Dr. Kaukab Siddique Interview
- Publisher: `Palestine could become rallying point of oppressed people'
Dr. Kaukab Siddique Interviewed by Ashahed Muhammad
Feb 16, 2006
[On January 25, the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas won 76 seats of
the 132-seat Palestinian Legislative Council in a landslide victory
over the ruling Fatah party. The Final Call explorers three differing
viewpoints that provide insight into the volatile mixture of ideas and
attitudes in a region characterized by unpredictability and conflict
since Israel's creation in 1948.]
Dr. Kaukab Siddique is an Associate Professor of English at Lincoln
University and the publisher and editor-in-chief of New Trend
Magazine, an Islamic publication dealing with current events and
issues relevant to the worldwide Muslim community. He is the author of
several books and head of Jamaat-al Muslimeen, based in Baltimore, Md.
Dr. Kaukab Siddique
FC: What are your thoughts on what is being reported as a clear
landslide victory by Hamas?
KS: Hamas' dominance in Palestine has been quite evident during the
last five years. Israel's assassinations of its leaders failed to stem
its popularity. In fact, the more the Israelis tried to destroy it,
the more it grew in popularity. The election victory is a serious
setback for Israel, coming on the heels of the Israeli withdrawal from
Gaza and the brain damage suffered by [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel]
Sharon. Hamas' landslide victory is quite genuine.
FC: Were the results a vote for Hamas and against the current
Palestinian Authority leadership, or was it a demonstration against
the American/Israeli alliance in foreign policy?
KS: The elections were primarily an internal affair. The Palestinian
people have made a choice. They have shown that they trust the Islamic
movement. By contrast, the Fatah Party's leadership is corrupt,
un-Islamic and untrustworthy. Of course, in Palestine, the issue of
U.S.-Israeli policy blends with the domestic issues. One reason for
the secular regime's corruption was that it was reliant almost
entirely on handouts from the U.S. and EU. The Fatah leaders have
always believed that the U.S. is the key to a solution of the
Palestinian "problem." By contrast, Hamas believes that Islam is the
FC: Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted by the Jerusalem Post
as stating: "Before our very eyes, Hamastan has been created." What do
the results portend for the Israeli government, especially given the
instability and poor health of Ariel Sharon of the Kadima party?
KS: Israel today is the pariah of the international community. If
Hamas organizes and consolidates its power as a government, Palestine
could become the rallying point of the Islamic and oppressed people of
the world. The Israelis, with U.S. help, will try very hard to make
the Hamas government isolated and lacking in resources. It's a form of
blackmail, meant to squeeze Hamas to recognize Israel, or fail. Will
Hamas bow before American power and Saudi money? That's the key
question facing the Muslim world.
FC: Can you clarify the "two state" solution that is supposedly being
advocated by George Bush, why it seems plausible to some and opposed
KS: The U.S. wants Israel to be recognized as a legitimate country and
Palestine to be formulated in such a way that it would be a
defenseless, client state, totally helpless before and dependent on
Israeli power and American-Saudi economic resources [not very
different from the Bantustans in South Africa under apartheid]. The
"two state" solution simply means that Arabs, Muslims and Africans
should accept the "right" of Europe and America to set up an
artificial country, armed and funded by the U.S., in the heartland of
Such a solution would be the victory of imperialism. Islam does not
accept the victory of the oppressors. The Qur'an puts it very clearly
that occupation of Muslim land cannot be accepted. It says: "Drive
them out from where they drove you out."
FC: Where does this leave Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas?
KS: Abbas is seen by the majority of Palestinians as an Israeli agent.
He often sleeps in Tel Aviv and has the protection of Israeli
intelligence services. His time is over. The Israelis arrested
hundreds of Hamas activists before the elections to help Fatah win,
but it didn't work.
FC: Will Hamas be forced to back down on some of the more strident
rhetoric and positions towards Israel?
KS: Hamas is not monolithic. There are elements in it that are very
much influenced by the U.S. and its surrogates, such as Hosni Mubarak
of Egypt. There will probably be an intense internal dialogue, perhaps
even a tussle, to change the direction of Hamas. The U.S.' strategy is
that "moderate" Islamic people should be encouraged, and these are
seen as the best solution for the growing influence of "extremists."
Observers say that one reason the U.S. allowed the elections to go
through was the danger the Americans saw in further radicalization of
the Palestinian people. There was a danger that if Hamas did not win,
there would be big gains in support by Islamic Jihad and even
al-Qaeda. The key to the future lies in the struggle within Hamas. But
Allah is the best of Planners.
FC: Thank you.
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