Hamas: We will win war in Gaza -By Shane Bauer in Damascus
Al Jazeera - thenation press servecis
2009-01-09 | Since 12 Year
Israel's war on Gaza has left more than 700 Palestinians dead - nearly a third of them women and children - and more than 3,000 injured.
But at the organisation's headquarters in Damascus, 100km from the territory, Musa Abu Marzouq, the deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, told Al Jazeera why he believes his organisation is on the verge of victory against Israel.
Al Jazeera: Under what conditions will Hamas agree a ceasefire with Israel?
Abu Marzouq: We have three conditions for any peace initiative coming from any state.
First, the aggression of the Israelis should stop. All of the gates should be opened, including the gate of Rafah between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Finally, Israel has to withdraw from the Gaza Strip.
We are not saying we will stop firing rockets from the Gaza Strip to Israel - we are only talking about stopping the aggression from the Israelis against the civilian population in the Gaza Strip.
When others talk about a ceasefire, they are saying all military operations should stop.
But we are sending a message [by firing rockets]: "We will not surrender. We have to fight the Israelis and we will win this battle."
We know we are going to lose a lot of people from our side, but we are going to win, inshallah.
Members of Hamas have said that Israel is using collective punishment by targeting civilians who support Hamas. But is Hamas' targeting of Israeli civilians also not a type of collective punishment?
We are defending ourselves.
When you talk about any occupation, people should resist the soldiers and the army who occupy their country.
We don't have weapons sophisticated enough to launch at exact targets.
We are sending a message: "You can't provide security to your side until you bring security to the Palestinian side."
We are looking for freedom and for security for the Palestinian people. This is our message to Israel.
They need to understand that we are working for an independent state.
How do you think Israel's war on Gaza will affect Hamas' position?
The Israeli push against Hamas has increased our popularity sharply among the Palestinian people and throughout the Muslim world.
After the Israelis killed Hamas leaders like Ahmed Yassin and Ismail Abu Shanab, Hamas won the elections with 76 seats out of a 132-seat parliament.
Using these means doesn't decrease the popularity of Hamas, it increases it.
What exactly would you consider to be "victory" for Hamas?
A victory for Hamas would mean the Israelis did not accomplish their objectives.
If they can't stop rockets from coming into Israel, that means they failed.
But the real reason for Israel's aggression is to change the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip - they have been thinking about this since Hamas won the elections - it is not because of the rockets.
They failed to lead the people in an uprising against Hamas in the Gaza Strip with their economic embargo.
They tried to push Fatah to stand and fight Hamas, but we defeated them in the Gaza Strip, so the Israelis have taken action themselves.
Why, at the beginning of this conflict, did Hamas decide not to renew the six-month ceasefire?
We agreed to this ceasefire under Egyptian mediation with certain conditions.