Fares Akram
January 12, 2011 - 1:00am

The Gaza-ruling Palestinian Islamic Hamas movement wanted to replace the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), a Gaza-based leader said Wednesday.

Secularism has been associated with the PLO's program, while Hamas' agenda "is based on Islamic ideology in the means and performance," said Mahmoud Zahar, a Hamas strongman, in an interview with Xinhua.

The PLO, dominated by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party, is recognized as the sole representative of the Palestinian people, while the Islamic Hamas movement has been considered by the United States and many European countries as a terrorist entity because it has refused to recognize Israel and renounce violence.

Zahar said that Fatah and the PLO failed to implement their project, which envisions the establishment of a Palestinian statehood on the land occupied by Israel since 1967.

Since it came into being in the 60s of the last century, "Fatah could not establish a state in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank," while Hamas' plan is to "have an Islamic state on all Palestine's land, which would be part of the Islamic community," Zahar added.

In this regard, Zahar rejected what he called "misunderstood" statement by Ismail Haneya, the deposed prime minister leading Hamas' government in Gaza, that Hamas will accept the result of any public referendum on any formula of peace agreement with Israel, even if that agreement was against Hamas' agenda.

"This is untrue. The principles can not be put for any vote. Referendum can only be conducted for mechanisms, not for national principles," he stressed.

Achieving Hamas' vision needs more time and depends on changes in the region and on the international level, said the Hamas strongman, adding there is no eternal power, and the current changes seem "in the long term to be in favor of the national project of the region."

One year after Hamas' 2006 landslide victory in the parliamentary elections, it routed pro-Abbas forces and took over Gaza. Zahar argued that Hamas succeeded in demonstrating a model of the future Hamas-run entity despite Israel's blockade following the Gaza takeover.


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