The Secretary-General of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, Sheikh Hammam Said, has equated the current flow of solidarity humanitarian convoys to the Gaza Strip with Jewish migration to Palestine early in the 20th century.
Sheikh Said is in Gaza with the Miles of Smiles 13 convoy, which arrived in the beleaguered territory on Sunday. "This convoy to Gaza consists of people from all over the world," he said. "We are proud to be here in part of the holy land liberated from the profanity of Israeli occupation."
According to the sheikh, the combination beteen resistance and government under occupation is difficult, but Hamas has succeeded after the virtual liberation of the Gaza Strip. "In general, Hamas is undergoing a successful experience in Gaza," insisted Sheikh Said. "The Palestinian Authority government of Hamas in Gaza is more successful than the Palestinian Authority which rules the occupied West Bank where there are a lot of management problems and internal politics."
In Gaza, added the sheikh, there is freedom while in the West Bank freedom is nearly lost. "The government's performance in Gaza outperforms many others, and we hope to see it develop even further."
When asked if it is possible to combine government with resistance to Israel's occupation, the Muslim Brotherhood leader replied, "If there is a liberated part of the land, like the situation in Gaza, it is possible. But, under occupation, it is impossible."
The sheikh spoke of his happiness upon arrival in Gaza: "I felt that there is a relationship between me and this blessed land; the relationship that is shared with the hearts of all Muslims." We all, he continued, have a duty to do what we can to liberate the rest of Palestine, "not least, Jerusalem".
He recalled a conference for the liberation of Palestine held in Amman in 1982. Many resistance leaders took part, including Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder of Hamas who was assassinated in his wheelchair by the Israelis in March 2004. A strategic plan for the liberation of Palestine and building mosques was endorsed by the conference; proposals included Qur'an memorisation and recitation, and more effective schools and Islamic education centres for children. The convoys arriving in Gaza are, believes Sheikh Said, signs of the success of efforts in the liberation struggle. "Ever since the First Intifada in 1987," he concluded, "generations have grown up with no objective other than to liberate their homeland."