Saturday, June 23, 2007

` 'We Will Try to Form an Islamic Society' - Der Spiegel interviews Hamas co-founder

German magazine Der Spiegel has an illuminating interview with one of Hamas founding fathers, ex-foreign minister and currency smuggler Mahmoud Zahar.

There's a great deal of interest I'll avoid the usual disinformation and justification coming from people like Zahar and get to the meat. Emphasis and comments are mine:

SPIEGEL ONLINE: After heavy fighting, Hamas won control over the Gaza Strip last Saturday. But it's not clear what your party now intends to do. The assumption in the Western world is that Hamas wants to establish an Islamic state in Gaza. Is this true?

Zahar: Of course. We want to do that, but with full support of the people. At the moment we can't establish an Islamic state because we Palestinians have no state {...}

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.

Nah, just honor killings, no freedom and children indoctrinated to be murderers..But in fact, Zahar is likely correct. Given free elections, Islam and tribalism trump any notion of `democracy' in the Arab world any day of the week.

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.

Proof, as if any was needed that the Olmert government's weak response was no deterrent.

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.

Once again, Zahar is right on the money, aside from the fact that the Resistance only targetted civilians who were collaborating with the Nazis, and not the civilian population in general. To the Islamists,people who murder women and children in cold blood are indeed freedom fighters and holy warriors. We should remember that whenever we fight them...they will use our sensibilities to handcuff our war effort while waging no holds barred war themselves on us in the most brutal fashion, unencumbered by any concern about `civilian casualties'.

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.

let's chew on that for a minute...all the money given to prop up Abbas will end up being shared with Hamas, one way or another. And didn't you love the bit about our supposed `ally' Egypt funding Islamic terrorism?

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.

I'm sure the hearts of the people of Gaza will be warmed by that little fact. Revenge tastes great, especially with a little mustard or ketchup.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Last week there were street battles in the West Bank between Fatah and Hamas militias. Fatah maintained the upper hand. How will Hamas loyalists defend themselves in the event of any new fighting?

Zahar: Let me ask you: How have we defended ourselves so far against the Israeli occupation?

SPIEGEL ONLINE: With bombs and attacks?

Zahar: Exactly. But you said that, not me.

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!

No, no..thank you President Bush and Secretary Rice, who are anxiously working to repeat this gesture, along with the EU.

All in all, a very enlightening interview.

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