Hamas head blames Israel, US for Palestinian impasse

Hamas supremo Khaled Meshaal said efforts to end the bitter feud with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas were deadlocked because of Israeli and US meddling, and his men would stay in control of Gaza.

Hamas head blames Israel, US for Palestinian impasse
Hamas supremo Khaled Meshaal said efforts to end the bitter feud with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas were deadlocked because of Israeli and US meddling, and his men would stay in control of Gaza.

And he warned that, despite renewed efforts to forge peace between Israel and the Palestinians, resistance remained the only option for Hamas.

"Mediation efforts are at an impasse because they [Abbas' Fatah faction] have shut all the doors, and rejected Palestinian and other Arab mediation, including initiatives by some Fatah officials," Meshaal said in a telephone interview from Syria.

"Israeli and American interference is responsible for blocking the reconciliation," he said.

Meshaal said: "We have not taken Gaza in order to give it back to them ... We have defended our legitimacy against 'warlords' who were preparing a coup with the help of the Americans and the Israelis."

Aid agencies have warned of a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, now effectively sealed off from the outside world by Israel.

"Israel threatens the Palestinian Authority president to prevent a dialogue with Hamas ... and the US puts pressure on all parties in the region to prevent any meeting between Hamas and Fatah," he said.

"Dialogue is the only solution to resolve the internal Palestinian crisis."

But he said that any dialogue should cover rebuilding Palestinian security services, and placing them under a national government that would govern in both Gaza and the West Bank, where Abbas has his power base.

Meshaal also blamed some leaders within Abbas' Palestinian Authority of preferring to revive stalled peace negotiations with Israel than opening dialogue with Hamas.

"Those who are counting on American and Israeli support, and who are rushing to talk to the Israelis ... will discover that their bets are only illusions," Meshaal said.

"As long as Israel does not put an end to its occupation and its settlements, and as long as it does not recognize Palestinian rights, our policy of resistance will be the only option," Meshaal said.

The Hamas political supremo - who escaped an attempt by Mossad agents on his life in Amman in 1997 - also said he did not expect any change in US policy should a Democrat win the 2008 presidential election.

"American bias for Israel never changes," he said.

He also described as "an illusion" reports that Abbas is mulling changes to Palestinian law that would effectively exclude Hamas from future elections, after it initially swept to power in a January 2006 vote.

"No one can exclude Hamas from the political process. The United States and Israel tried in vain to do that for 20 years, but they did not succeed."

Meshaal also dismissed reports that Al Qaeda was present in Gaza, saying they were propaganda aimed at giving Hamas "a negative image."

AFP
Last Mod: 23 Ağustos 2007, 19:07
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