Mashaal says he’ll move to a peaceful path contingent on the “end of the occupation” & Palestinian statehood.
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal declared a position on Palestinian statehood that is nearly identical to that of his Fatah rival, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in an interview with CNN aired Wednesday.
“I accept a Palestinian state according [to] the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the capital, with the right to return,” the Hamas leader told Christine Amanpour in Cairo.
Pushed about his party’s refusal to recognize Israel, Mashaal said such a declaration could only be made once a Palestinian state has been created.
“After this state is established, it decides its standing toward Israel,” the Hamas leader said.
Mashaal, whose interview appeared to move his positions closer and closer toward the positions of the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority with whom Israel has conducted numerous round of negotiations, also spoke about Hamas’s use of violence and terrorism.
Asked if Hamas is willing to renounce violence, he said, “We are ready to resort to a peaceful way, purely peaceful way without blood or weapons.”
Such a move, however, would be conditional on the attainment of Palestinian national demands, namely, “the elimination of occupation and the (creation of a) Palestinian state and ending the occupation and the wall.”
As such, Mashaal also denied Hamas took part in the terrorist bombing of a public bus in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.
He added, however, that he believed the attack was a response to IAF strikes in Gaza during Operation Pillar of Defense.
The bomb on a central Tel Aviv bus resulted in 28 people being hospitalized on Wednesday morning in the first such attack in the city since 2006.
“Not Hamas, not others, not other people from, not Hamas. No one can announce except those who committed, not me,” Mashaal told CNN when asked if the group claimed responsibility for the attack.
He blamed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for bringing about the attack, “with his crimes, in killing the kids of Gaza, and the continuity of aggression.”
View original Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=293084