Saturday, June 14, 2003

Hamas spiritual leader defies Israeli assasination strategy: "Let them give it to me. I'm not afraid of it"
'Sheikh Ahmed Yassin is not a difficult man to find. Almost anyone in Gaza City can direct you to a dusty side street in the dilapidated Sabra neighbourhood and the modest concrete home where Hamas's spiritual leader openly offers moral and religious justification of the suicide bombers. His name is spray-painted in large multicoloured letters across the front of his building. Yet for all Israel's belligerent assertions that there can be "no compromise with terror", it has shied away from sending in the tanks or the helicopter gunships against the elderly leader of Hamas. Even as Israel's hawkish Defence Minister, General Shaul Mofaz, ordered his forces to destroy the organisation on Thursday, Sheikh Yassin remained at home untouched.'

'A commander of Hamas's military wing, Abu Sabbah, said the Islamic resistance movement was ready for dialogue, but not as hostages to Israeli demands. "If they want a just peace, a peace that can last, Hamas is not inflexible," he said. "End the occupation [of land taken in 1967] and the struggle will become a political one." Hamas leaders say they will halt suicide bombings if Israeli forces pull out of Palestinian cities and end attacks from helicopter gunships.'

No comments: