GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — While a draft version of Hamas’ new charter which leaked on Sunday evening raised questions over whether the movement would explicitly accept a Palestinian state along pre-1967 borders, the document will make clear that “our rivalry is with the occupation who occupied our land,” Hamas official Ahmad Yousif told Ma’an on Sunday.
The text of the new agenda — which is to revise the Hamas charter for the first time since it was declared in 1988 — was leaked by Lebanese news site Al-Mayadeen.
Shortly after it was leaked, Yousif confirmed to Al-Mayadeen that the document was indeed Hamas’ new charter, which would officially be released in the coming days.
While Point 19 of the charter mentions “the creation of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state along June 4, 1967 lines, with the return of refugees and displaced persons to their homes,” the document does not explicitly accept a Palestinian state based on the borders, and goes on to reject “any alternative to the liberation of Palestine completely from its sea to its river,” referring to the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.
The section also states that Hamas “will not relinquish any part of the land of Palestine, no matter what the reasons, circumstances, and pressures could be, and no matter how long occupation may continue."
Yousif explained in an interview with Al-Mayadeen that "Hamas accepted an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders as a matter of preserving Palestinian consensus,” however stressing that Hamas would maintain their right to armed resistance — a point reiterated multiple times in the draft charter.
Yousif confirmed to Ma’an on Sunday evening that the new charter continues to “legitimize all types of resistance and struggle against occupation.”
Contrary to reports in Israeli media, the new charter will not officially recognize a state of Israel, Yousif said. “The charter does not recognize the Israeli occupation or breach our irrecoverable principles.”
Palestine, according to the Hamas’ definition, “is one inseparable region and is the homeland of the Palestinian people.”
“The fact that the Palestinian people were expelled from their land and displaced through the creation of the Zionist entity does not annul the Palestinian people’s right to all of their land, nor does that establish a legitimate right for the usurper Zionist entity to have this land,” the charter asserts.
Meanwhile, the charter will also notably differentiate between “the Jews as a People of the Book and as followers of a religion on one hand, and the occupation and the Zionist project on the other hand,” affirming that “Hamas does not view the conflict with the Zionist project as a conflict with the Jews because of their religion."
“Our rivalry is with the occupation who occupied our land," Yousif affirmed.
He said that a number of amendments were made to the charter “in response to criticism of Hamas over anti-Semitism, racism, and other issues viewed as violations under international law."
He also stressed that the documented was prepared “as a reaction to ongoing Israeli aggression and the confrontations between the occupation and the stone children," referring to Palestinian children who throw stones at Israeli forces as a form of resistance and face up to 20 years in military prison for the act.
The new Hamas’ charter applauds “Western entities,” as well as Arab and Muslim countries, who show solidarity with the Palestinian people, Yousif said, adding that the he expects Hamas will be regarded in a more positive light by “several countries, especially in Europe,” after the charter is officially released.
The new charter also “includes a positive attitude toward the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and considers it as a national umbrella for all the Palestinian people.”
Point 27 of the leaked text defines the PLO as the “national framework for the Palestinian people inside Palestine and abroad.”
However, the charter calls for the redevelopment and restructuring of the PLO, based on democratic principles, in order to “guarantee the participation of all” Palestinians, “in a way that preserves Palestinian rights."