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A Guardian Q&A with Ismail Haniyeh

As was apparent at the time, when people were commenting, but may now be less clear to the casual reader – this is a spoof.

Following his op-ed, “We Palestinians are reclaiming our destiny“, which was published in The Guardian today, Ismail Haniyeh has kindly agreed to an interview with Associate Editor Seumas Milne on the state of Palestinian politics.

Seumas Milne: Prime Minister Haniyeh, now that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has been implicated in a £100 million corruption scandal, how does Hamas intend to further its reconciliation agreement with Fatah?

Ismail Haniyeh: First, Brother Seumas, let me thank you for your offer to allow me to express my solemn wishes for peace and the overdue establishment of the Islamic State of Palestine on occupied land. There are few newspapers in the West that are as open-minded and aware of the political aspirations of Hamas as The Guardian. Second, as your readers surely know, Abu Mazen has forfeited his claim to be a legitimate leader of the Palestinian resistance not by thieving from the kufar Western funds which is the only good thing he has done, but by agreeing to negotiate with an illegal and criminal occupier regime. He is very old and perhaps because of this he has gone to America to sit with the Zionist leadership and assure them that holy cities such as Acre, Eliat and Tiberias belong to them. Remember, Fatah came to us, not the other way around, begging us for an agreement so that they could continue their perfidious negotiations. And what has it come to? Abu Mazen went to the UN and asked for half a country, he returned to Ramallah in disgrace with no country at all. [Laughs]

SM: So are you saying that there can be no reconciliation?

IH: Did I say this?

SM: You seem to strongly imply it by your characterisation of Abbas.

IH: Brother Seumas, please do not rely on innuendos and mistranslations from Mossad-run websites. I am very clear that we, the Palestinian people, are one people and will continue the struggle against the Zionist enemy as one people.

SM: The United States and European Union say they are committed to the so-called two-state solution, arguing that both Jews and Palestinians have the right to self-determination…

IH: The Jewish people already enjoy this right in New York City.

SM: And the Israelis say that Jerusalem is their true capital because is this where the Second Temple once stood.

IH: We both know that this is a lie. I have seen this so-called temple — it was really an ancient polytheists’ brothel. It is in Yemen, but Arafat was wrong. It is not in ruins. Saleh had his bowling alley there. Now al-Qaida uses it to manufacture fertiliser bombs.

SM: With Arab nations now rising up to overthrow their Western-backed dictators, how do you see the future of the Palestinian struggle developing? Some would argue that the current NATO conspiracy to dislodge the Assad government in Syria has led your party to “moderate” its line. Your former politburo chairman, Khaled Meshaal, has signalled a willingness to commit to a truce with Israel and possibly even recognise its right to exist.

IH: I feel as a Khan Younis school mistress listening to a clever but rascally student argue that Zionist children have human rights too. First of all, we know that these brave uprisings were waged in the name of Islam, which is what we have been saying for decades would happen. Second, Khaled, as you know, was once poisoned by Netanyahu in his ear and this has unfortunately had an effect on how he speaks sometimes. I can assure you that our line, as you call it, is as committed as ever to seeing historical justice done. What you call Israel is just a name, and we know that names can refer to real things such as the earth and the sky, or they can can refer to invented things such as the Holocaust. One hundred years ago, what was Israel? A Viennese journalist’s fantasy about moving to Madagascar. In a hundred years, it will return to being a fantasy and, inshallah, The Guardian will help us mark the occasion.