Finally, the document was unveiled yesterday by Hamas’s political office chief Khaled Mashal who is now based in Qatar. It includes 42 articles, with the most important of them being movement’s consent to an interim Palestinian state within pre-1967 boundaries, which include West Bank, Al-Quds (Jerusalem), and Gaza Strip, as well as push for return of the Palestinian refugees to their homes.
Here is an analysis with focus on main elements of the policy document, which are expected to influence the Palestinian movement’s political work in the future:
1. The document still emphasizes the significance of al-Aqsa Mosque and its belonging to the Palestinians, and the Muslim world as a whole. The emphasis makes it clear that the Israeli regime as an occupying force holds no right to claim ownership of the holy place. So the al-Aqsa Mosque appears?to remain the red line of Hamas in the conflict with Tel Aviv.
2. The new policy is actually a redefinition of the conflict with Israeli? regime. It says that Hamas’s struggle is not with the Jews but with the “occupying Zionist aggressors”. The document also defies agreeing on dropping Hamas military wing’s arms, as it asserts that it still does not recognize the Israeli regime as a state. The new policy draws new plans for fighting against the Israeli occupation, largely with taking into consideration the new period and the regional developments. Hamas’s Mashal said they are not seeking war against Tel Aviv but they take steps towards the “freedom” of all of Palestine from occupation and Israeli settlement projects.
3. The new pathway saves the Palestinian movement’s main strategy which is resistance, but overhauls its tactics of striving towards the aims. The analysts suggest that the new policy is a sign of Hamas’s more rational dealing with the political changes in the region, and will particularly lead to presenting a more moderate image of the movement. Perhaps Hamas’s softened stances will, to a large extent, be closer to its rival Fatah movement.
4. Hamas insists that it still keeps its principal image, despite some analyses noting that the resistance movement has changed its face: a patriotic and liberationist movement with its Islamic identity. Most importantly, it is assertive in saying that it holds no bonds with the Muslim Brotherhood, which is banned in Egypt and other Arab states, and that it has never been an affiliate of the organization’s international body. Separating ways from the Muslim Brotherhood is a sign displaying Hamas’s willingness to get closer to regional countries such as Egypt that perceive brotherhood as its main enemy. Also the new strategy helps the movement put an end to the divides with the other Palestinian groups, particularly with Fatah, and build grounds for national?reconciliation.
5. Unveiling the fresh policy ?document signals that Hamas is disappointed with any effective measures towards liberation of Palestinian territories by the Arab and non-Arab sides. It regards them as submitting to the US, and non-Arab states take a single step in favor of the Palestinian cause. Hamas now finds it unavoidable to struggle for liberation of the occupied Palestinian territories in accordance with the road map drawn by the new policy.
6. While some sides promoted the notion that the new policy document means a crucial shift in strategy and abandonment of resistance as an efficient anti-occupation way, Hamas in the first article identifies itself as a liberationist, resistant, patriotic, and Islamic movement with the top goal of “Palestine freedom” and fighting the “Zionist project.” This is an apparent rejection of all speculations on Hamas’s stance easing.
But it is still unclear why Hamas wrote the new document. It could be for garnering bigger regional and international backing, or simply it is a road map in which the movement’s liberating tactics undergo some modification.
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