(photo credit: AP [file])
Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar compared the people of Gaza to the Jews of the Warsaw ghetto and lashed out at the US for its Middle East policy in an opinion piece published Thursday in The Washington Post under the title "No Peace Without Hamas."
"Sixty five years ago, the courageous Jews of the Warsaw ghetto rose in defense of their people. We Gazans, living in the world's largest open-air prison, can do no less," Zahar wrote.
Hamas's foreign minister accused the US of having reached a dead end in its policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying "Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acts as if a few alterations here and there would make the hideous straitjacket of apartheid fit better."
Zahar went on to say that a peace process with the Palestinians "cannot take even its first tiny step until Israel first withdraws to the borders of 1967; dismantles all settlements; removes all soldiers from Gaza and the West Bank; repudiates its illegal annexation of Jerusalem; releases all prisoners; and ends its blockade of our international borders, our coastline and our airspace permanently."
This, he said, "would provide the starting point for just negotiations and would lay the groundwork for the return of millions of refugees."
Zahar asserted that last week's terror attack on the Nahal Oz fuel depot "should not surprise critics in the West. Palestinians are fighting a total war waged on us by a nation that mobilizes against our people with every means at its disposal. Resistance remains our only option."
According to Zahar, Hamas "fights on because we cannot allow the foundational crime at the core of the Jewish state...to slip out of world consciousness, [be] forgotten or negotiated away."
He added that "Judaism - which gave so much to human culture in the contributions of its ancient lawgivers and modern proponents of tikkun olam - has corrupted itself in the detour into Zionism, nationalism and apartheid."
Zahar commended former US president Jimmy Carter's "sensible plan to visit the Hamas leadership this week," which he said "brings honesty and pragmatism to the Middle East."