What Hamas said: “Any bets on arrangements in Gaza without Hamas and the resistance factions are illusions and mirages”

Ismail Haniyeh
Ismail Haniyeh, senior Hamas leader and former prime minister of the Palestinian Authority (2006–07) and of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip (2007–14). Screen shot is from Al Jazeera broadcast of his statement on Dec 13, 2023

Ismail Haniyeh’s statement yesterday (Dec 13, 2023) was eloquent and powerful. Haniyeh is the senior Hamas leader and former prime minister of the Palestinian Authority (2006–07) and of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip (2007–14). His statement was carried on many Arabic news channels.

I listened to the speech carefully as it was being broadcast live on Al Jazeera Arabic during its coverage of Israel’s war on Gaza, and then had a hard time finding it again on Al Jazeera’s website, likely because Israel and the U.S. continue to disfigure the reality of Hamas and Palestinian resistance generally (whether violent or non-violent) as terrorism, instead of what it is, which is a national movement of resistance to occupation and for liberation and self-determination.

You may be surprised to learn that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the organization with whom Israel negotiated the Oslo Accords in 1993, was designated as a “foreign terrorist organization” by the U.S. in 1997 and still holds that designation. Bafflingly, rather than dropping the designation, the US uses a “presidential waiver” that allows US diplomatic engagement with the PLO (such as it is today), as the “sole representative of the Palestinian people,” to take place.

But Biden is not about to waive the US designation of Hamas as a “terrorist organization” to engage diplomatically with the Palestinian Islamic armed resistance. On the contrary, it continues to hurl invective and dehumanizing language at this side of what it perversely describes as a defensive war by the occupier against “terrorists,” exhibiting callous, shocking and inhumane disregard to a humanitarian situation that practically the whole world now recognizes as a series of continuing massacres by Israel against civilians, mostly women and children, and a scorched-earth tactic on vast areas of a densely populated strip of Palestinian occupied land under blockade for 17 years (See “What was Hamas Thinking?”).  Moreover, as Jonathan Cook points out, the BBC and other media keep revisiting Hamas crimes that day, but fail to report on growing evidence that Israel killed its own citizens, often in grotesque fashion.

Biden continues to call for the eradication of Hamas, long after every rational and informed political analyst has declared that to be an impossible task.
 
What resonated most for me in Ismail Haniyeh’s speech is his reassurance that Palestinian sacrifice, blood and suffering shall not be in vain, God willing; Palestine will be free.

Ismail Haniyeh: “Every life lost, whether of a boy or girl, man or woman, young or old, every tear shed by a mother, father, or child, is precious. Every home or dream destroyed by zionist attacks, and all suffering from hunger, thirst, lack of money, lives, and crops, will remain etched in our memory, never to be forgotten or forgiven. The enemy will pay the price for all of it, no matter how long it takes.”

That price is the liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea, the freedom and self-determination of the Palestinian people.

To my ears, Haniyeh was echoing the sentiments Abraham Lincoln described so eloquently in his Gettysburg address as he commemorated the dead on the battlefield by saying they gave their lives so that the nation could live.

Abraham Lincoln: “… from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish on this earth.”
 
Palestinian government of the Palestinian people, by the Palestinian people, for the Palestinian people is not in Joe Biden’s calculations, let alone Netanyahu’s. But they most certainly are in the calculations of Hamas:
 
Ismail Haniyeh: “Any bets on arrangements in Gaza without Hamas and the resistance factions are illusions and mirages, illusions and mirages, illusions and mirages… We are certain that the brutal aggression will end, and the resistance will remain a faithful guardian of the rights and legitimate aspirations of our people…”

Abraham Lincoln: “It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.”

Ismail Haniyeh: “I affirm that we are steadfast, our resistance is capable, our people are patient and firmly struggling, and we are confident that the occupation will disappear, God willing.”
 
Palestinians everywhere are similarly steadfast and confident. A new poll conducted across the West Bank and Gaza shows skyrocketing support for Palestinian resistance and dissatisfaction with the Palestinian Authority.

The above comparison of rhetoric between Haniyeh and Lincoln is meant to juxtapose US virtuous national rhetoric against what it designates as terror and so highlight US hypocrisy. To Abraham Lincoln “the nation” was a settler-colonial entity that had massacred much of the indigenous population on the land. Haniyeh is a leader of a real liberation effort for indigenous freedom, currently defending against both genocide and ecocide.

And because you are unlikely to come across what Hamas has to say on the 36th anniversary of the movement, here is a translation of the Arabic text of that statement as provided by Resistance News Network on Telegram:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
 
On the occasion of the 36th anniversary of the launch of the Hamas movement and amidst the blessed Al-Aqsa Flood battle, we renew our commitment to continue the resistance until the occupation is removed and to achieve our people’s aspirations for liberation, return, and the establishment of the Palestinian state with Al-Quds as its capital.
 
 O patient and steadfast masses of our Palestinian people, both in proud Palestine and abroad, today marks the 36th anniversary of the launch of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), and we live in days of glory and pride, under the shadows of the glorious Al-Aqsa Flood battle. This battle inaugurated a new phase in our struggle with the brutal zionist occupier, who indulges in the blood of our people, denies our national rights, steals our land, and Judaizes our Islamic and Christian sanctities, including Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Al-Aqsa Flood battle is a title of steadfastness and resistance on the path to freedom and liberation from occupation and the establishment of the Palestinian state with Al-Quds as its capital, God willing.
 
 Since its inception, the movement has kept the covenant of the righteous martyrs, carrying the banner of jihad and resistance to complete our people’s journey towards liberation and independence. It has offered its leaders and soldiers alongside the martyrs of our people to create a free and dignified future for our patient and steadfast people. Al-Aqsa Flood is a continuation of this approach, which we will not abandon until the zionist Nazi occupation is ended.
 
 We live the pain and suffering with our people everywhere, especially in proud Gaza, which faces a savage zionist aggression and a genocidal war targeting its existence on its land by destroying all elements of life. Yet, we will never succumb to humiliation and defeat, and this brutal enemy will not succeed in its malicious schemes. Our great people and our valiant resistance in Gaza and the West Bank remain steadfast on the land, and we will not leave it except to return to Al-Quds as the capital of our independent Palestinian state.

We mourn the righteous martyrs of our people, pray for the speedy recovery of our wounded, and freedom for our heroic prisoners.
 We affirm the following:
 
 First: Our promise to our great Palestinian people is to remain faithful to their sacrifices, pains, and hopes. We will not abandon our duty to defend them, our land, and our sanctities. Hamas and its victorious Al-Qassam Brigades will continue to be the protective shield for the Palestinian national project and our people’s aspirations for liberation, return, and independence. The Al-Aqsa Flood battle is a page of glory and pride in the history of our people’s struggle against the zionist Nazi colonizer, and our resistance will continue to escalate until the occupation is gone and the Palestinian state with Al-Quds as its capital is established, God willing.
 
 Second: The Hamas movement is an integral part of this great people, expressing their will for freedom and independence. The movement will remain a fortress defending our people’s national rights. We will accept no guardianship and will not allow the passing of any suspicious plans to circumvent our people’s right to self-determination and the establishment of their fully sovereign state.
 
 Third: The zionist occupation and President Biden’s administration, with their obstinacy and arrogance, refusing all efforts and UN resolutions calling for an end to aggression, bear full responsibility for the ongoing massacres against our people and the destruction in Gaza. This historical responsibility will not expire with time, and the day will come when they will be held accountable.
 
 Fourth: We are open to all efforts leading to stopping the aggression against our people in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, to the release of our prisoners in the occupation’s prisons, and to forming a national reference on the path to restoring our people’s national rights and establishing their independent Palestinian state with Al-Quds as its capital.
 
 Fifth: We salute the steadfast and resistant Palestinian masses in proud Gaza, the West Bank, throughout Palestine, and the diaspora. We call on them to further steadfastness, solidarity, and escalation of resistance against the occupation everywhere. The occupation will be eradicated by the determination of the revolutionaries and the bravery of the heroic resistance fighters.
 
 Sixth: We salute all the forces and parties that have stood in solidarity with our people, championed Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa, and committed to standing by the right, in the face of the occupation and the zionist project threatening Palestine and the region.
 
 Seventh: We salute the nations of our Arab and Islamic nation and all the free people of the world who have come out in solidarity with the just cause of the Palestinian people, rejecting the massacres and aggression of the occupation in the Gaza Strip, and rejecting President Biden’s administration’s bias towards the new Nazis. We call on them to increase their escalating activism in support of the Palestinian people and their right to freedom and self-determination, like all peoples.
 
 Eighth: We appreciate all Arab, Islamic, and international efforts that have sought and are seeking to stop the aggression, to aid our people in the Gaza Strip. We call on them and the international community for more political action to stop the double standards policy pursued by President Biden’s administration and some Western countries biased towards the occupation, to work to end the zionist occupation threatening international peace and security, and to enable our people to exercise their inalienable national rights, no matter how long it takes.
 
 Indeed, it is a jihad of victory or martyrdom.
 Islamic Resistance Movement — Hamas
 
 Thursday: 01 Jumada al-Akhirah 1445H
 Corresponding to: December 14, 2023

In short, as the commander-in-chief of the Martyr Izz El-Din Al-Qassam Brigades (the armed branch of Hamas) Mohammad Deif said in his historic speech announcing Al-Aqsa Flood: “The era of bets has ended, and the occupation must be expelled.”

Related: Barakat: US and Israel heading towards strategic defea

Note: First published on Medium
 _________________
 Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem and whose mother’s side of the family is from Ijzim, south of Haifa. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank.

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