Following are excerpts from an interview with Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahhar, which aired on Al-Manar TV on January 25, 2006.
Mahmoud Al-Zahhar: We will not give up the resistance in the sense of Jihad, martyrdom-seeking, sacrifices, arrests, the demolition of homes, and the uprooting of trees, at the same time, nor the shattering of the Israeli enemy's honor in all the confrontations - the war of tunnels and of security against the Israeli enemy, which ultimately led to its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and part of the West Bank.
We will not give up this plan for the kind of plan that people associate with the Legislative Council � luxury cars,
VIP permits, investments, and pockets
full of millions, while 30-40% of the Palestinian people is writhing with hunger.
We will not allow a situation in which a person who is wounded cannot be treated anywhere, unless he goes to the Israeli enemy, or is transferred across the border. Our education system will not represent Palestine as a coastal strip stretching from
Rafah to Beit Hanoun. We will teach them their history and the geography of Palestine. Our ministry of culture will teach them how the martyr is turned into prose, literature, and poetry, and how a woman, who used to cook and do the laundry, turns into one of the heroes of Palestine.
In addition, we will teach them how we can have an industry that is independent of the Israeli enemy. We will gradually get all the laborers back [from Israel], after supplying them with job opportunities in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, where they will work in small and very small factories, which will be independent of the Israeli enemy.
Palestine means Palestine in its entirety - from the (Mediterranean) Sea to the (Jordan) River, from Ras Al-Naqura to Rafah. We cannot give up a single inch of it. Therefore, we will not recognize the Israeli enemy's [right] to a single inch. That is one thing.
The second thing is that if the Right
of Return is an individual right, neither Mahmoud Al-Zahhar nor 'Abbas Zaki can relinquish it, because all these concessions
will constitute a national catastrophe.
The third point is that we can
found a state on any piece of the land, and this will not mean we give up on any other part of the land.
Interviewer: Condoleezza Rice has demanded that Hamas recognize Israel's right to exist. How do you respond?
Mahmoud Al-Zahhar: Why should we recognize Condoleezza Rice... or Israel's right to exist? In this region we have face Roman occupation, Persian occupation, Crusader occupation, British occupation � they are all gone. The Israeli enemy
does not belong to the region. It does not belong to the region's history, geography, or faith. When you enter the land occupied in 1948, it is like entering an enclave. But when you go to Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, or Egypt, you feel at home. It is your homeland.
If at present we cannot bring about a decisive victory, which will restore all our rights - and there is a difference between
a peaceful solution of surrender, which is temporary and is referred to as "settlements," and between a peaceful solution of peace which is based on justice,
and means the return of all the land and all the refugees.
We are saying that we may agree to found a state on any part of the land, but this must never be at the expense of the other parts.
If today, we are unable to win the conflict decisively, for reasons known to all, we must not pass on to our sons a disgraceful defeat by recognizing the Israeli enemy's right to exist, where it has no such right.
If they claim that the Right of Return applies � even after 2,000, 3,000,
or 10,000 years � to the Jews who used to be in Palestine, we say: Apply the same principle [on us]. We left Palestine only in 1948.