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Hamas 'not following in Fatah's footsteps'

Oct. 31, 2010 1:37 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 1, 2010 11:49 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar opted not to confirm reports published Saturday by the London-based Al-Hayat daily claiming that he described rocket launchers as “mutineers against their own factions.”

Speaking to Ma’an, Zahhar said, "First of all, I have not spoken at all to many newspapers recently. Secondly, during meetings over security arrangements, there has been reference to single cases within some factions. However, our official stance is that any Israel incursion in any area will be dealt with as an incursion whether it is in the north, the south or the center.

"So, the resistance's agenda is one of self-defense, but some media outlets, especially those affiliated to certain factions, tend to exaggerate and show that we are adopting a new strategy against resistance comparing us to other factions who abandoned resistance."

Asked about Hamas sponsoring an agreement between factions to stop firing projectiles at Israeli targets, Zahhar said there were three agreements; one in 2003, another in 2005, and a final one in 2008, one year before Israel's military offensive on Gaza. “The ceasefire agreement in 2008 was violated by the Israeli forces by waging war on Gaza. Then after the war there was a ceasefire agreement through the Egyptians after a UN decision. Thus, we abide by agreements, and if there is any aggression, everybody has the right to respond."

Asked if Hamas was preventing firing projectiles toward Israel while criticizing Fatah for doing the same, he answered, "Fatah wants to prove that Hamas is an exact reproduction of Fatah when they used to confiscate weapons of resistance fighters and jail using the excuse of agreements with Israel. They think Hamas will follow in their footsteps. Hamas is not a reproduction of Fatah and will not follow in their footsteps."

He explained the difference between self-defense in case of aggression against the Palestinians as in 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2009, and between security cooperation with Israel as Fatah does.

"Fatah used to detain activists, torture them and confiscate their weapons, but Hamas never confiscated weapons, neither did Hamas prevent anybody from resistance. However, we agreed on what we called ‘economized resistance’. Thus, I warn of attempts by the Fatah-affiliated media outlets trying to show that Hamas follows in Fatah's footsteps."

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