The head of the Hamas resistance movement’s political bureau has once again condemned the US-brokered deals that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain signed last month to normalize ties with Israel, warning that history will show “no mercy” towards the Arab states that betrayed fellow Palestinians.
In an interview with the Middle East Eye (MEE) news portal published on Monday, Ismail Haniyeh said that the Arab countries that made peace with Israel will be losers as the occupying regime will eventually threaten them.
“The Zionist project is an expansionist project. Its objective is to create a greater Israel. We don’t want to see the Emiratis or the Bahrainis or the Sudanese being used as vehicles for this project. History will show no mercy, the people will not forget, and humanitarian law will not forgive,” he said.
In mid-September, US President Donald Trump presided over the signing of the normalization pacts between Tel Aviv, Abu Dhabi and Manama. During a ceremony at the White House, Trump said “five or six” other countries were close to making similar agreements with Israel, but did not name them.
Reports say Sudan and Oman could be next in line to normalize with Israel.
“We know Israeli leaders better than them. We know how they think. We would like to tell our brothers in the United Arab Emirates that they will lose as a result of those agreements because Israel’s only interest is to seek a military and economic foothold in areas close to Iran,” Haniyeh said.
“They will use your country as a doorstep. We don’t want to see the UAE being used as an Israeli launchpad,” he added.
Breakthrough in Hamas-Fatah reconciliation talks
Elsewhere in his remarks, the Hamas leader reported a breakthrough in reconciliation talks aimed at forming a national unity government with Ramallah-based Palestinian faction Fatah, led by President Mahmoud Abbas.
“We witnessed positive changes on the ground. I do not want to sound over-optimistic and pre-empt events but there are positive things. The challenges are enormous and we are still at the beginning of the road,” he said.
Haniyeh also referred to recent closed-door sessions between Hamas and Fatah, saying, “What we hear from them in closed meetings is that they stress the importance of Hamas taking part, because Hamas has a right to be involved in the day-to-day running of the government.”
Hamas and Fatah are considering running a joint list in Palestinian elections set to take place next year for the first time since the 2006 vote that left Hamas in control of the Gaza Strip, he added.
Oslo Accords ‘failure from day one’
Meanwhile, Haniyeh stressed that Hamas had been vindicated by the collapse of the 1990s Oslo peace process between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel.
“From the day it was announced, Oslo bore the seeds of its own destruction… Oslo was a failure from day one because it was a security agreement, not a political one,” he said.
Oslo died when both its signatories, prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO leader Yasser Arafat, were killed, he noted.
“Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) himself, who engineered Oslo, has announced abandoning Oslo and therefore, yes, we feel vindicated,” Haniyeh said. “We could have saved time had the PA [the Palestinian Authority] recognized early this disaster. Had it been overturned early on, we would have saved our people from the miseries they endured. But better late than never.”
‘Nothing left for Abbas to bet on’
Additionally, the Hamas leader enumerated the factors that had forced Abbas to rethink his approach towards the resistance group and deliver a “positive response to the initiative by Hamas.”
“Firstly, nothing is left for Abu Mazen (Abbas) to bet on. Secondly, Abu Mazen feels personally insulted by the Americans and the Israelis. Thirdly, there was a decision by the Arab League to bypass the PLO and make peace with Israel,” he said.
Last month, the Arab League refused to approve a draft resolution put forth by the Palestinian Authority that would condemn the UAE-Israel normalization deal.
“In other words, the Palestinian Authority was no longer necessary as a bridge for the Israelis to make peace with the Arabs, while at the same time the PA felt abandoned by its Arab brothers, both politically and financially,” he underlined.
Hamas ready for any Israeli war
Moreover, Haniyeh said Hamas was prepared in case of a fresh Israeli attack on Gaza, warning that any future war would be costly for the Tel Aviv regime.
“In six years [since the last major conflict in 2014], Hamas’s capabilities are a lot better and we have surprises for the enemy. So waging war is not an easy decision for Israel. It is going to be costly,” he pointed out.
Touching on the seizure of Palestinian territory by Israeli settlers, Haniyeh said, “The land belonged to us long before them.”
“We are talking about a land engraved in our history, we are talking about Jerusalem (al-Quds), which was the first Qibla [direction in prayers] for Muslims and was the place to which the Prophet Muhammad was taken on a nightly journey [when Muslims believe he ascended to heaven]; we are talking about the Palestinians who belonged to the land long before the Zionists arrived from Europe,” Haniyeh said.
He also expressed the Palestinians’ resolve to liberate their homeland from the Israeli occupation.
“We will never give up our homeland or concede any part of it. We will spare no effort to liberate it, and what we cannot liberate we will leave for future generations to liberate,” he explained.
“Even with Oslo, Israel showed it was not … in pursuit of peace. The nature of the Zionist movement is to promote itself through force. It does not respect human rights or the norms of international law. Might is right for them,” he added.
US policy won’t change
Furthermore, Haniyeh described US President Donald Trump as the worst leader in the American history, adding, however, that Hamas was not holding its breath for a Joe Biden victory in the November election.
“US foreign policy does not change with the change of the President. It’s deeply entrenched in the US deep state. US foreign policy is an institutional, not an individual matter,” he said.