‘Political Conflict Cannot Be Solved with Military Tools’ – Hamas Official

Top Hamas official Basem Naim. (Photo: Nurah Tape, Palestine Chronicle)

By Nurah Tape – The Palestine Chronicle  

A senior Hamas official said during a media briefing in South Africa on Wednesday that the “political conflict” between Israel and the Palestinian nation cannot be resolved militarily.

Dr Basem Naim, a member of the Hamas Politburo in Gaza, said for as long as Palestinians have been occupied, they have been resisting and raising their voices.

“We are talking about a political conflict, and this political conflict cannot be solved by military tools,” he said.

“They (the Israelis) have to accept that we have ambitions, dreams of independence, freedom and dignity,” the former Gaza Minister of Health added.

Unless this conflict is “solved finally and forever”, there will be a repeat of the current escalation, he added.

The official explained that the Palestinian Resistance Movement Hamas is working towards this aim in the negotiations.

However, the message received from Israel is that once the ceasefire is over, the military onslaught on Gaza will resume. This time, on the southern part of the enclave.

“It will be a catastrophe, much bigger than that seen in the first 50 days” of the assault, “because already you have nearly 800,000 Palestinians displaced from the north to the south, which means you have nearly two million in the south.”

Senior representatives of the resistance movement are in South Africa to meet with various civic organizations, trade unions, non-governmental organizations and Palestinian solidarity groups.

Dr. Naim confirmed that Hamas is trying to negotiate a permanent ceasefire.

“We are ready to release all (Israeli) soldiers, in exchange for the release of all our prisoners… But this should not be the only condition to reach a permanent ceasefire”.

The movement, he explained, is calling for an immediate and unconditional “end to the aggression” by Israel; border crossings to be opened for basic humanitarian aid to reach the people; and a political process to be initiated that will lead to an independent Palestinian state with its people being allowed “to return to their homes and villages”.

On the two-state solution, Dr. Naim believed it had been “totally destroyed or undermined by Israel.”

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He said Hamas has declared that if all Palestinians “agree to accept a state on 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital, and preserving the right of return, we are ready to accept it.”

However, with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, having presented “a map of Palestine at the UN last September, which he said is only Israel, there’s no chance for another state.”

It is unclear whether the Hamas officials will meet with representatives of the South African government during their visit. They commended the ANC-led government on the diplomatic action taken such as recalling its staff from Tel Aviv as well as the demarche of the Israeli ambassador.

South Africa has also referred Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for an investigation into war crimes during its assault on the Gaza Strip.

A week ago, the country’s parliament also voted in favor of expelling the Israeli ambassador and severing all diplomatic ties. The cabinet is yet to make a final decision on the vote.

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The Hamas representatives, however, felt that more can be done to completely isolate “apartheid Israel” on various levels including economically and academically.

Calling on the media and civil society to “stand for justice” and “convey the reality” on the ground, Dr. Naim said, adding: “What Israel has committed over 75 years is not much different to what’s been happening in Gaza.”

The Hamas official said that were it not for social media “this war crime and ethnic cleansing might have happened without it being heard about anywhere.”

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, the death toll of Israel’s war has risen to over 15,000 Palestinians, including over 6,150 children and more than 4,000 women.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

– Nurah Tape is a South Africa-based journalist. She is an editor with The Palestine Chronicle.

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