Istanbul

- Many questions arise about the internal elections in Hamas, the Palestinian elections, the prisoner exchange deal, activating the resistance in the West Bank, and the relations of the national and international movement in light of regional changes. Hamas for a second term, after he held this position since 2017, as well as head of the West Bank region.

Following is the text of the conversation:

  • You were elected deputy head of the political bureau of Hamas.. How do you carry out your activity in this capacity while you are on the US terrorism list?

America lists Hamas and all Palestinian factions on the list of terrorism, and my being on the American terrorism list is not a new thing, but what is new is only America’s offer of 5 million dollars to anyone who provides information about me, and I am not hiding, and fortunately most of the world does not deal with the American and Israeli positions Regarding our people in particular, considering that we are a people under occupation;

So we are officially working and doing international visits.

  • So you didn't bother with that decision?

Definitely not, maybe it was affected by some security measures only.

  • Did some countries refuse your presence in the movement's delegations during their official visits?

No, the same is the case before and after I was included on the American list.

  • The Hamas movement has finished holding its elections in all its regions by renewing Mr. Ismail Haniyeh as the movement's president.. How do you conduct the elections in light of the scattering of the movement's members in many and distant places and in light of a complicated security situation for you?

Hamas is one of the few organizations in the Arab world that holds real elections capable of bringing about change. Therefore, we have a leader of the movement, a former president, and a former president.

Gaza lives in a state of war, siege, and multiple emergencies, yet the elections were held within the movement, and the whole world witnessed how many re-runs of the elections were conducted between two of the movement’s leaders, and it ended up being decided in the fourth round, and we do not have a victory of 99% or 100%, but rather At 51%, 55% and 60%.

We live in various places, in Gaza we have special circumstances, in the West Bank there are different circumstances, and abroad and prisons as well. However, we conduct the electoral process in each region according to its circumstances, but we are keen that the process take place in the best and most honest conditions and consultative and democratic procedures.

Saleh al-Arouri (left) during his visit to the Gaza Strip and his meeting with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (communication sites - archive)

  • Will the West Bank region elections be held within the West Bank itself, despite the occupation and the authority?

According to the regulation, elections are held in areas that live in exceptional circumstances with exceptional circumstances that are also suitable for them. In the West Bank, we have two problems of occupation and persecution of the security services, and this does not allow an electoral process in which thousands of the movement’s members participate, nor the setting up of election boxes, as happens in Gaza. We conduct elections in the West Bank in such a way that the vast majority of the leaders and symbols of the West Bank participate, and thus there is a choice of brothers who have already been elected, and then they elect their representative in the institutions of the central movement.

  • Who are the members of the executive committee in the movement for the next stage that your elections produced?

Brother Ismail Haniyeh was renewed as Chairman of the Executive Committee and appointed as Vice-Chairman. Brother Yahya Al-Sinwar was renewed as Chairman of the Movement in Gaza and Dr. Khalil Al-Hayya as Vice-Chairman. Brother Khaled Mishaal was elected Chairman of the Movement in the Abroad Territory and Dr. Musa Abu Marzouk as Vice-President, and I was chosen as Head of the Movement’s Office In the West Bank, brother Zaher Jabarin was elected as my deputy, and the brothers Husam Badran, Musa Dodin, Fathi Hammad, Salah al-Bardawil, Muhammad Nazzal, Izzat al-Rishq, and other brothers who do not wish to announce their names.

  • Many believe that the most effective and influential arena in the Israeli occupation is the West Bank, not Gaza, due to the close friction with settlers and soldiers of the occupation at many points. What weakens the movement and resistance in the West Bank?

    Are there prospects for activating the resistance and strengthening its role in the confrontation with the occupation?

The reasons for the effectiveness of the resistance against the occupation are present in Gaza, the West Bank, the 1948 territories, Jerusalem and abroad. As for the West Bank, there is a military occupation and settlement, like cancer, expanding in the land and expropriating the land from the people. Our horizon continues to fight until we uproot the occupation.

The penetration of the occupation into the West Bank, along with the settlements, the military presence, and the modern technical means poses challenges to the resistance’s work, then there is the siege. The West Bank is closed from all sides, surrounded by the occupation on 3 sides, north, west and south. And this constitutes a real big challenge, yet our people rise every time from the ashes and lead massive uprisings that push the occupation back, so the resistance and uprisings will continue in the future. For the resistance and chanting for it, and within 10 days they presented 32 martyrs and hundreds of wounded.

There is an equation in the West Bank that must be broken, which is the attachment to the illusions of a settlement and a political solution, and the consequent security coordination, cooperation and limitation of the capabilities of our people.

US President Joe Biden met with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett yesterday, and the Palestinian issue was completely marginal, while the main issue was the issue of Iran.

Al-Arouri: We negotiate for reconciliation, national consensus and elections, but our resistance program is not affected by anything (Al-Jazeera)

  • What is new in the course of holding elections in the Palestinian territories after President Mahmoud Abbas canceled them?

    And what are your options to push him towards conducting it in light of the occupation’s refusal to conduct it in Jerusalem?

Mr. Abu Mazen decided to withdraw from the elections after we agreed on them, and took the issue of Jerusalem as a pretext under the slogan “There are no elections without Jerusalem. We say there are no elections and no solution without Jerusalem. But why do we fight battles in Al-Aqsa Mosque, Bab Al-Amud and Sheikh Jarrah? Then we want the occupation’s permission to conduct Elections.. We can hold elections in the heart of Jerusalem and despite the occupation, let a battle take place and the occupation attack our people as they exercise their democratic right.

We are in dialogue for the sake of reconciliation, national consensus, and elections, but our resistance program is not affected by anything, because we believe that it is the bridge of salvation for our people. We know that regional and international forces came to Ramallah and pressured not to hold elections, and they clearly said that holding the elections would be a suicide operation, and that Hamas She will win, so we are not optimistic about holding elections anytime soon.

  • There are news about a two-stage prisoner exchange agreement with the Israeli government.. How true are these reports?

    And when will we witness a final exchange deal?

    What is the lowest ceiling you have in any upcoming deal?

At the end of the Seif al-Quds battle, the occupation tried to make the issue of prisoners a part of the cease-fire and the lifting of the siege on Gaza. We rejected this matter, on the grounds that the issue of the exchange deal is not linked to anything else. They are still presenting these ideas until now, but our position is clear that The subject of prisoners is a path alone.

We insist on completing a deal that includes detainees for long periods, high sentences, women, children, the sick, the elderly, and the bodies of martyrs, but the details regarding numbers and names are left to negotiations. The occupying side made significant progress;

So the conversations are still idling.

  • The movement's leader, Ismail Haniyeh, visited for the first time the Kingdom of Jordan to attend Ibrahim Ghosheh's funeral. What does this mean regarding the relationship with Jordan?

We in Hamas are very keen on developing a positive relationship with Jordan, because the ties between Jordan and Palestine are very great.

As you know, the right, which represents the overwhelming majority in Israeli society, has not changed its proposition that the solution to the Palestinian issue is a state in Jordan, and we have a clear position that there is no solution at the expense of Jordan or any Arab country, because Palestine is our right and not Jordan, the other thing is that it is not We have no feelings or problems with the Jordanian supervision of the holy sites in Jerusalem. What matters to us is to uproot the occupation from the holy sites.

At the time when the engineer Ibrahim Ghosheh, one of the movement’s first symbols and leaders, died, the brothers requested permission to attend his funeral, and the Jordanian state gave permission to attend the funeral, and the visit was for a day and then was extended, but there is no political program and no official meetings were held.

Saleh Al-Arawi: We have a clear position that there is no solution at the expense of Jordan or any Arab country (Al-Jazeera)

  • Recently, there were statements from leaders in the movement about their willingness to restore the relationship with the Syrian regime. Are there any serious steps in this direction?

    What about the sharp criticism on social media about the idea of ​​returning to the relationship with the Syrian regime?

There is now no relationship with the regime in Syria, and there is no development, movement or contacts in this regard.

Our well-known position is that we do not interfere in the conflicts that take place within the Arab countries or between the Arab countries, because it is not in the interest to get involved in these conflicts and let the occupation live in peace. It is better for us to remain dedicated to fighting the occupation.

  • How do you view the recent change in Iran, after the victory of Raisi, who is close to the Revolutionary Guards, and the executive and legislative institutions were harmoniously aligned in one political and ideological line?

    And how do you see the future of the relationship with Iran during the next four years?

The strategic directions of Iran in its internal and external policies are stable, and the change in administrations through the election of presidents, reformist or conservative, does not constitute a departure from the line of the revolution and the republic in Iran, but it is the jurisprudence within the system.

The new system is more in line with our concepts of resistance, compared to the previous system represented by the presidency. Our relationship with Iran has remained good and excellent, and in the next stage we expect it to be more solid.

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