Sheikh Ahmad Yassin: Hamas may stop attacks if Israel withdraws from Gaza Strip
Ahmad Yassin, founder and spiritual leader of the Islamic resistance movement Hamas, said Thursday that his movement could halt attacks against Israel if it withdraws from the Gaza Strip.
"If the Zionist entity completely evacuates the Gaza Strip, we can start a new phase of calmness in order to discuss the issues of Jerusalem, the West Bank, the prisoners and the refugees," he told one of Hamas websites.
Yassin, however, asserted the Israeli pullout from the Strip should be a complete evacuation of all the Jewish settlements and military bases, adding his movement's intention to halt attacks depends on the extent of Israel's withdrawal.
He said his movement would not remain silent regarding the occupation of the West Bank and would keep resisting as long as the occupation lasts.
"The occupation forces are evacuating the Gaza Strip because they were defeated, and we believe the enemy wants no peace but some concessions from Palestinian factions, especially Hamas, in return for its pullout," Yassin said.
He added that Israel had repeatedly failed to liquidate Hamas.
Asked if Hamas would participate in the Palestinian National Authority's institutions in the post-evacuation phase, he said, "We are now in a phase of resistance. If Palestinians are really freed from occupation, we can participate in it; if not, the honor that we are currently formulating would define the phase."
He warned that the Israelis would be "the most affected" in light of precent press reports about an Israeli plan to launch a widespread incursion into the Gaza Strip.
"The Zionists cannot perpetrate an incursion in the Gaza Strip because it knows the strong resistance it would have to face," Yassin said. "the Zionists would lose a lot from such an operation." (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)