Hebrew, Arabic press on Hamas victory

Hamas won 76 seats out of 132 contested in the Palestinian parliament. The Hamas victory surprised many, defying all polls. In the last few days, it was revealed the US pumped millions into Fatah’s campaign. A Palestinian commented that since Israel and the US wanted Fatah to win, most Palestinians surmised that whatever the US and Israel want the Palestinians to do is usually the opposite of what’s actually good for them, so they voted for Hamas instead.

Selections from Israeli and Palestinian sources, as translated by BBC Monitoring:

Top Hamas official Al-Zahhar says victory will result in Israeli “concessions”
26 January 2006

Text of unsigned report headlined “Dr Al-Zahhar: Hamas’s victory in legislative elections a blow to the Americans and Zionists; Quray resigns”, published by pro-Hamas Palestinian Information Centre website on 26 January

Gaza, 26 January: Key Hamas figure Dr Mahmud al-Zahhar has said that so far everything indicates that Hamas has won the majority of seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), thus enabling it to easily form the next Palestinian government.

Al-Zahhar explained that in light of these results, the future of the Palestinians will be much better than before on all levels. He added “these results will enable Hamas’s sons, similar to the rest of the Palestinian people, to work in the public sector, especially in the health, education and security fields, from which they have previously been banned”.

Al-Zahhar said: “The results will affect Fatah’s unilateral control over Palestinian decision-making,” adding that Hamas will work to uproot corruption. He stressed that Hamas will invite all factions to join its programme, which is certainly not Fatah’s programme, but rather a national one.

The Hamas leader expected the results “to have local, Arab and regional consequences”, viewing the results as a blow to the Americans and the Zionist enemy who will find itself compelled to rush to the Palestinians to offer concessions. He added that this victory will have an impact on some neighbouring countries, especially Egypt and Jordan.

Al-Zahhar said that he met European and US delegations in Gaza yesterday, some of whom took part in monitoring the elections, who confirmed that [EU foreign policy chief Javier] Solana’s statements on Hamas do not represent those of the Europeans.

In a related development, informed Palestinian sources said that Ahmad Quray, prime minister of the Palestinian National Authority, has tendered his resignation to President Mahmud Abbas. Quray told reporters in Ramallah that “Hamas will form the next government”, referring to Hamas winning the majority of PLC seats.

It is worth mentioning that opinion polls and monitors confirm that Hamas’s Change and Reform list has won more than 75 PLC seats.

Source: Palestinian Information Centre website in Arabic 26 Jan 06

Hamas official offers truce for Israeli withdrawal to 1967 lines – Israel radio

26 January 2006

Text of studio talk between presenter Anat Davidov and Arab affairs correspondent Avi Issakharov, including recorded remarks from an interview Issakharov conducted with Hamas official Adnan Asfur in Arabic; recorded remarks where indicated processed from the Arabic; broadcast by Israel radio on 26 January

[Davidov] Good afternoon to our Arab affairs correspondent Avi Isskaharov.

[Issakharov] Good afternoon.

[Davidov] Several minutes ago, you interviewed Adnan Asfur, who is a senior Hamas official. He told you that Hamas’s victory is a good opportunity to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict.

[Issakharov] That is correct. Adnan Asfur, one of the Hamas leaders in Nablus and a very well known figure in that area, where Hamas also won, I believe, four of five seats out of the possible six. I asked Adnan Asfur whether we should fear his movement’s victory. He replied: No, you should not be afraid. It is a good opportunity for the Israelis to finally end the Arab-Israeli conflict by dealing with Hamas.

[Asfur – recording] No the Israeli should not be afraid of Hamas, on the contrary, in my opinion this is a good opportunity for the Israelis to end the Israeli-Arab conflict once and for all by dealing with Hamas. [End of recording]

[Issakharov] When I asked him whether Hamas was willing to deal with Israel, he replied that if the Israeli side officially and publicly recognizes the rights of the Palestinian people, then Hamas is prepared to consider the possibility of allowing Israel to restore the Palestinians’ rights [sentence as heard]. One must note that he is more evasive on this point, and we are already familiar with the ambiguous statements made by senior Hamas officials.

[Davidov] They still don’t know how to digest it themselves.

[Issakharov] The second issue I asked him about was, of course, what he meant by the Palestinians’ rights. Asfur said that the Palestinians’ rights must include a Palestinian state, the return of the refugees, the release of the prisoners and the dismantling of the settlements. I asked him whether he was referring to the return of refugees to the 1948 territories or the 1967 borders. He became evasive again, calling for the implementation of UN Resolution 194. He preferred not to talk about the refugees’ return to the 1948 borders.

[Asfur – recording] The rights of the Palestinian people, their state, the return of refugees, the release of prisoners and the withdrawal from settlements.

[Issakharov] But are we talking about the return of refugees to the 1948 or 1967 territories?

[Asfur] There is a decision of international legitimacy, Resolution 194, [word indistinct]. [End of recording]

[Issakharov] There is another point I attempted to clarify in my interview with Adnan Asfur; namely, when he talks about the removal of the occupation, what does he really mean? When he says occupation is he in traditional Hamas style referring to all the territories included in the 1948 territories, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, or is he talking about the 1967 borders? He gave me a rather interesting answer here. No great news or drama though. He said that as far as they are concerned, the occupation is in all historic Palestine; or, in other words the territories of 1948 Palestine. However, in light of the current reality one can opt for temporary solutions. In other words, Asfur said that Hamas is now demanding a state within the 1967 borders. Get out of there, he said, and then there will be a cease-fire, a hudnah [previous word in Arabic: truce].

[Asfur – recording] The occupation as far as we are concerned is over historical Palestine in its entirety. However, we can deal with reality and with temporary solutions. We now demand a state within the entire 1967 territories, and that the occupation leave these territories entirely. [End of recording]

[Issakharov] So those are our ostensible or possible partners, although this seems rather doubtful. Right now, however, we have to see how the Israeli government reacts to this issue. However, right now these are the Palestinian leaders – an extremist strategy that we are not familiar with. They are not talking about a peace treaty or abrogating the Palestinian Charter. They are using very clear language: Get out of the areas occupied in 1967 in exchange for a hudnah or cease-fire, no more than that.

Source: Voice of Israel, Jerusalem, in Hebrew 1105 gmt 26 Jan 06

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