the August 2001 issue of World Press Review (VOL. 48, No.
'We Will Give Israel One More Chance'
An interview with Hamas spokesman Hasan Yosef
Palestine Report (weekly
independent Internet publication), Jerusalem, Israel, June 6, 2001
What is your position regarding the cease-fire?
A cease-fire means that there are two fighting armies. The Palestinian
people are a people whose land is occupied and whose Muslim and
Christian holy sites are threatened by Judaization. This is on top
of the siege, closure, and constant deprivation of Palestinians.
All of these practices force our occupied people to defend themselves,
according to the Shariah and divine laws.
the suicide operations inside Israel continue?
The Palestinian people gave the Israelis a historical opportunity.
There were eight years of negotiations and talks. However, the Israeli
occupation did not give us anything. On the contrary, settlements
increased. These Israeli measures forced the Palestinian people
and all its forces, including Fatahwhich believed in the peace
processto resist the occupier. For the past eight months the
occupation has carried out violenceit has used warplanes and
rockets and internationally banned gases. It has used every means
to kill our children, men, and women. Should we offer them a bouquet
of roses for what they have done to us? When Americans are attacked,
they defend themselves. What we are doing is defending ourselves.
There is no Palestinian who is interested in maintaining this state
of violence and tension in the region. We, as a Palestinian people,
call for real peace. But there exists an occupation of our land.
When the occupation is ended, settlements are halted, and we establish
our fully sovereign Palestinian state, there will not be one individual
from the Palestinian people, including Hamas, who will want to shed
one drop of blood from anyone in the world.
you receive an official letter or request from the Palestinian Authority
to stop your operations?
I was called upon by the Palestinian intelligence services. They
put before me the decision taken by Abu Ammar [President Yasser
Arafats nom de guerre] regarding the cease-fire. They described
to me the extent of the dangers facing the Palestinian people and
the pressures put on the Palestinians. Hamas and all the national
forces will work toward the interests of the Palestinian people.
this mean a calming of the situation and an end to the Intifada?
Seventy-eight percent of the Palestinian people support the Intifada
as long as Palestinian land is occupied.
the pressures facing President Arafat lead to a real cooling down
of the situation?
The interests of the Palestinian people will be decisive. Struggle
and jihad will remain [our] legitimate rights.
if Arafat calls for your arrests?
We will cross that bridge when we get to it. But the Palestinian
people reject political arrests because they will destroy the unity
of the people. Hamas rejects the Mitchell report calling for the
arrest of Palestinians by Palestinians.
do you think that Arafat might arrest Hamas activists because of
international pressure and in order to protect his people from a
harsh Israeli retaliation?
Sharon does not need excuses to strike. The Israeli media prepared
public opinion, and Sharon is ready to strike the Palestinian territories.
But the Tel Aviv operation made Sharon recalculate. He does not
respect peace agreements. His philosophy is based on settlement
expansion and the expulsion of the Palestinians.
Will Hamas carry out any operations in
the next two weeks?
We are part of the Palestinian people. And in accordance with this
new move to confront the Israeli occupation, Hamas will give Israel
one more chance. After the arrival of the Palestinian Authority,
we did not shoot one bullet for eight months. But despite this calm,
Israel still assassinated Yahiye Ayash [believed to be the mastermind
behind past suicide attacksWPR]. We will act according to
the other side. Just yesterday, Israeli planes were hovering over
the area. Israel does not want peace; it does not want a cease-fire.
We are the ones who want peace. Israel is responsible for everything
that is happening to us.
did you get out of the Tel Aviv operation?
This operation deeply disturbed the Israeli people and shook
their sense of security. One million Israelis have left [Israel]
since the start of the Intifada. As for the Palestinians,
the more Sharon shells, the more they grow in strength. People
welcome these operations against Israelis as they would welcome