“Pullout beginning of
end of Israel”
New York — Mahmoud Zahar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, said that “the Gaza disengagement would boost morale in the Arab and Muslim world and positively influence the anti-U.S. campaign in Afghanistan and Iraq. We are part of a large global movement called the International Islamic Movement.” (Jerusalem Post, 8/18/05)
Zahar added, “We will continue the struggle until we liberate all our lands. This is an important day for the Palestinians and proof that the armed struggle has borne fruit. Neither the liberation of Gaza nor the liberation of the West Bank will suffice us. Hamas will pursue the armed struggle until the liberation of all our lands. We don’t recognize the State of Israel or its right to hold onto one inch of Palestine. Palestine is our Islamic land belonging to all the Muslims.
“Now after the victory in Gaza, we will transfer the struggle first to the West Bank and later to Jerusalem.”
Another senior Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal, said this marked the beginning of the end of the Zionist dream in Palestine.
Speaking live to a number of major Arab TV stations, Mashaal said the Gaza retreat is “a defeat in the face of Palestinian resistance and a significant step with historic dimensions. The resistance and the steadfastness of our people forced the Zionist to withdraw. The resistance is capable of ending the Israeli occupation and achieving all our rights. The armed struggle is the only strategy that Hamas possesses…As long as Palestinian lands remain under occupation, Hamas won’t lay down its weapons.”
Another alliance of terrorist groups in Gaza, the Popular Resistance Committees, said it was planning to transfer the technology of rocket manufacturing to the West Bank after Israel leaves Gaza. Mohammed Abdel Al, leader of the group, said, “We will make every effort to transfer all forms of resistance to the West Bank because Sharon intends to move his defeated soldiers there…We will transfer two-thirds of our budget to the West Bank. Our rockets have a range of18 kilometers. This means that if we fire them from Kalkilya, they will hit the occupied city of Tal-al-Rabi (Tel Aviv).”
Israeli officials have acknowledged that they have evidence that Hamas is using the recent cease-fire to build up and train its own army in Gaza, preparing for more suicide bombings in Israel while also stockpiling rockets to be fired into Israel from Gaza. (New York Times, 8/18/05)
Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein said, “We are deeply concerned that while there are still Jews in Gaza (all have not left yet), Hamas is already threatening to terrorize Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. And they are also making it clear that this expulsion and retreat has boosted the morale of terrorists murdering Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Yet the response to this by U.S. Sec’y of State Condoleezza Rice, under President Bush, is puzzling and disappointing. Rice has already demanded of Israel that ‘Gaza cannot be the last major concession’ and then insisted Israel take further steps, including loosening travel restrictions in the West Bank and withdrawing from more Palestinian cities.”
“It seems to ZOA that this public pressure on Israel to make more concessions, even before this major one is complete, only plays into the hands of radical Islamic terrorists believing that murder of Americans and Jews and others brings concessions and brings them fast.
“We urge President Bush and Sec’y Rice to stop this appeasement of terrorists.”