Hamas responds to al-Qaida criticism

Hamas responded Monday to harsh criticism issued by al-Qaida's number two Ayman al-Zawahri on Sunday, in which the terror leader accused the Islamic organization of "surrendering to the Jews." "All Palestinian land is Wakf land - holy Muslim land - of which we are not willing to give up one centimeter," the Hamas response read. "We will continue to stick to our principles with regards to Palestinian interests - the central issue in the Muslim world. We will not give up on even one of those principles for anything in this world." The response also appealed directly to al-Zawahri, offering both tempered criticism and a reaffirmation of Hamas' commitment to fight against Israel. "We understand the fact that there are different points of view, but we say to Dr. Zawahri that we are aware of our situation and there is no need to voice baseless accusations in this manner," the response said. "We in the Hamas movement are sticking to our stance and dreaming of death as martyrs," Hamas said. "We mean to calm Dr. Zawahri and all those passionate about Palestine that this is the same Hamas that you knew since its inception." Al-Qaida's number two accused Hamas of selling out by agreeing to respect past peace deals with Israel, according to an audio recording broadcast Sunday by Al-Jazeera satellite channel. Calling the Hamas-led Cabinet a "farcical government," Zawahri lashed out at its leadership saying it had "sold out Palestine, and before, it gave up on ruling by Sharia (Islamic law)." It gave up all of this "in order to be allowed to keep a third of government (seats)," he said referring to the power-sharing agreement. "I'm sorry to face the Islamic community with the painful truth, to offer condolences for the leadership of Hamas ... Hamas has fallen in the swamp of surrender," Zawahri said. Hamas has made a "mockery of Muslims minds and feelings" by saying that the accord reached in Mecca respects international agreements, Zawahri said. "What is happening in Palestine is another form of humiliation." "Today, in the time of deals, the leadership of Hamas has given up most of Palestine to the Jews ... Hamas's leadership has finally caught (late Egyptian President Anwar) Sadat's train of humiliation and surrender."