Breakaway Hamas group renounces violence
Monday 14 August 1995
The new organisation, Al Massar ("The Path"), is the first Islamic party to win official recognition from Yasser Arafat's Palestinian National Authority (PNA). It is expected to contest the forthcoming Palestinian elections. Hamas, which is fighting the peace agreement, has not yet decided whether to run.
Israeli analysts suspect that Al Massar is an Arafat front, designed to enhance the PNA's legitimacy and divide the Islamic opposition. Al Massar's secretary-general, Mahmoud Abu Dan, is an officer in Palestinian intelligence. None of the five founding members was in the first rank of Hamas. Leaders of Hamas declined to comment on yesterday's announcement, but were clearly displeased.
In a 17-point manifesto, Al Massar defined the 1993 Oslo agreement as "a fact which cannot be ignored or jumped over". Although the founders disagreed with many of its provisions, they insisted: "We should not talk about abrogating it by force, because our people will suffer. Al Massar rejects violence as a means to change."
Like Hamas and the more extreme Islamic Jihad, the new party repudiated the partition of Palestine between Jewish and Arab states implicit in the Oslo accord, but it endorsed the establishment of a Palestinian state in any part of it "liberated" from Israeli rule.
Mr Abu Dan was asked in Gaza yesterday whether Al Massar recognised Israel. "We don't recognise Israel," he retorted. "Our respect for the Palestinian National Authority had nothing to do with respect for Israel or love for Israel."
The Al Massar manifesto argued that the jihad (holy war) would continue till Judgment Day, but its ways and means changed from time to time and place to place. Similar pronouncements by Mr Arafat to Palestinian television audiences are being exploited as evidence of Palestinian duplicity by the Israeli right-wing opposition.
On the still-occupied West Bank, Jewish settlers yesterday shot dead a 23-year-old Palestinian. He was among a throng of Arab protesters who burned a hut erected illegally on vacant land near the settlement of Beth El, north of the Arab town of Ramallah. The settlers were trying to pre- empt government plans to return the land to Palestinian rule. They opened fire when the protesters refused to disperse.
The Israeli Cabinet last night endorsed the partial agreement for extending Palestinian autonomy, initialled on Friday, by 15 votes to one with two abstentions.
- 4 Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
- 5 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
Boston Marathon runner's search for mystery man she kissed ends with letter from his wife
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
Mysterious 'X-Files' sounds heard miles above the Earth
Met Gala 2015: Beyoncé manages to out-skimp Rihanna, Miley and Kim Kardashian with near-naked ensemble
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...
£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...
£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...