Khalid Misha’al is Head of the Political Bureau of Hamas, the main Palestinian Islamic movement. He represented Hamas at the International Conference on the Palestinian Intifada in Tehran last month as Hamas leader Shaikh Ahmad Yasin was unable to travel to Iran from Occupied Ghazzah. Here we present an excerpt of his address to the conference.
May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon you. In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful, praised be Allah and may His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and followers.
First of all, I thank Allah Almighty for His graces, which are great and many; the grace of al-Aqsa Intifada, the grace of resistance and patience, the grace of steadfastness in face of the occupiers, the grace of the meeting of nations on the issue of Jerusalem and Palestine, and the grace of the fall of Barak and the confusion of Sharon at the hands of the children of the intifada and the heroes of the resistance.
I also express my thanks to the Islamic Republic of Iran – leadership, government, and people – for its kind initiative in convening this conference in support of Al-Aqsa Intifada. I thank in particular His Eminence Ali Khamenei, the leader of the Islamic Revolution... Thus, the Islamic Republic of Iran always stands as the helper of our cause and the supporter of our people in their jihad against the zionists...
I convey the greetings of the leader of the intifada, the mujahid Shaykh Ahmad Yasin who, were it not for the restrictions of the enemies, would have been here.
Brothers and sisters, I say that the message of the Palestinian people and resistance to you is in three points. First, our Palestinian people adhere to the resistance and the intifada, as they are the source of strength for our people after Allah Almighty, in self-defence and in defence of the people and in reply to the enemy’s massacres. It is the only way to liberate the whole land and purge it of zionist occupation. It is the intifada and the resistance that have united all Palestinian forces with Allah’s grace. Everyone feels the importance of this unity and its positive effects. In fact, the intifada and the resistance have united the people in the cause with Allah’s grace. Thus you see on television screens that our people give the intifada and the resistance their greatest efforts and most precious sacrifices...
Second, we are all fully aware of the heavy price that our people are paying as a result of the intifada and the resistance. These are sharp pains: the killing of children, old people and women, the demolition of houses, the levelling of lands and plantations, and siege and starvation. But believe me, brothers, we also know that the effect of the intifada and the resistance on the occupier-enemy is even more. Their dead and wounded are on the increase. They are swept by real panic. They no longer feel safe in their settlements or anywhere on the land of Palestine. Their settlements in Ghazzah have become ghost houses. The numbers of immigrants are decreasing. In fact, more Jews are leaving than coming. Their economy, interests and tourism have suffered. More than that, they have lost personal security. There is also political confusion. They change their governments hoping that this will restore security and stability. But how impossible! For the first time in 53 years they have doubts about their future. After an occupation that has continued for more than half a century, they are now back to square one. Who did that, O brothers? Oslo, negotiations, or dependence on the US? Never; the one who did all that was Allah through the intifada and the resistance. Allah Almighty tells us: “And slacken not in following up the enemy; if ye are suffering hardships, they are suffering similar hardships, but ye have hope from Allah, while they have none.” (4:104).
Believe me, Brothers, we, Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, are not in a dilemma. The ones living in a real dilemma are Sharon and the Zionist entity, thanks to the resistance.
Third, I would like my brethren who have come from the occupied territory to listen to me carefully. We are fully aware of the enormous pressure on the intifada and the resistance and the savagery of the plots against them. Does anyone expect anything from the Zionists and the Americans other than that? But our people — and I say this with confidence and without seeking favour from our people and their forces — with all their forces, factions and national figures utterly reject the return to negotiations and the process of relinquishment and compromise. They also strongly reject any return to security cooperation with the enemy. There is general resentment against these secret or open meetings and the security or political meetings that are held with the occupier enemy at a time when our people are exposed to killing and shelling, and their areas are invaded and their cadres from all forces are assassinated without discrimination. All of us are targets. So why this deviation from our people’s unanimous stand?
Gentlemen, our people are not tired of struggle, and they are not asking anyone to return to the negotiations. Believe me, our people are only asking the mujahideen to carry out more commando operations and mortar attacks. For our people believe that the alternative to the intifada is defeat, Allah forbid! It would be a return, not to the previous situation, but to submission to the enemies. Our people will not accept such a fate.
Therefore I call upon my brethren in the Palestinian National Authority to stop these meetings immediately. I call on my brethren in Fath in particular to reject that clearly. By Allah, these meetings are like destroying the ship we are travelling on in this rough sea. It is wrong to abandon a gigantic intifada and a major resistance, which have begun to shake the pillars of the Zionist enemy. Besides, what are we depending on? Whoever ponders the political situation will see that the settlement process is in deadlock. Whoever looks at the US and Zionist stands knows that resistance is our only choice. This is the situation of our people.
I ask you for three things: First, a political decision assuming responsibility for the resistance, protecting it, and bearing it with courage before the whole world. Second, open financial aid so that everyone shares the consequences of the resistance.
Third and last, I say the resistance in Palestine wants support with arms. If the Arab regimes cannot give clear, direct support, I say that the best way out is to turn a blind eye to the entry of arms into Palestine. Who would know that you turned a blind eye, but Allah? Don’t fear the United States and don’t fear the whole world. Say that the Palestine question deserves every Muslim’s involvement. We want you to turn a blind eye. Let the arms enter Palestine. Turn a blind eye to the personal efforts being made by some youth and activists of your peoples so that everyone can participate in this battle.