Exclusive Interview with dr. Basem Naim, One of The Leaders of Hamas

dr. Basem Naim is one of the leaders of the Harakah Muqawamah Islamiyah or commonly called Hamas. It is an Islamic Resistance Movement focused on fighting for Palestinian independence and the Liberation of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

In recent days, the escalation of Israeli attacks against the Gaza Strip has increased and Hamas has launched a counterattack on Israeli territory. Until now, neither side knows when the war will stop.

In a tense condition of the Gaza Strip, Senior Journalist of MINA News Agency, Rifa Berliana Arifin, managed to exclusively interview dr. Basem Naim on Monday.

“When we were talking, on top of this building Israeli rockets were milling about, explosions occurred not far from this place,” he told MINA reporters.

dr. Basem currently serves as Head of the Hamas Cooperation and Foreign Relations Bureau. Previously, he served as Palestinian Youth and Sports Minister in 2007 then served as Palestinian Health Minister in 2012, as well as Advisor to Palestinian Prime Minister Ismael Haniyah.

The following is an interview between MINA and dr. Basem regarding the escalation of the Hamas-Israel war in the Gaza Strip:

MINA: How far can Hamas withstand the Israeli air aggression when 200 victims were martyred, including Hamas members?

First, We are the owners of this Palestinian land and Hamas is currently representing the world’s Muslims in defending the sanctity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. We will never give up on the Israeli occupation, in the struggle for freedom and for rights. We do not calculate profit and loss for martyrs, we lose family, relatives, friends, but all of these are noble sacrifices to get justice and freedom.

Our struggle is not counted by how much wealth we give, the time it takes a day, a month or even years and the lives that are sacrificed because we believe in the words of Allah Subhanahu Watalla:

“Do not be weak hearted in pursuing them. If you suffer pain, then actually they also suffer pain as you suffer, while you expect from Allah what they do not expect and Allah is All-Knowing, Most Wise. (QS; An-Nisa 104)

Second, this war is not the first time. In 2008, 2012 and 2014 there were 51 days of war that resulted in the loss of thousands of martyrs, injuries and the destruction of 3,000 houses. Even so, Hamas never raised a white flag (surrendered to Israel). Therefore, how long the war will last and how fierce it will be, we have been prepared for it.

Even in the current war, we still have little of our strength to muster against Israeli aggression. That alone has shocked Israel and its allies. Opponents and friends did not think that Hamas could carry out such a big aggression with sophisticated weapons.

Silent operation that we carry out and prepare, whoever never finds out.

All this happened because of the permission of Allah Subhanu Watalla.

“You can imagine, the rocket that we made with an economical price of around 300 dollars, can penetrate the Israeli iron drome which is worth millions of dollars and target the heart of Israel, Tel Aviv” he said .

We have drone experts, cyber experts including Jamal Zabeda, Nazeem Hatib who were both martyred on the second day of Israel’s aggression against the Gaza Strip.

MINA: Israel in its statement accuses Hamas of deliberately attacking Israeli civilians while they are attacking “terrorist” nests in the Gaza Strip, what is your comment?

They are just baseless arguments. The photos spread on social media about the situation in the Gaza Strip can tell the truth, instead they randomly bombarded the houses of Gazans day and night. Even today, Israel bombs the factories if cement, plastic and even food factories that have nothing to do with what they claim to be “terrorists”.

Therefore, Israel has failed to incapacitate us, they randomly attack public locations and facilities: schools, hospitals and others.

As for the Israeli accusation that Hamas attacks civilians, I am restating what Sheikh Ahmad Yasin said 30 years ago.

“We will not target and attack civilians but if the enemy does then we will never hesitate to attack their cities.” And if Israel is willing to stop attacking Palestinian civilians then we are ready to do so too.

What Hamas has done is in accordance with the rules of international law, that every nation that is under occupation has the right to defend and fight for their independence by all means, including resistance with weapons.

What the Israeli Zionists are doing in our land is occupation and we have the right to fight back.

MINA: Many countries have called for de-escalation of war, and some are even willing to mediate between Hamas and Israel. How has Hamas responded?

I emphasize that it was not Hamas or other resistance movements in the Gaza Strip that started this war. What we are doing is fighting and defending the condition of our brothers in Shaikh Jarrah who are helpless and the conditions of our brothers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque who were persecuted by the Israeli army in the condition that they are worshiping in the month of Ramadan.

Hamas is ready to stop the attack on two conditions:

First, Israel stopped attacks on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Second, Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah should not be harassed, Israel must guarantee that. And most importantly, stop tarnishing the Al-Aqsa mosque and harassing Palestinians who worship at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

These condition are what Hamas wants from Israel because it is very conditional and does not violate international rules.

MINA: OIC member countries held an emergency meeting to discuss the situation of Palestine and Al-Quds al-Syarif. There were several statements and condemnations against Israel. How does Hamas assess this meeting?

Palestinians wherever they are, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Al-Quds, all of them are struggling against the Israeli occupation of the Islamic ummah’s waqf land. So, we are fighting for the rights of the Muslim Ummah, not just the interests of Palestine.

The OIC State Meeting on yesterday was certainly very good and supportive of us, but I want to convey that the meeting was too late, because the meeting was held after the Al-Aqsa Mosque was tarnished by Israel for days and the Gaza Strip was bombarded and the fall of the martyrs.

So, the OIC state meeting was held very late after what the Israeli occupation had done to us.

Furthermore, decades of resolutions and decisions have been issued as condemnations. Absolutely not changing conditions and circumstances for the better. Even the Israeli occupation was day by day increasingly vicious in intensifying its agendas.

Where Israel implemented the Oslo Agreement which aims for all parties to bring peace. Israel broke all agreements, ignored UN-OIC international resolutions, instead expanded Jewish settlements, annexed the West Bank, plundered Palestinian settlements in Sheikh Jarah and aggression against the Gaza strip.

MINA: Of course the Grand Palestine Election which should be held this month, is it related to the Israeli attack?

Reflecting on the general elections in 2004 where elections were held democratically, freely and with high participation throughout Palestine, Hamas won the vote. However, the resistance and pressure came not a little from internal Palestina and the surrounding countries until finally they formed a “democratic” Palestinian government according to their “tastes” and desires.

So in the last 15 years, we have worked on resolving the internal Palestinian problems because we know that the internal divisions provide fresh air for the Israeli occupation and smooth their agendas.

It could be that the postponement of the general election this time signals a concern that if Hamas and the other Movement of Struggle win votes again and of course it will complicate the space for all parties, especially Israel.

Election is actually one of our means of gaining freedom and defending rights. Apart from that in order to drag Israel deeper into its crimes against humanity and violations of international law, our efforts to boycott Israel as a whole, but all of these efforts failed, so there is nothing but to put up a real fight against Israeli arbitrariness.

MINA: There are efforts from Muslim countries in Southeast Asia to send Peace Forces to Al-Quds. Hamas response?

I am very aware of how much our brothers in Southeast Asia are really concerned, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei and whatever is done always reflects on siding with Palestine.

However, implementing the dispatch of peacekeeping troops in Al-Quds is very difficult to do. A month ago the Crown Prince of Jordan wanted to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque only to pray in it but Israel did not allow it.

Israel understands very well that there should be no Islamic intervention in the Al-Quds area by anyone, because it will arouse the care and love of Muslims for the Al-Aqsa Mosque. So, all kinds of visits by high-ranking Islamic officials, organizing any events at Al-Quds and the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex will never be permitted by Israel.

Recently, Israel has rejected the presence of Pakistani soldiers in the Al-Quds complex, because they are Muslims, of course, have faith and tendencies to defend the Al-Aqsa Mosque and that endangers Israel. (TW/RE1)

Miraj News Agency (MINA)