Alwaght- Hamas’s envoy to Iran Khaled al-Ghadoumi gave an interview to Alwaght news and analysis website, covering a series of topics including effects of electing Yahya al-Sinwar on movement’s foreign and internal issues particularly its confrontation with Israeli regime and relations with regional countries, relations with Syria and Iran, and the future in the shadow of American developments. Following is the full text of Mr. al-Ghadoumi's interview.
Alwaght: Tell us about Mr al-Sinwar election as leader of Hamas?
Al-Ghadoumi: Election is a routine process happening every four years but fussing about Mr. al-Sinwar's election is unfortunately a Zionist propaganda with negative and provocative ends.
He is a strong man and won his fellows' trust. This is not first time he works in politics. He founded the Hamas’s Majd security force in 1980s. He also did the political work in the Israeli jails, and when he was freed he was tasked with the captives' case.
Alwaght: What message did Mr. al-Sinwar's election send to Tel Aviv?
Al-Ghadoumi: If we want to extract a message, we can say Hamas is an independent movement. It is democratic because it internally consults. We want to say Hamas is shared between people from all sides, captives, politicians, and military people. All sides participate in election of the movement’s leaders.
Alwaght: What are consequences of al-Sinwar’s election on Hamas’s future and its regional positions? Will we see changes?
Al-Ghadoumi: Well, certainly there will be progresses. Al-Sinwar believes in the Arab unity as he believes the Palestinian cause is a Muslim cause. He thinks Muslim world’s unity is the best solution to provide settlement for the Palestinian cause. So we will move ahead, toward Palestine’s liberation.
Moreover, Israeli regime tested him for 24 years and it knows well his strength. Palestinians and also Muslim world are assured that al-Sinwar is a resistant and patriotic man. He can shoulder the responsibility of this position perfectly.
Alwaght: Does Mr. al-Sinwar or Hamas have plans to counter the extremist movements in Palestine?
Al-Ghadoumi: Hamas has a share in the overall Palestinian policies. Its inclinations as a movement will be adopted on the ground in relation to the radical groups. Extremism is something odd to our Palestinian people. Openness and dialogue is ordinary in our society. These radical groups pressed a military escalation against us, but Hamas leaders' wisdom pushed it to talk with them instead of military confrontation. Therefore, we address the issue through negotiations, and the new election will instill this spirit.
Alwaght: Hamas involvement in Syrian crisis led to severed ties with Syria. Are there any plans for a thaw?
Al-Ghadoumi: We didn’t get engaged in Syrian crisis. We have had no idea to shift the confrontation from the Israeli regime and intervene in any Islamic and Arab issues. This is a red line for us. Hamas chose to remain neutral. At the same time, there are no plans of any rapprochement. The time is so difficult now and there is no room to negotiate the issue.
Alwaght: Some Hamas members support renewed ties with Syria. How do you see that?
Al-Ghadoumi: This is not right. There is real contradiction between the Hamas officials and the media reports. We are open but we need to be realistic. This is not the idea now because the situation is tense.
Alwaght: How do you assess Hamas-Iran ties?
Al-Ghadoumi: In relations with Iran we focus on essential principles. The key Palestinian issue underpins firm ties with Iran. Since the beginning, we built our ties on two issues: first, supporting Palestine that suffers from Israeli oppression and second, confrontation with Zionist regime whose dangers are not limited to Palestine but stretch to other Arab and Muslim nations through interventions. We had good meetings last year and this year and we hold strong relations with Iran as a key actor.
Alwaght: Do Hamas leaders have plan to visit Tehran any time soon?
Al-Ghadoumi: Our delegation will visit Tehran for Conference on Supporting Palestinian Intifada. This will be part of policy to boost ties with Tehran.
Alwaght: What’s your idea about Trump who opened presidency with pledge to relocate US embassy from Tel Aviv to al-Quds [Jerusalem]?
Al-Ghadoumi: Trump started presidency with a kind of anxiety. His rhetoric before election was different from that of him after election. The certainty of relocation changed to studying it, and we don’t think that will happen. But we say the American embassy is now located on a piece of our land and by doing so the US is noticeably biased toward supporting the Zionist regime. The different American administrations have always sent us messages through their actions. This is not new. What’s new is the extremism of the new administration that accuses Palestinian of radicalism.
Alwaght: What’s your reaction in case of embassy relocation?
Al-Ghadoumi: We keep our options open. We ask the Palestinian authority to take serious steps against this decision and reject the pro-Israeli policies.
Alwaght: What’s behind US insistence on embassy relocation?
Al-Ghadoumi: The Zionist regime claims that al-Quds is its capital and doesn’t want embassies be out of the capital. But doing so will break out confrontation between them and us.
Alwaght: What’s Hamas’s response in case of an escalation against al-Quds and Palestine as a whole?
Al-Ghadoumi: Up to now, the Zionist regime hasn’t stopped its hostilities. Any further aggression will be faced with a counter response. The Zionist regime knows that well.
Alwaght: How do you assess Hamas-Hezbollah relations? Any plans for boost of them?
Al-Ghadoumi: Relations with Hezbollah are good and ongoing and revolve around confronting the Zionist regime. We share the resistance ideal. The ties with Hezbollah are already boosted and there are regular meetings.