Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012.CAIRO (AP) – Gaza’s ruling Hamas will not stop arming itself because only a strong arsenal, not negotiations, can extract concessions from Israel, the No. 2 in the Islamic militant group told The Associated Press in an interview Saturday. The comments by Moussa Abu Marzouk, just three days after the worst bout of Israel-Hamas fighting in four years, signaled trouble ahead for Egyptian-brokered talks between the hostile neighbors on a new border deal. Hamas demands that Israel and Egypt lift all restrictions on the movement of goods and people in and out of the Palestinian territory, which has been buckling under a border blockade since the Islamists seized the territory in 2007. The restrictions have been eased somewhat in recent years, but not enough to allow Gaza’s battered economy to develop. Israeli officials were not immediately available for comment Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. However, an Israeli security official said this week that Israel would likely link a significant easing of the blockade to Hamas’s willingness to stop smuggling weapons into Gaza and producing them there. Abu Marzouk said Saturday that the group would not disarm, arguing that recent Palestinian history has shown that negotiations with Israel lead nowhere unless backed by force. ‘There is no way to relinquish weapons,’ Abu Marzouk said in his office on the outskirts of Cairo. ‘These weapons protected us and there is no way to stop obtaining and manufacturing them.’ Hamas’ founding charter calls for Israel’s destruction, but leaders of the group have also said they are ready for a long-term cease-fire with the Jewish state. The group is believed to have amassed a large arsenal of thousands of rockets since Israel’s last military offensive in Gaza four years ago. Hamas has been smuggling weapons through tunnels under the border with Egypt, but also claims to have begun manufacturing longer-range rockets in Gaza. During the latest round of fighting, Hamas fired Iranian-made Fajr-5 rockets that came close to Israel’s heartland, including the cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem for the first time. Israel warplanes pounded the tunnel area during the offensive to disrupt smuggling, and tunnel operators reported serious damage, but in the past were able to rebuild quickly. Hamas used to be evasive about Iranian weapons support, but in recent days senior officials in the group have openly thanked Tehran. Gaza strongman Mahmoud Zahar told reporters on Saturday that he is confident that Iran will increase military and financial support to Hamas and the smaller militant group Islamic Jihad.
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A post from April reported on a statements by Marzook in which he said that any agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority would be a hudna (cease-fire,) rather than a peace treaty.
While there are those who still do not believe in the existence of a Global Muslim Brotherhood, 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.