Beyond Images Challenging myths and presenting facts about Israel 

“The Jews could have a state in Europe …”
The goals of Hamas, by its founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin

London - published on 10 December 2003
Beyond Images Ref: 74

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Palestinian group Hamas rejects a Jewish state in the region, within any borders. This position has been starkly restated by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder and religious leader of Hamas, in an interview published on 8 December 2003 in German news magazine Der Spiegel. Here are extracts:-

On the Geneva Accords

….. hammered out by left-wing Israelis and moderate Palestinians, and involving a full withdrawal by Israel to 1967 borders, redivision of Jerusalem, settlement evacuation and a land swap:

Sheikh Yassin:

“The [Geneva Accords] are worse than Oslo , because the Palestinian refugees give up the right of return…”

Our comments: The most far-reaching compromise package is not enough for Sheikh Yassin. No compromise can be considered on the Palestinian right of return (see Briefing 34), even if this means perpetual deadlock and no peace.

On a two-state solution…

….which would involve an Israeli withdrawal roughly to the 1967 borders and the creation of a viable and independent Palestinian state:

Sheikh Yassin:

“…it would not work…. it would only be an interim solution … [our emphasis]

…Our objective is to ensure that all Palestinians can live in their homeland, all religions together: Muslims, Jews and Christians. We are against a Jewish apartheid country on Palestinian soil…..”

Our comments: Sheikh Yassin rejects coexistence with a Jewish state. The formula of “all religions together: Muslims, Jews and Christians…” rules out Jewish nationhood, and reduces the Jewish people to religious minority status in the region. Within this logic, a “two-state solution” can indeed only be an “interim solution”. Sheikh Yassin's concept of the land being “Palestinian soil” (as though the Jews had no claim there) denies legitimacy to Israel and to its history, and has racially exclusive implications.

On Hamas “resistance”:

… resistance being a “codeword” for terrorist attacks on Israelis everywhere

Sheikh Yassin:

“This will continue until the end of the occupation….”

Our comments: as Hamas defines “occupation” to include Tel-Aviv, Haifa and all other Israeli population centres, Sheikh Yassin's words are a formula for continued killing of Israeli men, women and children in suicide attacks and other acts of extreme violence (see Briefing 18), for as long as a Jewish state exists.

On the future of the Jewish state:

… when asked directly whether there is any place at all for a Jewish state?

Sheikh Yassin:

“They could set up a state in Europe …”

Our comments: …in other words, Israel is not legitimate. It has no right to exist. History should be reversed and a Jewish state established in Europe .


There can never be peace between Palestinians and Israelis as long as such views carry influence, and terrorist groups pursue them. These views should be condemned by all who wish to achieve a better future for the Palestinian people. Recognising Israel 's right to exist is the foundation of peace