We have spoken to one of Hamas’ executives, a member of the organization’s International Office, and the President of the Council on International Relations (CFR) in Gaza, Dr. Basem Naim, about the elections in Palestine, Turkish-Israeli relations, a possible cooperation between Turkey and Palestine in the Eastern Mediterranean and the situation of the region in general.
Basem Naim considered the Israeli demand for Turkey to expel all Hamas executives in order to achieve normalization as a form of blackmailing, given that Tel Aviv is still saying that they are ready for a cooperation with Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Naim also stated that terrorist organizations that operate in the North of Syria, such as the PKK/YPG, are acting in parallel with the Israeli plans in the region.
President Mahmoud Abbas has announced elections in Palestine after almost 14 years. What will be the strategy of Hamas for the elections? Do you think a reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah is possible?
Hamas believes in democracy and in elections as a tool to reflect the will of the people, their right to choose their leadership and political program.
Hamas is not only in the public supporting, encouraging and facilitating any political steps, it is also practicing the democratic process inside the movement.
Now, Hamas is running its internal elections to choose a new leadership in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and the diaspora.
Therefore, participation in the elections, supporting and facilitating this process, is part of our political beliefs.
When it comes to Palestinian public elections and the announcement of presidential decrees, we hope that these presidential decrees would be the final step of all long process of reconciliation at the end of Palestinian-to-Palestinian dialogue to achieve unity and end division.
But unfortunately, we have failed to achieve this by dialogue.
We met in different capitals in Cairo, in Istanbul, in Doha, in Moscow… but we have failed to reach a reconciliation through dialogue.
Despite our failure to reach unity through dialogue, we consider the announcement of the elections a step in the right direction.
We cannot say today that we have all obstacles and all challenges behind us: we have to overcome a lot of obstacles and challenges ahead of the upcoming elections.
Part of this challenge regards the elections in Jerusalem, the position and stance of the international community towards the elections… How much are they ready to respect and accept the results and to be sure that the process will be run in a fair and transparent atmosphere?
The Israeli side is asking Turkey to halt its support to Hamas as a condition for normalization between Turkey and Israel. How do you evaluate this demand from Israel?
Some of Hamas’ leaders are based in Turkey, they arrived there after a prisoner deal in 2011.
The leadership of Hamas is seriously aware of the limitations, rules, regulations and Turkish laws. They know where they are living and they are respecting this fully and trying to avoid creating any trouble for Turkey.
On the other side, the Israeli requests are kind of like blackmail. It is not a reflection of reality, but rather the need of the Israelis to raise the price for a normalization of the relationship between Turkey and Israel.
Israel knows that no militant activities are run by Hamas in Turkey against Israel.
Therefore, Hamas is condemning the request. We consider it blackmail.
Israel is the last one to talk about terrorism, aggression and racism. What they are doing 24 hours and 7 days of the week against the Palestinians in the West Bank, confiscating the land, demolishing the houses, arresting the people, including children and women and besieging two million in Gaza Strip, is the real terrorism according to international law.
I want to add that Hamas appreciates the great efforts of Turkey and its historical support for the Palestinian cause regardless of who is leading the Palestine, be it Fatah or Hamas or anyone else.
Hamas appreciates the strong commitment of Turkey in general, its public, its president, and its government, to the Palestinian cause.
Great efforts have been made by Turkish NGOs to help our people to face a lot of difficulties on the ground in the West Bank, in Jerusalem and in the Gaza Strip.
Hopefully we can receive all of our Turkish sisters and brothers safely, in an independent Palestine.
Turkey, Russia and Iran are cooperating to find solutions for different crises in the region, for example, in Syria. Do you think that Turkish-Russian-Iranian initiative could play a positive role for the Palestinian struggle?
Sure, any cooperation in the region and ending these futile, nonsense wars and disputes between the different countries is in the favor of Palestinian cause and against the Israeli trials to penetrate these countries and the region to continue to implement their evil plans against the Muslims.
Therefore, we are always happy to see the countries in the region cooperating. We are encouraging any steps of unity or cooperation. We are ready to help.
According to the international law, Palestine has rights to Mediterranean gas resources via Gaza. Turkey is also active in the adjacent region. Do you think a cooperation between Turkey and Palestine is possible on this subject?
Yes, sure… Our natural resources, not just in the sea but also in the ground and in the air are being stolen by the Israeli occupation. Part of these resources is the gas in the Mediterranean Sea.
Therefore, we are looking for any cooperation or support with the countries of the region and firstly from Turkey to get our rights in gas and other resources and to achieve our independence and sovereignty materially.
How do you evaluate the recent events in Syria, especially Israel’s continuous attacks, the US embargo and the US occupation force in the northeast of the country? Are we witnessing US-Israeli pressure for a second Israel under the label of Autonomous Kurdistan?
Yes, we are following seriously the Israeli attacks and aggression against neighboring countries, Syria and Lebanon in particular.
Hamas consider this Israeli aggression as a major violation of international law and state terrorism. We condemn all these attacks, and we see it as a part of Israel’s plan to destroy any chance of the countries of the region to stand up and to counter the Zionist plans in the region.
We do not exclude that one of the aims or the goals of these attacks is to strengthen some of Kurdish groups to establish an independent Kurdish State in North of Syria as part of Israeli plans to fragment the region and to encourage wars between different ethnic groups. We hope that all Muslims come to an understanding that all of these internal or interstate wars are futile and disastrous. They serve only the Zionist plot in the region and waste our time, resources and our lives while serving the enemies of our people.