By Mohamed Majed
GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – Hamas on Friday said the Al-Aqsa Intifada, which lasted from 2000 to 2005, had revealed the "futility" of pursuing peace talks with Israel.
In September 2000, a visit to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound by controversial Israeli politician Ariel Sharon sparked what later became known as the "Al-Aqsa Intifada", a popular uprising in which more than 4,000 Palestinians were killed.
In a statement issued to mark the 18th anniversary of the outbreak of the uprising, Hamas stressed its “right to resist the Israeli occupation”, noting that “all laws and norms give a people under occupation the right to resist their occupiers”.
“The Al-Aqsa Intifada revealed the futility of peace negotiations, as the occupation only understands the language of force and resistance,” the statement read.
Hamas also stressed its rejection of the so-called “Deal of the Century”, a backchannel U.S. Mideast peace plan.
“Hamas reiterates its rejection of the ‘Deal of the Century’ or any regional peace plan that impinges on the rights — legal or national — of the Palestinian people,” the statement read.
For the last several months, top officials from the U.S. administration have been speaking to leaders in the region with a view to hammering out a landmark Middle East peace deal.
Although details remain vague, it is believed that the plan includes several clauses favoring Israel, such as leaving East Jerusalem — and most Jewish-only West Bank settlements — in Israel’s hands.
Hamas also blasted Trump’s decision last year to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“The Palestinian people do not recognize Trump’s decision [to relocate the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem] and totally reject any change to Jerusalem’s historical or legal status,” the statement read.
Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Middle East conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem — occupied by Israel since 1967 — might eventually serve as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.
Hamas also blasted the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA), accusing it of “protecting the [Israeli] occupation”.
“The PA must stop protecting the occupation and side with the Palestinian people, who prefer freedom, dignity and resistance,” the movement asserted.