By Mohammad Mazhari

Recent escalation in Palestine has opened a wide door for a new intifada: senior Hamas official

May 17, 2021 - 23:4

TEHRAN - A former senior Palestinian official says the recent developments in Jerusalem and other areas in Palestine have created an opportunity for a new uprising (intifada).

"The recent escalation opened a wide door in front of the Palestinian people for a new ‘intifada’ to be unified behind their resistance to restore their rights," Basem Naim, the former Palestinian health minister, tells the Tehran Times. 

Tension in East Jerusalem has been escalating in recent weeks, centering on the Sheikh Jarrah and the Old City areas. Between May 7 and 10 alone, 1,000 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces, 735 of these due to rubber bullets.

Widespread clashes erupted in East Jerusalem, particularly in the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Damascus Gate area. A heavy Israeli security presence and large numbers of worshippers contributed to the tensions. On May 10, 657 Palestinians were injured, mostly in the upper bodies, with at least one Palestinian losing his eye. According to Israeli media and Israeli police reports, 32 Israeli officers were reportedly injured on May 10, of which 21 were in the Al Aqsa compound.

Some political observers believe that public anger against the Israeli regime is widespread inside and outside of the occupied territories. 

"For the first time in decades, we see that the Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Arabs of 1948 territory are rising up against the occupation, aggression and injustice inflicted on them, in an effort to support of their sanctities, especially the Al-Aqsa Mosque," emphasizes Naim, member of the International Relations Office of the Hamas movement.

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: How do you describe the recent developments in Palestine?
A: On the one hand, the recent developments in Palestine and the Al-Aqsa Mosque are very dangerous that signaled the beginning of a new Zionist offensive against the Palestinians and Islamic sanctities, especially the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The Zionists were planning to take advantage of recent problems in the Muslim world and preoccupation of Arabs and Muslims with their wars and internal differences, as well as the preoccupation of the international community with other issues, whether the negative developments between the United States and China or the dispute between America and Russia. These developments signal the beginning of a new Zionist attack against the Palestinians and Islamic sanctities, first and foremost of which is Al-Aqsa Mosque.

On the other hand, the recent escalation opened a wide door in front of the Palestinian people for a new "intifada" (uprising) to be unified behind their resistance to restore their rights.

For the first time in decades, we see that the Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Arabs of 1948 territory are rising up against the occupation, aggression and injustice inflicted on them in an effort to support their sanctities, especially the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The Zionists did not expect this reaction, especially since the circumstances were not proper for the Palestinians to rise up with this force and with this violence.


Q: Given the reaction of the Lebanese and Jordanian public to the events in Palestine, do you expect a new "intifada"?
A: Up to now, except for some of the movements that we have seen in Lebanon and Jordan, Arab reactions, whether at the official level or the popular level, are still weak or much less than expected.

If we compare today's events with the events of the "intifada" in the year 2000 or the uprising of 1987, we would see Arab and Muslim capitals rose up and bring hundreds of people out to the streets in support of Jerusalem and Palestine.

Unfortunately, today the reactions are very weak, but our hope in the Islamic Ummah is great, especially in these difficult circumstances that the Ummah is going through as a result of the severe differences between Muslim countries, as well as the recent normalization campaign and the attempt of some Arab states to divert the compass from the Zionist enemy towards secondary and marginal issues.

 Our hope is in the Palestinian people, their steadfastness and their sacrifices that encourage the Arab and Islamic public to support Jerusalem and the Islamic sanctities, especially the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which does not belong to the Palestinians only but is for all Arabs and Muslims.

We certainly offer from here a great greeting to the Jordanian and Lebanese people for their supportive move and the great interaction with our people's uprising in Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied territories. What we saw these days with pictures and videos, when people bravely advanced towards the borders, signals more help from Islamic Ummah to support Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa Mosque and Palestine.


Q: What is the impact of the Abraham Accords on the peace process in West Asia? Has America succeeded to achieve any progress in terms of regional peace?
A: These accords are dangerous and shameful, but I believe that the Palestinian people, with their uprisings (the Al-Aqsa, Jerusalem and Sheikh Jarrah intifada), their valiant resistance, their sacrifices, and the great achievements they made against the enemy within a few days have revoked these agreements and wiped out all the shame and embarrassment that these agreements have created.

 We expect that these agreements will go down in history. They will have no effect as long as our people are alive and capable of sacrifice and as long as the Islamic Ummah supports the Palestinian people and stands behind them.

As for America, it has not achieved any progress through normalization accords. The biggest beneficiary is the Zionist enemy, and the most affected are our Arab and Islamic countries and peoples. It is Arab security and the future of the Ummah that has been greatly affected by such agreements. These accords expose our people, our nation and our region to danger by allowing the Zionist enemy to expand in the region and control its capabilities and future. Therefore, I believe that this uprising will contribute greatly to abrogating these agreements and throwing them down in history.

“We expect that these agreements (Abraham Accords) will go down in history. They will have no effect as long as our people are alive and capable of sacrifice and as long as the Islamic Ummah supports the Palestinian people and stands behind them.”


Q: What is the message of the popular moves to Arab governments, especially regimes that have normalized ties with Israel?
A: The messages of the people's moves when they come out into the streets are clear and strong that these peoples are no longer able to tolerate the silence of the Arab regimes on this continuous aggression against the Palestinian people and Islamic sanctities.

Therefore, they warn that the public anger may explode at any moment if they do not see a strong movement commensurate with the scale of the crime committed by the Zionist enemy against Jerusalem and the Palestinian people.


Q: According to some opinion polls, the Zionist settlers want to expel the Arabs from the land of Palestine. What is your comment on that?
A: The idea of displacing the Palestinians from their lands has not been revealed by the opinion polls. These plans are announced and work has been underway for more than seventy years, that is, at the end of the nineteenth century.

 The Israeli regime began to expel the Palestinian people from the land of Palestine, repeating the slogan, "Palestine is a land without a people, for a people without a land." 

But our people, with their steadfastness, solidity, and sickness to their land, as well as their continuous resistance and their willingness to sacrifice and provide hundreds of thousands of martyrs, who sacrificed for the sake of Palestine, prove that these plans will not pass and that this regime is temporary.

At the end of the day, the Palestinian people will certainly fulfill their dream to put an end to the occupation through establishing its independent state while its capital is Jerusalem.

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