On Sunday, the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera satellite network broadcast a videotape in which al-Zawahri delivered a "eulogy" for Hamas, in which he comforted the Islamic people for the movement's betrayal of Palestine in exchange for a few ministerial posts in the Palestinian Authority government.
A Hamas spokesman was dismissive of the accusations. Dr Fauzi Barhum said that Hamas remained steadfast in its principles, adding that while the movement valued al-Zawahri's advice, it rejected his distortion of both the truth and reality. "We have sacrificed our leaders, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and Dr Aziz Rantisi, for Palestine. We have not forsaken our principles," declared Barhum.
Hamas released an additional statement on Monday. "All the land of Palestine is waqf (Muslim religious endowment) land which no one has the right to give up. We will continue to be faithful to our principles regarding Palestine, the central issue of Muslims around the world.
"We understand that there can be contrary opinions, but we say to Dr al-Zawahri that … it is unjustified to make baseless accusations of this sort." The Hamas statement emphasized that the movement's strategy would continue to be based on resistance and jihad but that their timing and form depended on the movement's strategic assessments.
The Hamas statement declared, "We will not forsake a single grain of the sand of Palestine. The Palestinian people is the spearhead of the Islamic project and the torch of our resistance will continue to burn in opposition to the Zionist enemy.
"We are a movement of jihad and of resistance and will continue to be so as long as a single centimeter of the land of Palestine is under occupation."
"We in the Hamas movement remain loyal to our positions and dream of dying as martyrs. We believe that this world is merely transient and assure Dr al-Zawahri, and all those who remain unwavering in their attachment to Palestine, that today's Hamas is the same Hamas you have known since its founding ... Hamas signed the Mecca agreement in order to safeguard the interests of the Palestinian people."