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Monday, June 25, 2007

Hamas: "Thank You, America!"

Hamas co-founder Mahmoud Zahar had an interesting interview with Der Speigel. Some highlights:

SPIEGEL ONLINE: How would a Hamas-led Islamic state look?

Zahar: There would be no difference from how it looks today, because our customs and traditions in Gaza are already Islamic. Marriage, divorce, daily business -- everything is Islamic. As soon as we have a state, then everyone will have their freedom. Christians will remain Christians, parties could be secular or even Communist.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: If an Islamic state is the ideal, why are there not more of them?

Zahar: If there were free and fair elections throughout the Arab world, Islamic forms of government would win everywhere. Islam is against the corruption, weakening, and materialism which have destroyed societies in Europe and America. Families are broken (in the West); there are AIDS and drugs. We don't have such things here.

[EoZ: I've been seeing more and more articles lately in the PalArabic press about the spread of drugs in the PalArab territories.]

SPIEGEL ONLINE: At the moment there are no attacks on Israel by Hamas' military wing. Is this a new doctrine?

Zahar: Yes, at the moment we have to deal with two enemies at the same time. Also, the Israelis have halted their aggression. That's a direct result of our attacks on Sderot (in Israel) -- the Israelis have suffered too much. Thousands of citizens had to leave (Sderot), and the Israeli government had to pay for their hotels. Factories and offices in Sderot also had to close.

[EoZ: A baldfaced lie. Israel reduced its Gaza attacks when Hamas and Fatah were fighting, but never stopped. As my rocket calendars show, the number of rockets were reduced sharply as soon as the intrafada fighting flared up.]

SPIEGEL ONLINE: In the West there is a fear that the Gaza Strip may become a playground for international terrorism. Is this danger real?

Zahar: Our people can't distinguish between resistance and terrorism. We're fighting for the liberation of our land from an occupation. When people in Europe had to fight the Nazis, they were honored, later, as freedom fighters. No one would have called Charles de Gaulle a terrorist.

[EoZ: Guess what - no one can distinguish between what he calls "resistance" and terrorism. I don't know if he meant to say that or if Der Spiegel made a mistake.]

SPIEGEL ONLINE: There has been talk in Israel about turning off electricity, water, and gas in Gaza. Could the people in Gaza starve?

Zahar: In that case Israel would have to open its borders. People wouldn't starve to death before violently storming the borders. Israel also loses $2 million in business income for every day the border stays closed.

[EoZ: The Palestinian Arab habit of thinking that Jews can't handle Arab economic pressure is nothing short of delusional. See may latest history article.]

SPIEGEL ONLINE: The international community plans to release all the aid money it has withheld from Palestinians for over a year to the Fatah government in the West Bank. Will the West Bank become a kind of luxury-Palestine, while the Gaza Strip starves?

Zahar: Fatah in the West Bank will receive money, and they will have to pass it on to Gaza. If it doesn't, it will lose Gaza forever. We would also have to search for alternatives. We have a very good image among people throughout the Arab world. If we want, we can get $5 million per month in donations from Egypt. We have also received money from foreign countries in the past -- $82 million from Kuwait, $50 million from Libya. I personally once brought $20 million from Iran to the Gaza Strip in a suitcase. No, actually twice -- the second time it was $22 million.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What will improve for people in Gaza now that Hamas is in control?

Zahar: The good thing is that we can now collect information about our enemies and informants from foreign powers. We will look for Israel's spies.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: The militant wings of Fatah and Hamas have been fully armed over the last few months. Are these weapons still in circulation?

Zahar: There are naturally very many weapons around now. Two years ago, one bullet in Gaza cost around €3.50 -- now it would cost 35 cents. The American aid money has been translated into weapons. Thank you, America!