Hamas’ co-founder said on Monday that his organization plans to continue the armed struggle against Israel.
Mahmoud al-Zahar’s comments to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency are in sharp contrast to comments recently made by the group’s politburo chief Khaled Mashaal – and which al-Zahar himself later confirmed.
“We need to continue the armed resistance,” al-Zahar told Ma’an, adding that popular protests “are not suitable” to be used in the Palestinian Authority-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria.
He also said that protests would also be ineffective in Gaza, adding, “Against whom would we go out and demonstrate? It was only possible to use this method when Gaza was under occupation.”
“The Egyptian people expelled the British occupation by using armed force,” al-Zahar added. “We also oppose the occupation and we use all the tools, including armed struggle.”
In response to al-Zahar’s comments, an official with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction told Ma’an that during a recent meeting between Abbas and Mashaal, it was agreed that Hamas would adopt nonviolent popular resistance and use this method both in Gaza as well as in Judea and Samaria.
Recent reconciliation talks between the two factions in Cairo resulted in an announcement that Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other terror factions would be joining the PLO.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu subsequently said that if Hamas joins the Fatah-led PA government, Israel will not be able to negotiate with the PA.