Head of the Hamas Political Bureau, Khaled Meshaal, said that his movement aims to avoid wars, stressing that what is occurring in the West Bank is a popular uprising and what is practiced by the resistance is legitimate self-defence. He also revealed an upcoming meeting with Fatah to resume discussions regarding the application of the reconciliation.
During an interview with France24, broadcast last night, Meshaal said: “Hamas and the Palestinians in general don’t want war. We suffer from occupation and colonisation. Israel is threatening Gaza with war periodically. Israel is starving the Palestinians and killing people in the West Bank by occupation, settlements and the Judaisation of Jerusalem and is threatening to expel Palestinians from the 1948 borders.”
“From time to time, tensions rise in Gaza and on the borders with Gaza, but we want to avoid war. In spite of this, we are a people who are seeking independence and to get rid of colonization. Gaza is trying to put an end to the unjust siege.”
In his response to a question regarding the clashes in the West Bank and Jerusalem, Meshaal said: “It is certainly an intifada, and the Palestinian people, after having seen that all the paths to peace have been blocked, and because of the excesses of occupation and hostility by Israel, and after the robbing of their land and the imprisonment of thousands of Palestinians, they have a feeling that the world has lost interest in their cause.”
He noted that the sparks of the intifada “were caused by an initiative taken by Netanyahu who wanted to divide the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound after having desecrated it several times. The risk of the division of the compound was the spark that caused the flare up.”
The Palestinian official stressed that Hamas and the Palestinian forces are defending themselves, saying that “it is a resistance. We are defending our children, our wives, our land, which is sacred to us. We are the victims of Israeli aggression, be it on the part of the army or the settlers. There are 600,000 settlers in the West Bank and Jerusalem;” adding, “We are defending ourselves, we are not aggressors.”
“What can the Palestinian people do, what can they do if the occupation continues and if the colonisation extends and continues, and if the Israeli aggressions continue on the part of the soldiers and the settlers and if the world can no longer force Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian land? What can they do if the international community is incapable of helping our people? There is no other solution than fighting against this occupation in order to put an end to this occupation and to put an end to Israeli aggression. All the people of the world have exercised their right to resistance.”
Meshaal stressed to world leaders that there are “two possibilities facing the Palestinian people: either the international community helps us to put pressure on the Israeli authority to change things, or you must help the Palestinian people in their fight for independence.”
“This is a natural right; the world must support us, not blame us.”
The Hamas official added: “Cooperation in the field of security with Israel is not in the national interest of Palestine and it is a free service for the Israeli authorities.”
He mentioned that the PLO Central Council decided to put an end to this cooperation and has stated that the PA must apply this decision. “It is neither in the interest of the Palestinians nor in the interest of the PLO because it encourages Israel to continue with the occupation.”
The Hamas leader also revealed an upcoming meeting with Fatah to apply the reconciliation, hoping to overcome expectations.
“There will soon be a meeting to monitor the results of the previous talks, which will lead to high level meetings of Hamas and Fatah leaders with other groups, to agree on mechanisms for implementing the agreement.”
With regards to whether there will be a meeting with the PA president, Meshaal said: “Currently, these are preliminary meetings and we hope that they will lead to a meeting between me and Mr Abu Mazen, and other leaders of all groups in order to make these agreements stick in the form of a roadmap for reconciliation on all issues… it is difficult to foresee the dates, but we are making serious efforts.”
Meshaal reiterated his denial of the accusations directed by the Egyptian interior minister against Hamas regarding its involvement in the assassination of the Egyptian Chief Prosecutor Hisham Barakat. He said: “Hamas are innocent in all of these accusations; we did not intervene in Egypt neither in the past, nor today, nor in the future. That is why we have wanted to meet Egyptian leaders directly to avoid these accusations from the media or Egyptian leaders.”
The Hamas leader warned against Palestinians resorting to withdrawing the national reconciliation document that was agreed upon in 2006 as a “joint political programme based on the right to self-determination for the Palestinian people, to put an end to occupation and Israel’s withdrawal from Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza and to create a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and the right of return.”
“This is a national Palestinian project, a joint project, and the Arab states have supported this initiative, but for several years, Israel has foiled all these efforts. So this project exists, but maybe in the near future the Palestinians, in desperation and faced with the powerlessness of the international community and in the absence of any progress, may be taken off the table and this will be Israel’s responsibility,” he added.
Meshaal admitted the decline of Iranian support due to the Syrian crisis, but also stressed that relations with Iran haven’t been broken.
He stressed that Hamas is “a movement of national liberation and has relations with all the states in the world, be they Arab, Muslim, or Western. We want to have regional and international relations with everyone in order to get support for our Palestinian cause.”