Hamas: Any Peace Deal with Israel Would Be 'Truce'
April 23, 2012
Hamas would consider any Palestinian peace deal with Israel as a truce, the Islamist movement's second-in-command Mussa Abu Marzuk said in a rare interview with American Jewish daily Forward.
"We will not recognise Israel as a state," he reiterated during an interview conducted over two days in Cairo, where he has lived since leaving Damascus along with most of the Hamas leadership in exile.
Abu Marzuk stressed that while under the reconciliation agreement with Fatah leader and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, Hamas did not object to the rival Palestinian faction negotiating with Israel, his movement's position remained that any deal must be put to a referendum of all Palestinians, including refugees.
"When we reach the agreement, our point of view is, it’s a hudna" or truce, Abu Marzuk, the deputy director of Hamas' political bureau, told the Forward.
After Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin signed the Oslo Accords in 1993, his successor, Benjamin Netanyahu, who opposed it, made many changes, he noted.
"Let’s establish a relationship between the two states in the historic Palestinian land as a hudna between both sides," added the leader of Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip that remains under Israeli blockade.
"It’s better than war and better than the continuous resistance against the occupation. And better than Israel occupying the West Bank and Gaza, making all these difficulties and problems on both sides," he argued.
Abu Marzuk did not exclude that his position on recognising Israel could be "completely different" in "10 years."
Hamas is currently renewing its Advisory Council (Majlis al-Shura), which will select the movement's political bureau.
Part of the Hamas leadership, particularly in Gaza, accuses the political bureau chief Khaled Meshaal of having agreed to too many concessions toward reconciliation, declaring that he would "give a chance" to negotiations with Israel.
Reuters - The United States would spend an additional $680 million through 2015 to strengthen Israel's short-range rocket shield under a plan crafted by House of Representatives' Republicans, two congressional staff members disclosed on Friday.
The figure could put election-year pressure on President Barack Obama's administration to spell out what it deems suitable support for the "Iron Dome," which has played an increasingly important role in Israeli security.
Israel has so far deployed three operating units of the system, which helped thwart Palestinian rocket salvos during a flare-up in fighting around the Gaza Strip last month. It has spoken of needing a total of 13 or 14 units to protect various fronts.
The system intercepted more than 80 percent of the targets it engaged in March when nearly 300 rockets and mortars were fired at southern Israel, saving "many lives," a U.S. Defense Department spokesman said on March 27.
The Obama administration plans to request an unspecified, "appropriate" level of funding from Congress to help expand the system based on Israeli requirements and production capacity, George Little, the Pentagon press secretary, said at the time.
There was no immediate official comment from the Obama administration on Republican plans to seek $680 million starting in the current fiscal year through fiscal 2015. It is not clear how the administration will view the proposal.
The matter may come up when panels of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee start crafting their version of the 2013 Defense Authorization Act next week or, failing that, when the full committee writes its bill in May.
So far, the United States has provided $205 million to support the Iron Dome effort, manufactured by Israel's state-owned Raphael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. The system uses small radar-guided missiles to blow up in midair Katyusha-style rockets with ranges of 5 km (3 miles) to 70 km (45 miles), as well as mortar bombs.
A Republican congressional aide said the proposed additional $680 million would provide the batteries and interceptors needed to defend Israel based on the current coverage and the arsenal available to Hamas and Hezbollah Islamist militants.
The American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the biggest pro-Israel lobbying group, did not immediately respond to questions about what it deems the scope of Israel's need.
This year, Obama's budget requests $3.1 billion in security assistance to Israel, part of a 10-year, $30 billion U.S. commitment to the Jewish state's security. None of that is scheduled to fund Iron Dome.
Top Republicans have criticized Obama for what they described as inadequate funding of U.S.-Israeli missile defense cooperation in his 2013 budget request released in February amid deficit-reduction requirements.
"We are deeply concerned that at a time of rising threats to our strongest ally in the Middle East, the administration is requesting record-low support for this vital defense cooperation program," House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard McKeon, wrote in a February 14 letter to Obama.
Political analysts said U.S. and allied defense needs were often treated as wedge issues in election years along with other potential vote-getters.
Congressional Republicans may hope their strong support for "Iron Dome" will help "crack the normal two-to-one advantage Democrats usually enjoy with Jewish voters," said Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
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"When Israelis in the occupied territories now claim that they have to defend themselves, they are defending themselves in the sense that any military occupier has to defend itself against the population they are crushing... You can't defend yourself when you're militarily occupying someone else's land. That's not defense. Call it what you like, it's not defense." - Noam Chomsky
Hamas is a small organization armed with small caliber rifles incapable of penetrating body armor. Hamas is unable to stop small bands of Israeli settlers from descending on West Bank Palestinian villages, driving out the Palestinians, and appropriating their land. Hamas replies to the Israeli terror with homemade and ineffectual rockets. The films of Israel’s murderous assault on Gaza show large numbers of Gazans fleeing from Israeli bombs or digging out the dead and maimed, and none of these people is armed. A person would think that by now every Palestinian would be armed, every man, woman, and child. Yet, all the films of the Israeli attack show an unarmed population. Hamas has to construct homemade rockets that are little more than a sign of defiance. If Hamas were armed by Iran, Israel’s assault on Gaza would have cost Israel its helicopter gunships, its tanks, and hundreds of lives of its soldiers. - Paul Craig Roberts, Endless Propaganda: The War on Terror is a Hoax, February 4, 2009