World Bulletin/News Desk
Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, making his first ever visit to the Gaza Strip, vowed on Saturday never to recognise Israel and said his Islamist group would never abandon its claim to all Israeli territory.
"Palestine is ours from the river to the sea and from the south to the north. There will be no concession on an inch of the land," he told a sea of supporters at an open-air rally, the highlight of his three-day stay in Gaza.
"We will never recognise the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation and therefore there is no legitimacy for Israel, no matter how long it will take."
In an uncompromising speech, Meshaal also vowed to free Palestinian prisoners held in Israel, indicating fighters would try to kidnap Israeli soldiers to use as a bargaining chip.
"We will not rest until we liberate the prisoners. The way we freed some of the prisoners in the past is the way we will use to free the remaining prisoners," Meshaal said to cheers from the huge crowd that had flocked to see him.
Meshaal is from a village in the occupied West Bank, but he went into exile with his family after the 1967 Middle East war only to return for a brief visit in 1975.
He entered Gaza 24 hours ago to attend Saturday's rally which marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas.
He will use his two-day visit to Gaza to promote the growing stature of Hamas in the Arab world and push the case for reconciliation with the movement’s rival in the West Bank, Fatah.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 08 Aralık 2012, 16:44