Echoing earlier statements by officials in the Hamas terror group, Hamas’ Gaza Prime Minister said on Sunday his group would not back a United Nations membership bid and warned that no Palestinian Authority leader had a mandate to sacrifice “fundamental Palestinian rights.”
Speaking in Gaza, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said the terror group continued to support the establishment of a Palestinian state on any part of “historical Palestine” but would not seek to disrupt the UN bid.
“There is no mandate for any Palestinian leadership to infringe on Palestinian national rights, nor is there a mandate for any Palestinian actor to make historic concessions on Palestinian land or the right of the Palestinians, foremost among them the right of return,” Haniyeh was quoted by AFP as saying.
“Given this position, we reiterate our rejection of this bid,” he added.
Haniyeh stressed, however, that despite Hamas’ objection to the UN bid, it would “not place obstacles in the way of the establishment of a Palestinian state with full sovereignty.”
He said, “We repeat today that we are with the establishment of a Palestinian state on any liberated part of Palestinian land that is agreed upon by the Palestinian people, without recognizing Israel or conceding any inch of historical Palestine.”
Haniyeh was reinforcing the statements made by Hamas on Friday, after PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas officially confirmed he would be going to the United Nations to ask for a Palestinian state this week.
“We are against any step that will be giving up any inch of the land of Palestine or the rights of the Palestinians, including the right of return,” Hamas’ statement from Friday said.
The ‘right of return’ refers to the Arab leaders demand that as part of a future peace agreement, Israel is to allow millions of Arabs descended from those who left during the 1948 War of Independence to “return” to the cities in which their grandparents and great-grandparents once lived.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said that Abbas’ intention to go to the UN “is a tactical step aimed at modifying the way of getting back to the negotiation table with the Israeli occupation.”
Barhoum added, “Hamas movement will not give Abbas or the PLO any legal cover or permission to apply to the UN for full membership, because we believe that his act of heading to the UN is a preparation for resuming the negotiations with Israel.”
The Islamic Jihad terror group has also said it does not back the statehood bid at the UN. Islamic Jihad Spokesperson Daoud Shihab said that Abbas should spend his efforts on achieving unity with Hamas, which controls Gaza and leaves the Palestinian Authority a split entity.
Meanwhile, another senior Hamas official, Khalil al-Hayya, suggested that the PA approach the UN for recognition of a Palestinian state on all of “historical Palestine,” including areas now in Israel.
AFP quoted al-Hayya as saying the Palestinian Legislative Council should “apply for recognition of a Palestinian state on all the Palestinian territory and confirmation of the right of Palestinians to live within the borders of this state.”
Referring to Israel, al-Hayya added, “We appeal to the UN to invalidate the entity that took the decision to establish itself on the land of another.”
Hayya called on the international community to “apply pressure to ensure the implementation of international resolutions, particularly those that uphold the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.”