Hamas’s Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh was visiting Iran this week to thank the Iranian leaders for their continuing support of the Hamas movement. There, he made some bold statements that Israel would never be recognized by Hamas, and that all Palestinian lands would eventually get liberated from the presence of Israel. These statements came as Haniyeh was on a regular visit in Tehran, and are not that surprising knowing the goals of the organization. But what do these statements mean for the long term peace in the region, especially with the upcoming election, and how will the other nations react?
According to Haniyeh, “they (West) want from us to stop resistance and acknowledge Israel but I herewith announce that this will never happen.” That’s what he said through an interpreter while on his visit in Iran. These are of course the thoughts of many Palestinians, but to hear them once again from the leader of the movement means there is no doubt what their policies would be, should they win the upcoming Palestinian election. While at the ceremony marking the 33rd anniversary of the Iranian revolution, both Haniyeh and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met in private to discuss policies, along with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It’s clear that the statements were aimed at supporters, adding “our message and the message of all those who lost their blood in the Palestinian lands is that all occupied lands will eventually be liberated from Israeli occupation.”
Two years ago, a ground breaking Palestinian election paved the way for future peace, but ended up in violence, like so many things in this region. After a year of fighting, Hamas ended up victorious, but it didn’t change much for the ordinary people living in Gaza. Again, we’re facing yet another upcoming election, and already tensions are high. Hamas will once again face Fatah for control of the Palestinian lands, but neither Israel nor the west recognize the legitimacy of Hamas, seeing them as a terrorist organization, which isn’t helped much when western leaders hear statements like that, basically calling for the eradication of an entire country. While there hasn’t been any direct response from other world leaders as to what Haniyeh said, it’s likely to add fuel to the fire, and make the upcoming elections even harder than they will almost certainly be.
In the end, regardless of whether the statements are public or not, it’s clear what the organization wants, and there’s little doubt that more violence will come, and as usual the ones paying the price are usually the innocent bystanders.