A senior Hamas official said that the terror group has built a so-called “real army” to fight Israel and that it has become the leading manufacturer of missiles in the Arab world.
Fathi Hammad, a member of the group’s political bureau and a former interior minister in Gaza, said Hamas “has made a resolute decision to remain steadfast and wage jihad, as the only means to liberate Palestine,” according to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) which picked up a media interview he gave on Al-Aqsa TV on December 8.
Hammad called Israel’s 2005 Disengagement from the Gaza Strip a liberation “under the watch of Hamas,” thanks to its “Jihad [holy war].”
Two years after Israel’s withdrawal, the Islamist group carried out a violent coup to seize power from Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority and has tightly controled the Palestinian enclave since. Israel and Egypt maintain a security blockade on Gaza in an effort to prevent Hamas, which has fought three recent wars against Israel, from importing weaponry. The blockade has affected the Gazan economy and the Strip maintains one of the highest unemployment and poverty rates in the world, according to the World Bank.
Hammad, however, claimed in the interview that Hamas “has proven itself through its rule” and that under its leadership “nobody has died of hunger or anything.”
On the contrary, he went on, “following the liberation of Gaza, [Hamas’s armed wing] the Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam units have become an army” with “its own industry.”
“We are now ready to sell our missiles to Arab countries. These are advanced missiles. If you look into the missile or weapon industries of developed countries, you will find that Gaza has become the leading manufacturer of missiles among Arab countries. We are prepared to sell them (to Arab countries) — so that they will launch them against the Jews, not for infighting among themselves.”
Hammad said Hamas, which is sworn to Israel’s destruction, should “not cooperate with any settlement deal” with the Jewish state,. There is an expected international peace conference set to take place in Paris next year.