Hamas preparing plan for administration of Gaza Strip following Israeli withdrawal
Hamas founder and spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yasin on Tuesday revealed that the movement is preparing a plan for the administration of the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of the proposed Israeli withdrawal.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has indicated that Israel will carry out a virtually complete withdrawal from the Strip, including the evacuation of Jewish settlements, as part of an overall “disengagement” from the Palestinians.
According to Hamas website, Yasin said Hamas would cooperate with other Islamic and nationalist forces in order to serve the best of Palestinian national interests.
He added that Hamas had no intention to take over Gaza Strip following the purported Israeli withdrawal, as the Israeli media rumored recently. He said “taking security control has never been part of our thinking.”
Yasin has also rejected the deployment of any hostile forces in Gaza Strip, suggesting that the Palestinians would refuse to cooperate with any foreign troops carrying out repressive measures against the Palestinians.
Recent reports suggested that Britain might be willing to send observers to the region to help the PA authority crack down on Hamas and other Islamic and nationalist forces.
Meanwhile, a British newspaper said Tuesday Prime Minister, Tony Blair is under pressure from President Bush to outlaw the Palestinian group Hamas, ending secret talks.
According to the Mirror, the move would dismay UK officials who said their negotiations with Hamas were vital to a breakthrough in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
But Bush has added Hamas to a list of banned "terrorist organizations" and wants the UK to do the same.
The Home Office told the newspaer: "We keep the proscribed list of terrorist groups under regular review."
At present, only the military wing of Hamas, Izz al-Din al-Qassem Brigades, is on the UK list of 25 "terrorist" groups.
Its political wing has had secret contacts with British officials, including ex-MI 6officer Alastair Crooke who helped to broker last year's brief ceasefire. Crooke wants talks to continue. In an unusual move, Crooke recently broke cover and said Hamas had too much popular support to be ignored.
Saeed Syam, a prominent Hamas leader, did not confirm or deny the news. Syam told Al Bawaba that he is not aware of any existing contacts with the British government; however, the movement has no problem maintaining contacts with any government except the Israel one.
Regarding Crook’s role in the first ceasefire, Syam denied any role for the former MI 6officer, adding “the decision was taken after thorough planning and unanimous agreement by the movement’s members.”
Speaking about the possible impact of a British decision to brand Hamas a "terrorist" group, Syam explained that “such a decision by the British Government would not affect Hamas and its struggle against Israel…but it will affect the image of Britain in the Arab and Islamic world. America has imposed itself as the world’s policeman…it is putting pressure on everyone to conform to its [political] plans by scaring the world with its military power. Hamas is not afraid from any American pressure and will go on struggling against the Israeli occupation.” (Albawaba.com - 9 March)