Hamas official claims it would lay down arms for two-state deal, refugees’ return; said yesterday this would only be temporary

Khalil al-Hayya speaks during an interview with The Associated Press, in Istanbul, Turkey,  April 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Khalil al-Hayya speaks during an interview with The Associated Press, in Istanbul, Turkey, April 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya, who in October said that the goal of the October 7 massacres in southern Israel was to plunge the entire region into permanent war, claims that Hamas would disband its military wing if a Palestinian state were to be established along pre-1967 borders.

In an interview with AP, the Qatar-based Hamas politburo official says that the terrorist organization would be willing to lay down its weapons and dissolve the al-Qassam Brigades “should a fully sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip” be implemented along Israel’s pre-1967 borders, with “the return of Palestinian refugees in accordance with the international resolutions.”

“All the experiences of people who fought against occupiers, when they became independent and obtained their rights and their state, what have these forces done? They have turned into political parties and their defending fighting forces have turned into the national army,” he says.

The AP report notes that Al-Hayya does not say whether his apparent embrace of a two-state solution would amount to an end to the Palestinian conflict with Israel or merely constitute an interim step toward the group’s stated goal of destroying Israel.

The Palestinian demand for a so-called “right of return” provides for up to six million descendants of refugees entering Israel — a demand dismissed by Israel as seeking to destroy it as a Jewish majority state.

In an interview yesterday with the Dubai-based Asharq News, al-Hayya said that the creation of a Palestinian state along 1967 borders would be viewed only as a temporary solution, and insisted on the Palestinians’ “historic right to all Palestinian lands,” suggesting that the terror group would continue to try and reach its stated goal of destroying Israel.

Hamas’s 1988 founding charter, a virulently antisemitic document rife with outlandish tropes about a worldwide Jewish conspiracy, professes the terror group’s commitment to armed struggle, while rejecting any territorial concessions to “the warmongering Jews.”

In a 2017 bid to curry international favor, Hamas revised the document, claiming the group’s struggle was not against Jews, but rather against “the Zionist project.” But Hamas’s political program still officially “rejects any alternative to the full liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea” — referring to the area reaching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, which includes lands that now make up Israel. The 2017 charter asserts the Palestinian right to the “Arab Islamic land” of Palestine, “which extends from the River Jordan in the east to the Mediterranean in the west and from Ras al-Naqurah in the north to Umm al-Rashrash in the south.”

The Hamas official also tells AP today that the terror group doesn’t regret the October 7 terror assault, despite the destruction it has subsequently brought down upon Gaza and its people.

In an interview with The New York Times in the immediate aftermath of October 7, when some 1,200 people in southern Israel were slaughtered by invading Hamas terrorists, al-Hayya said that the goal of the assault was to “change the entire equation,” and to ensure that “no one in the region is experiencing calm.”

“This battle was not because we wanted fuel or laborers,” Al-Hayya said at the time. “It did not seek to improve the situation in Gaza. This battle is to completely overthrow the situation.”

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