In first-ever interview with the U.S.-based Jewish daily, The Forward, deputy Hamas chief Mousa Abu Marzook says Hamas will not be bound by any agreement reached between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.
Abu Marzook pointed out that when Israeli Prime Ministercame to power, he chose not to abide by the Oslo Accords signed by his predecessor Yitzhak Rabin.
In the same way, a future Hamas government will not be bound by any peace treaty agreed by President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, he said.
Abu Marzook, deputy chief of the Hamas politburo, proposed a "hudna" or truce between Israel and, similar to Israel's arrangement with Lebanon and Syria.
"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."
Hamas objects to talks with Israel but allows the Fatah-led PA to negotiate under a previous understanding, Abu Marzook said.
But any agreement reached between the PA and Israel must be subject to a referendum and approved by all Palestinians, including refugees in the diaspora, Abu Marzook added.
Regarding Hamas' pledge in November to join in Fatah's civil resistance during a reconciliation meeting in Cairo, Abu Marzook said the strategy did not mean the group renounced armed resistance.
Abu Marzook noted that Israeli forces had killed thousands of Palestinian civilians, many more than the number of Israeli civilians killed by Palestinian militants.
"You cannot compare between the civilians killed by Israel and the civilians killed by the resistance."
While Israel usually apologizes for civilian deaths, and Hamas doesn't, "the killing is killing," Hamas' policy is "against targeting any civilian," he told Larry Cohler-Esses, assistant managing editor at The Forward.
Abu Marzook also said he distinguishes between Jews living in Israel and Jews in the U.S.. "We don’t have originally something against the Jew as a religion or against the Jew as a human being," he said.
"The problem is that the Israeli's kicked out my family. They have occupied my land and injured thousands of Palestinians…. I have to differentiate between the Jew who did this problem to my people and (American) Jews like you, who never did anything bad to my people."
Abu Marzook served as the first head of Hamas's political bureau, and as the deputy head since 1997, is a possible contender for Hamas's leadership, following current political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal's announcement in January that he would not seek another term.
The politburo of Hamas is appointed by the Shura council, which has yet to publicly accept Mashaal's resignation.
On his part, Larry Cohler-Esses said in an interview with Haaretz daily that Abu Marzook "was very interesting with a sense of humor," but admitted that he was "certainly not optimistic" about the situation in the region "after the things he said."
It is worth mentioning that Larry Cohler-Esses met Abu Marzook in Cairo, where the Hamas leader moved after leaving Damascus.
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