Hamas leader and former U.S. Muslim Brotherhood leader Mousa Abu Marzook has given an interview to U.S. Jewish media in which he said that any agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority would be a hudna (cease-fire,) rather than a peace treaty. According to the interview with The Forward:
Published April 19, 2012 Any agreement reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority will be subject to far-reaching changes if Hamas comes to power in a democratic Palestinian state, a top Hamas leader told the Forward in an exclusive and wide-ranging interview. Mousa Abu Marzook, considered Hamas’s second-highest-ranking official, said that his group would view an agreement between Israel and the P.A. — even one ratified by a referendum of all Palestinians — as a hudna, or cease-fire, rather than as a peace treaty. In power, he said, Hamas would feel free to shift away from those provisions of the agreement that define it as a peace treaty and move instead toward a relationship of armed truce. ‘We will not recognize Israel as a state,’ he said emphatically. ‘It will be like the relationship between Lebanon and Israel or Syria and Israel.’ The exchange was but one part of an unprecedented five-and-a-half-hour discussion conducted over two days between Abu Marzook and the Forward, the first-ever in-depth exchange between a senior Hamas leader and a Jewish publication. Abu Marzook, deputy director of Hamas’s political bureau, for the most part used the opportunity to expand on long-standing Hamas positions. Contrary to some media reports, he indicated no new flexibility that would move Hamas closer to accepting conditions laid down by the so-called Quartet of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations for his group’s participation in the now moribund Middle East peace process. Abu Marzook did not, however, foreclose the possibility of a more accommodating relationship with Israel in the future. Quite apart from the content of Abu Marzook’s remarks, several veteran observers of the hard-line Islamist group viewed the fact that the interview took place as a larger signal of change now roiling the organization. ‘I think the mere fact of his speaking to you, independent of what he said, is almost more important than the specifics,’ said Shlomi Eldar, who has reported on Hamas from Gaza for Israel TV’s Channel 10 and other media outlets since 1991. ‘Even granting such an interview is far away from what he thought two or three years ago…. What [Abu Marzook] really wants is for Jewish Americans to convince the Israelis that Hamas is not like an animal.’
In 2008, the NEFA Foundation posted a court filing by federal prosecutors which provided detail on the role of Mr. Marzook as a leader of the United States-based Muslim Brotherhood and Palestinian Committee. According to the document:
By the outbreak of the First Intifada, the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States was significant and well organized. In 1987, the governing body of the International Muslim Brotherhood decided to focus its mission on the Palestinian issue, and directed that Palestine Committees be formed in countries throughout the world. In the United States, the Palestine Committee was comprised of active Muslim Brotherhood members of Palestinian origin. The leader of the Palestinian Committee in the United States at that time was unindicted co-conspirator Mousa Abu Marzook. Marzook is now – and has been since 1995 – a Specially Designated Terrorist and Hamas leader. In fact, in the early 1990s, Marzook left his post as a leader of the United States-based Muslim Brotherhood and Palestinian Committee to take over as Hamas’ Political Bureau Chief, the organization’s highest official position. The creation and growth of the Palestine Committee in the United States are evidenced in part by documents that the government seized in 2004 from the Virginia home of unindicted co-conspirator and Palestinian Committee member Ismail Elbarasse. As shown by those documents and other evidence, the Muslim Brotherhood directed its Palestinian Committees throughout the world, including the United States, to carry out the mandate of assisting Sheik Yassin and his newly-formed Hamas Movement. In accordance with that mandate, the Palestinian Committee in the United States, which included the defendants Elashi, Baker and El-Mezain, oversaw a number of sub- organizations charged with varying missions calculated to comprehensively address Hamas’ needs. These organizations included the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR) (“think tank”), the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP) (propaganda and information) and the Occupied Land Fund (OLF) (money), later to become the defendant HLF. The defendant Shukri Abu Baker was in charge of the HLF and, along with the defendants El-Mezain and Elashi, set out to establish what would become the highest grossing Islamic charity in the United States.