Abbas: Hamas to End Armed ‘Resistance’; Hamas Says They Won’t

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas alleged in an interview with Euronews last week that the Hamas terrorist organization agreed that “resistance” against Israel should be unarmed. However, the report came just one day after Hamas re-affirmed in a speech that “armed resistance” is the only way to take back “Palestine,” according to the UK’s The Independent.

According to a transcript of an interview with Abbas posted on the Euronews website, the Palestinian official claimed he had reached several significant agreements with Hamas regarding their approach to achieving statehood.

Abbas said Hamas “has come around” that “resistance must be population-based and not with weapons—frankly, this was a point we agreed on.”  Abbas has repeatedly called for unarmed “popular” struggle against Israel, using diplomacy and protests to achieve their goals.

And regarding Palestinian statehood he said that “the solution is a state based on the 1967 borders—there again Hamas agreed.” The 1967 lines were armistice lines between Israel and several Arab states—including Egypt and Jordan—that in this context would grant the Palestinians the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Yet just one day prior to the publishing of the Euronews interview, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh told a massive rally in in Gaza that not only would they continue their violence against Israel, but their goal is that the State of Israel effectively cease to exist in the region.

The Independent translated Haniyeh’s speech as saying, “We affirm that armed resistance is our strategic option and the only way to liberate our land, from the [Mediterranean] sea to the River [Jordan]. God willing, Hamas will lead the people… to the uprising until we liberate Palestine, all of Palestine.”

The Hamas military wing website also paraphrased Haniyeh a saying that “armed resistance was the only strategic choice for the liberation of Palestine,” although it did not clarify how much of the territory they were claiming.

The Hamas website also said he rejected the idea of a land swap with Israel, which is generally believed to be a necessity to any peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. The website also paraphrased Haniyeh as “vowing that Hamas will never ever recognize Israel’s legitimacy.”

Hamas and Abbas’ Fatah faction have been trying to implement a national reconciliation agreement since May. The goal is to set up an interim government made up of technocrats prior to new national elections in May 2012. The two groups have been divided since a bloody coup by Hamas in 2007 threw Fatah out of the Gaza Strip.

Israel has repeatedly expressed concern and dismay regarding the unity deal between Hamas and Fatah as a move against peace.

(By Joshua Spurlock,, December 18, 2011)