right to resist the Israeli occupation with all means possible, as per international law. In addition, the Palestinians’ right over their eternal capital, Jerusalem, and the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homelands are national, consensual constants. Therefore, the forgoing rights will never be subject to either negotiation or bargaining.

Since its inception, the Hamas movement has adopted a clear and comprehensive vision highlighted in its Document of General Principles issued in 2017. Hamas’ vision is based on liberating Palestine, declaring the sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, and freeing the Palestinian detainees held in Israeli jails. After this, the movement seeks to build up a civilized society that adopts and promotes freedom, justice, democracy, civil peace, women rights, protection of vulnerable groups, equality, unity, openness, and peace.

Hamas has enhanced its ties at the Arab, regional, and Islamic levels to support the Palestinian issue. Moreover, the movement has distanced itself from the ‘polar policy’ while preserving its national constants derived from its profound belief in the just cause of the Palestinian people and their right to self-determination.

Regarding the Palestinian split, Hamas has done its best to end the Palestinian division and achieve national unity. It has made serious concessions for this sake, reflecting the movement’s profound belief that reconciliation is the pillar of any national achievements or gains. The Hamas movement was surprised by the negative and uncooperative stance of the Fatah leadership which contributed to the failure of all meetings and talks held to achieve reconciliation. Most importantly, the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority has imposed sever punitive measures on the Gaza Strip that have resulted in a drastic deterioration of the humanitarian conditions in the beleaguered enclave. Indeed, Hamas extends its heartfelt thanks to Egypt, Arab countries, and brotherly states for the enormous efforts they have exerted to end the Palestinian rift.

Hamas reiterates that, out of necessity, the Palestinian split must end immediately. The Palestinian homeland can then be restructured on the basis of national partnership and a consensual, national vision preserving all the national constants endorsed by all the Palestinian groups. Moreover, the Hamas movement stresses that the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) must be reformed.

We call on the Fatah leadership to extend their hands to the Egyptian endeavours to achieve national unity. Hamas urges upon Fatah a precise and honest implementation of all the provisions included in the previously-signed reconciliation agreements.

Israeli suppressive measures in Jerusalem and the West Bank are ongoing. The occupation has never stopped its judaization, distortion, settlement projects, storming of A-Aqsa Mosque, murders, arrests, and demolition of the Palestinian homes there. However, the Palestinian people have stood steadfast in the face of the Israeli violations and atrocities.

In Gaza, the Great Return March has proved a unique example of popular Palestinian resistance against the Israeli occupation. The peaceful protests have contributed to enhancing and promoting the principles of collective resistance that all Palestinian people are proud of. Hamas is keen to enhance such openness and joint actions. The Joint Operation Room of the Palestinian Resistance Factions is an example of how Palestinian reconciliation, courage, and heroism can succeed: from this room, the Palestinian factions together fought off the occupation, compelling it to halt its recent aggression against the Gaza Strip. Following the Great Return March and the heroic performance of the resistance while defending their people against those Israeli assaults, the Palestinian people have re-placed their cause at the top of the region and the world’s agenda.

The Palestinian steadfastness and protests against Israeli aggressions have led to negotiations to re-enforce the 2014 ceasefire. Hamas has been keen on ensuring the negotiation is inclusive by consulting all the Palestinian groups and factions in order to achieve national gains together, alleviate the dire humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip, and remove the PA-imposed arbitrary sanctions on the Gaza Strip without paying any political price.

The claims made by some parties that the proposed ceasefire agreement is part of the ‘Deal of the Century’ are fake. They are merely misleading fabrications invented to keep the Gaza Strip under the suffocating blockade imposed by the Israeli occupation since 2006.

Indeed, Hamas thanks Qatar along with all the Arab, Islamic, and other world countries that have exerted considerable efforts to improve the plight of the Gaza Strip, and remove the crippling siege and the PA-imposed punitive measures. Furthermore, Hamas thanks all UN mediators who have sought to stop the Israeli offensives on the Gaza Strip.

Normalisation with the Israeli occupation means justification of its atrocious crimes, usurpation of Palestinian lands, the judaization of Jerusalem, continual settlement projects, and the displacement and dispossession of millions of Palestinian refugees residing in the occupied Palestinian territories and in the diaspora.

Therefore, Hamas reiterates a full rejection of all forms of normalisation with the Israeli occupation, under whatever pretexts that may be adopted. Normalisation is an awful crime, and a stab in the back of the Palestinian people.

On this day, we should commemorate the Palestinian national icons who made great sacrifices throughout a century of the Palestinian struggle for freedom. Particularly, Hamas honours Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Yaser Arafat, and Fathi Shuqaqi, along with all the Palestinian freedom fighters who were martyred while defending their homeland and its just cause.

On Hamas’ 31st anniversary, the movement would like to stress the following:

1. Hamas hails the Palestinian people in the West Bank, in the Gaza Strip, in the 1948 occupied territories and in the diaspora for standing steadfast in the face of the Israeli occupation and defending Jerusalem and Palestine.

2. The liberation of Palestine, establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, and return of Palestinian refugees to their homeland will always be part of the resistance movement’s constants.

3. The factional consensus on a national program is a common ground that could be shared by all the Palestinian factions, as it enhances the chances of success of any national actions to overcome the serious challenges.

4. We reiterate the Palestinian people’s right to resist the occupation, which is guaranteed under international conventions and law.

5. Hamas reaffirms the necessity to heal the internal division immediately by fully and properly implementing the reconciliation agreements, and establishing the principles of national partnership on the basis of the 2011 Cairo Agreement.

6. We throw our support behind the Great March of Return until the Palestinian demands, agreed upon by all Palestinian factions, are met.

7. We reiterate the rejection of the ‘Deal of the Century’ and the necessity to fight off the US-drafted plan with all means possible, and at any cost.

8. Hamas vehemently rejects normalising ties with the Israeli occupation and calls on the Arab and Islamic governments and peoples, as well as on the organisations, institutions, and groups supporting the Palestinian people’s struggle for freedom, to sever ties with the Israeli occupation.

9. The Palestinian people’s right to their eternal capital, Jerusalem, is a national constant not only for the Palestinians but also for the Arab and Islamic nations. The Palestinian people will never waive such a right or drop their claim to any inch of the holy city. Moreover, the Israeli measures to judaize Jerusalem and distort its genuine identity are doomed to failure.

10. The Palestinian refugees’ right to return to their homeland, from which they were forced out, is a natural, individual and collective right, stipulated by the basic principles of human rights and international law. No one, whether it is a Palestinian, Arab, or international party, can abolish such an inalienable right.

11. Hamas thanks all states supporting Palestinian rights and standing with the Palestinian people’s right to resist the occupation.

12. We regret the stance of all states that voted in favour of the US draft resolution, which violates international law and poses a serious threat to the Palestinian people and their rights.

13. Hamas will honour its promise to free all the Palestinians detained in Israeli jails.

Hamas Movement

Friday, December 14, 2018