Hamas will not disarm following the upcoming Palestinian elections, but the group does not reject talks with Israel out of hand, a prominent Hamas leader hinted in an interview with Ynet Sunday
The organization will do what is best for the Palestinian people, said Sheikh Yasser Mansur, who heads the movement's list for the Legislative Council in Nablus and also serves as the group's spokesman in the general elections.
According to Mansur, a Hamas election victory will not change the group's basic values or its conception as a resistance movement fighting the occupation.
However, Mansur said that "we will not hesitate to support anything which serves Palestinian interests."
In case you win the elections and become the ruling party in the PA, or a member in the coalition, will you negotiate with Israel?
The question of our taking part in the government is still premature, and the movement has yet to decide on the matter. However, even we are a part of the government we will not shy away from doing whatever it takes to serve the Palestinian people and interests, and improve the lives of Palestinians.
Will we see a Hamas minister take part in talks with Israel?
As I said, it is still early to discuss this, but Hamas is doing and will do everything to serve the Palestinian people.
What kind of a message would the Palestinian public send to Israel if it supports Hamas and helps the movement win the elections?
The message is clear, and continues the message of the regional elections, when Hamas overwhelmingly won in all the large towns. This message is that Hamas, which is perceives by Israel and some members of the international community as a terror group, is perceived differently by the Palestinian people, who see it as a pragmatic and flexible movement that can represent it in the best way possible and return the rights deprived from the Palestinians.
The Palestinian people perceive Hamas as a loyal, fighting movement, which best represents Palestinian interests.
In the event you win the elections, but Israel decides to cut off ties with the Palestinian Authority due to this victory, what will you do on the diplomatic front and with regards to day-to-day services?
Regarding the second part, about services, I don't see why on this matter, when it comes to day-to-day matters, there should be a problem.
The issue of services is a vital matter for the citizen and has no political significance. However, regarding the diplomatic part, even before the possibility Hamas may win, Israel didn't really take the Palestinian side into account, as seen by the fact Israel decided to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and did it without taking the Palestinian side into account and without coordinating any of its steps.
Will you continue to preset yourself as a fighting movement even after the elections and any achievement you may win?
Of course. The question of elections is not supposed to change at all Hamas' principles and fundamentals.
In addition to being a movement that seeks to represent the Palestinian people in the legislative council in order to improve their standard of living, we continue to be a movement that fights against the occupation and seeks to free the Palestinian people form the burden of occupation. We do not see a contradiction between being a movement that fights the occupation and being part of the legislative council.
Yet the international community demands Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) first and foremost disarm you in order to recognize you as a legitimate movement.
Whoever talks about disarming us and the Palestinian resistance does not experience or is familiar with the occupation and does not know what it means to live under the shadow of occupation, thus seeking to ignore Israel's steps. The Palestinian weapon is a weapon against the occupation, and as long as the occupation exists, those weapons will exist in order to fight the occupation.