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Hamas leader lists priorities for the movement

The head of the Political Bureau of the Islamic Resistance Movement has listed seven strategic priorities for the years ahead. The list revealed by Khaled Meshaal included more openness in the international community.

During the weekly programme presented on Al-Jazeera Arabic TV by Ahmed Mansour, the Hamas leader said that the top priority is promoting Palestinian resistance to Israel's occupation within the borders of historic Palestine.

"This is entirely natural for an occupied nation," said Meshaal. "The resistance in Gaza is satisfactory, but it has been weakened recently in the West Bank." Although he pointed out that resistance is needed "by all means and in all directions" he insisted that it should be limited to the land of Palestine.


The second priority, Meshaal noted, is returning Jerusalem back to the priority list and making daily references to the injustices carried out by Israel in the occupied Holy City. "It has been exposed to serious Judaisation and settlement policies," he said.

The liberation of all Palestinian political prisoners is the third priority for Hamas. Mr Meshaal gave a timetable of four years to achieve this.

Although they are currently excluded from the Palestinian decision-making process, Hamas intends to give refugees the opportunity to participate. That is the fourth priority for the movement, followed by the reaffirmation of refugees' right of return, increasing contacts with the Arab and wider international community and Palestinian reconciliation.

On the latter point, the political bureau chief was clear: "Talking about the internal division has become boring and frustrating for our people. However, we stress our desire to end the division." Hamas, he said, is not fighting for authority, but for the rights and unification of the people. He set out three important bases for reconciliation: "Implementing all that was agreed upon in Cairo and Doha as one bundle, launching reconciliation from a resistance mentality based on the aforementioned priorities and giving partnership in the Palestinian political decision-making process."

Stressing that the Palestinian issue is bigger than Fatah and Hamas or any other faction, he called for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian parties and all other elite and independent individuals to meet for reconciliation without preconditions.

When asked about Hamas and the Arab Spring, Meshaal said that the movement will avoid any interference in the internal affairs of any other country while maintaining its support for people struggling for their rights and freedom. With regards to contacts with the international community, Hamas is not keen on links with Western governments which have strong links with the Israeli occupation authorities. "They tend to be arrogant when it comes to the Palestinian issue," he claimed, "so we would rather address ordinary people while monitoring governmental behaviour and attitudes."

Commenting on the latest Arab League proposal about reviving the peace process, which included an agreement to land swaps, Meshaal was adamant that Hamas is against this step. "We are against concessions as a policy; we don't concede any part of Palestinian land."

In closing, Meshaal stressed the non-involvement of Hamas in the affairs of other countries. This was directed at the negative media campaign against the movement in Egypt. He also called for support for Palestinian refugees in Syria whose camps have been subject to continuous attacks bu government forces.

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