From: Michael Wilson (MWILSON/0005514706at_private)
Date: Thu Jan 08 1998 - 10:57:21 PST

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    From: mer-Lat_private
    Newsgroups: soc.culture.palestine
    Subject: Hamas and Sheik Yasin - Growing Importance
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                                               HAMAS AND SHEIK YASIN:
                                             STILL GROWING IMPORTANCE
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    MER - Washington - 5 January:
       MER's Middle East Man of the Year has yet to be announced,
    and it is not Sheik Ahmed Yasin, the founder and spiritual
    leader of Hamas.
       But Sheik Yasin's release from Israeli prison and his
    enthusiastic reception from the Hashemite Throne, to Yasser
    Arafat, to the streets of teaming Gaza was a unique event
    last year making Yasin a strong candidate.  
       And many may have forgotten a few other things about Hamas.
    Sheik Yassin's release by the Israelis was preceeded earlier
    in the year by the release from a New York prison of the
    political head of Hamas, Musa Abu Marzook.  At the last minute
    the Israeli's backed off from extradicting Abu Marzook to 
    Israel.  Simply put, the Israelis fear Hamas, far more than
    they do Arafat.
       And it should also be remembered that it was just two years 
    ago this month that the Israelis used their technological
    wizardry (a cell-phone bomb) to assassinate Yehya Ayyash, "The 
    Engineer", in Gaza.  They succeeded, but in the process then 
    Prime Minister Shimon Peres set off a chain of events that 
    resulted in suicide bus bombings, the latest war in southern 
    Lebanon, the Qana U.N.-base massacre, and then his own 
    electoral defeat.
       The Oslo agreement was "born dead", and the war with Israel 
    will continue Sheikh Yasin outlines in this interview.  He is 
    more subtle in discussing the Hamas/Arafat divide; even though 
    Palestinian civil war remains a very real possibility and is 
    among the central Israeli goals.  
       The Hamas/Arafat conflict is in fact at the center of
    the Israeli/Arafat connection and among the main reasons it
    began in the first place.  Clearly Arafat has many more guns 
    and much more money; and he is receiving ever-growing help 
    from many sources including the CIA, the Mossad, as well as 
    Egyptian and Jordanian intelligence, in order to "control" 
       But Hamas appears to have many resources of its own, most 
    importantly a dedicated and growing following among large 
    and growing numbers of Palestinians.  Much is underground of
    course; and that's also among Hamas's greatest assets.
       This limited but nevertheless interesting interview with 
    Sheik Yasin was conducted among supporters in Gaza and
    published by Palestine Times, a publication known for close
    Hamas connections.
                    S H E I K H    A H M E D   Y A S I N  
                      Interviewed by Abdel Ghani Shami
    Q. What is your comment on the current developments in the Palestinian
    A. What is going on in the Palestinian arena is the inevitable result of
    the Oslo Accords. These Accords were mysterious and gave the Israelis an
    opportunity to explain their provisions in a way that serves the
    interests of the Israelis and in accordance with their power. Therefore,
    the settlements continued and the Israeli government turned its back to 
    the world and did not honour the agreements it signed publicly. In 
    addition, Israel continued the closures, which made the Palestinian 
    People prisoners in a mass prison. 
    Because the Palestinian Authority vowed in the Oslo Accords to fight
    "terrorism", which means fighting anyone resisting the Israeli
    Occupation, the PLO turned from a basic enemy to Israel to an advocate 
    in Israel's favour, although the Israeli government has not fulfilled 
    the provisions of the Oslo Accords. Therefore, the PLO lost all their 
    cards in confronting the Israelis who are known for not keeping their 
    promises and pledges. The fact is that the PA punishes the Palestinian 
    People and Hamas collectively, a thing which we strongly reject. Those 
    who are arrested did not commit any crime. They are held only for their 
    political affiliations. 
    Q. If the Israeli-PLO negotiations failed, what would be your
    A. The Oslo Accords were born dead. Therefore, we still believe that the
    resistance of the occupation through the use of Jihad is the method that
    the Palestinian People should adopt. The present negotiations are a
    "waste" of time and deceive the whole world as they project Israel as a
    country that seeks peace even though it is piling up nuclear and
    chemical weapons to launch new wars against the Arab and Islamic Nation. 
    Q. Do you support the freezing of the armed operations against Israel? 
    A. I said that the resistance should continue as long as there is an
    occupation.  But the Mujahideen can choose the appropriate time for
    their operations.  This means that the freezing of the military 
    activities against the Israeli Occupation should not be mentioned 
    under the circumstances of our people in the Occupied Territories and 
    in the Diaspora. 
    Q. How can the national unity be reinforced? And how do you assess your
    participation in the National Dialogue? 
    A. We are one people with one language and the majority of us embrace
    one religion. We all stand in one trench against one enemy that does not
    differentiate between a Palestinian and another. All Palestinians are
    targeted by the Israeli enemy. We also have one goal, which is to
    liberate the Palestinian territories and to repatriate the Palestinian 
    People in Diaspora to their homeland. We should make these facts the 
    basis for the unification of our ranks against the Israeli conspiracies 
    that aim to sow the seeds of dispute among us. 
    As for our participation in the National Dialogue, it is continuous. But
    we hope that this dialogue is not ceremonial but real in order to
    protect the freedom of the Palestinian people and their right to their 
    Q. What is the position of Hamas concerning the current circumstances? 
    A. Hamas has a firm stand. It insists on continuing its Jihad against
    the occupation. It is willing to sacrifice until the occupation is 
    removed and the Palestinian State is established on the whole
    soil with Jerusalem as its capital. Hamas rejects the accords "Oslo" 
    produced, which the international observers believe to be dead. 
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