RAMALLAH, April 23 (JMCC) - Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk refuted claims that the organization has disavowed armed resistance in an interview with The Forward
In two days of interviews, the now Cairo-based Hamas figure told a reporter that comments by the head of the movement, Khaled Meshaal, had been misinterpreted.
A February 6 article by Time magazine correspondent Karl Vick about the “mainstreaming” of Hamas was one object of his disdain. In it, Vick played up comments by Meshal, who, at a November reconciliation meeting with Fatah leaders, praised the popular protests of the Arab Spring last year in Egypt and Tunisia as packing “the power of a tsunami.”
“The new government emerging in Cairo may be dominated by Islamists,” Vick wrote hopefully, “but it has pushed both sides to make up and adopt the nonviolent strategy against Israel, complete with negotiations.”
For Abu Marzook, the November meeting in Cairo meant something “completely different.” At the meeting, he said, the groups involved asked, “What kind of [activities] between us we can share together?” And mass civil resistance, it was decided, was one in which all could participate.
“We accept that,” he said. “[It] can now make reconciliation easier.” But giving up both the right and the opportunity to conduct military operations? “It doesn’t mean that,” Abu Marzook stated flatly.
Indeed, a careful look at the original Agence France Presse report from which Vick drew Meshal’s comments reveals some important remarks the Time correspondent left out. “Now we have a common ground that we can work on,” Meshal said then. But he added, “As long as there is an occupation on our land, we have the right to defend our land by all means, including military resistance.”
Abu Marzouk is considered a candidate to lead Hamas in coming secret elections. Other candidates include Meshaal and Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.
He admitted in the interview that the movement is experience an internal struggle as it seeks to adapt to changing conditions in the Arab world, as well as successes and failures in the Gaza Strip it governs.