What Hamas Wants

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- What Hamas Wants

Post by Christ is My Life! on Thu Jun 28, 2007 5:36 pm

What Hamas Wants

By AHMED YOUSEF - NYT

June 20, 2007


Gaza City

THE events in Gaza over the last few days have been
described in the West as a coup. In essence, they have been
the opposite. Eighteen months ago, our Hamas Party won the
Palestinian parliamentary elections and entered office under
Prime Minister Ismail Haniya but never received the handover
of real power from Fatah, the losing party. The Palestinian
president, Mahmoud Abbas, has now tried to replace the
winning Hamas government with one of his own, returning
Fatah to power while many of our elected members of
Parliament languish in Israeli jails. That is the real coup.

From the day Hamas won the general elections in 2006 it
offered Fatah the chance of joining forces and forming a
unity government. It tried to engage the international
community to explain its platform for peace. It has
consistently offered a 10-year cease-fire with the Israelis
to try to create an atmosphere of calm in which we resolve
our differences. Hamas even adhered to a unilateral
cease-fire for 18 months in an effort to normalize the
situation on the ground. None of these points appear to have
been recognized in the press coverage of the last few days.

Nor has it been evident to many people in the West that the
civil unrest in Gaza and the West Bank has been precipitated
by the American and Israeli policy of arming elements of the
Fatah opposition who want to attack Hamas and force us from
office. For 18 months we have tried to find ways to coexist
with Fatah, entering into a unity government, even conceding
key positions in the cabinet to their and international
demands, negotiating up until the last moment to try to
provide security for all of our people on the streets of
Gaza.

Sadly, it became apparent that not all officials from Fatah
were negotiating in good faith. There were attempts on Mr.
Haniya's life last week, and eventually we were forced into
trying to take control of a very dangerous situation in
order to provide political stability and establish law and
order.

The streets of Gaza are now calm for the first time in a
very long time. We have begun disarming some of the drug
dealers and the armed gangs and we hope to restore a sense
of security and safety to the citizens of Gaza. We want to
get children back to school, get basic services functioning
again, and provide long-term economic gains for our people.

Our stated aim when we won the election was to effect
reform, end corruption and bring economic prosperity to our
people. Our sole focus is Palestinian rights and good
governance. We now hope to create a climate of peace and
tranquillity within our community that will pave the way for
an end to internal strife and bring about the release of the
British journalist Alan Johnston, whose kidnapping in March
by non-Hamas members is a stain on the reputation of the
Palestinian people.

We reject attempts to divide Palestine into two parts and to
pass Hamas off as an extreme and dangerous force. We
continue to believe that there is still a chance to
establish a long-term truce. But this will not happen unless
the international community fully engages with Hamas.

Any further attempts to marginalize us, starve our people
into submission or attack us militarily will prove that the
United States and Israeli governments are not genuinely
interested in seeing an end to the violence. Dispassionate
observers over the next few weeks will be able to make up
their own minds as to each side's true intentions.
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