Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar clarified Wednesday that his terror group’s new political program, which some interpreted as accepting the idea of a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines, would not preclude Hamas from seeking to liberate all of historic Palestine, including Israel.
“If we liberate Palestine though the resistance until the 1967 borders, we will go directly to liberate the rest of Palestine and the territories of 1948, and there will be no negotiations,” Zahar said at a conference in Gaza addressing international reactions to the new policy document, according to the Hamas-linked al-Resalah news site.
Zahar was likely responding to hardline critics of Hamas’s new program, such as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group.
“As partners with our Hamas brothers in the struggle for liberation, we feel concern over the document,” Islamic Jihad’s deputy leader, Ziad al-Nakhala, said Saturday.
“We are opposed to Hamas’s acceptance of a state within the 1967 borders and we think this is a concession which damages our aims,” he said in a statement on Islamic Jihad’s website.
On Wednesday Zahar stressed that Hamas was not walking back its original principals, asserting, “If Hamas liberated 99.9% of the land of Palestine, it will not give up on the rest.”
He added: “We cannot religiously, morally or nationally give up on one inch of the land of Palestine.”
Hamas, which is recognized as a terrorist organization by Israel, the US and the EU, adopted the new document on May 1 in an attempt to improve its standing in the international community.
The document, however, contains glaring contradictions.
It accepts the idea of a Palestinian state in territories captured by Israel in the Six Day War of 1967 but simultaneously reiterates the imperative to destroy Israel. It also dismisses the establishment of the State of Israel as “illegal,” asserting a Palestinian claim to the entire Land of Israel, and a so-called right of return for all descendants of refugees. It also reserves the right to wage “resistance and jihad for the liberation of Palestine.”
Israel has dismissed the new document as an attempt to “fool the world.”
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.