In an apparent move to ease tensions in Gaza with a gesture toward unity in the Palestinian liberation movement and efforts to garner support from Gulf Arab states and Egypt, Hamas released a new charter Monday that takes a softer stance on negotiations with Israel while still backing the right of oppressed peoples to wage armed resistance.
The new statement accepts a future Palestinian state based on 1967 borders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, a longstanding goal of its main political rival within the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the Fatah movement, led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
While it continues to refuse to recognize the apartheid state of Israel, it has distinguished between the group’s objection to Zionism rather than Jewish people.
It will also cut off its association with the Muslim Brotherhood, as Gulf Arab states and Egypt both label the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.
“For Hamas … it’s a signal of their desire to align with conservative Sunni elements in the region and create some immunity,” Beverley Milton-Edwards, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Centre and author of a book on Hamas, told Reuters.
Israeli authorities, however, rebuked the news, highlighting that while the PLO’s more radical wing is willing to take steps toward peace, Israel continues to insist on maintaining a hostile stance toward the occupied territories and a potential peace process.
“Hamas is attempting to fool the world but it will not succeed,” said David Keyes, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The rift between Hamas and the PA began when Hamas wrested control of the Gaza Strip from the Palestinian Authority in 2007.
However, in January under a Russia-brokered deal, Fatah and Hamas formed a national unity government. The non-official Russian-mediated talks in Moscow began with the goal of restoring “the unity of the Palestinian people.” Representatives from Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other factions were present at the meetings.
The first article of the new charter states that Hamas is a “Palestinian Islamic national liberation and resistance movement” that champions the fight to “liberate Palestine and confront the Zionist project.”
Live Updates: Workers March Across the World for May Day
In 1886, workers took to the streets across the United States to protest poor and unfair working conditions. International Workers’ Day came about after the Haymarket massacre in Chicago, where workers striking for a shorter work week were met with lethal repression.
Since then, most of the world marks May 1 as a day for workers to take to the streets to mark gains and also make demands. From Melbourne to Havana, London to Santiago, Kinshasa to Los Angeles, protesters will be marching in force.
Dialogue Not Interference, Says Ralph Gonsalves on Venezuela
In an exclusive interview with teleSUR, Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of San Vicente and Grenadines, threw his support behind the government in neighboring Venezuela and slamming the approach of the Organization of American States, or OAS.
“According to the international law and the treaty with which the OAS was established, there are no conditions in Venezuela that demand interference,” said the Caribbean head of state and leader of the Unity Labour Party.
“There’s no mayhem or a humanitarian crisis of an extraordinary kind that justifies any international intervention.”
Gonsalves said opponents of Venezuela’s government have a right to protest, but must also comply with law and the rules of democracy.
“The most important demonstration is that takes place in the secret ballot and those protesters can protest within the law, you can’t break the law, that is elementary,” he added. “From the time, the Bolivarian republic was established, you have had more elections in Venezuela than in any other country in the western hemisphere and all these elections have been adjudged to be free and fair and reflecting the democratic will of the people.”
The Prime Minister of San Vicente and Grenadines urged dialogue instead of interventionism, saying, “Where you have a sharp conflict between the political forces in a democracy … have a conversation, a dialogue where you can improve relations until the time comes for elections or if there’s an agreement between both the sides to have an earlier elections, but the constitution has to be followed.”
Gonsalves labeled calls for regime change “absolutely ridiculous and absurd,” and said OAS head Luis Almagro had disappointed him.
“I voted for the secretary general because he was the foreign minister of “Pepe” of Uruguay, in fact, Venezuela said that he was a good man and see what happened now. We make mistakes sometimes.”
Gonsalves also accused Almagro of “mobilized the elements within the OAS against sovereignty, independence, democracy and people’s right to pursue their own path”.