News / Middle East

Hamas Leader: Gaza Conflict 'Milestone' to Reaching Objective

Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal holds a press conference in the Qatari capital Doha, Aug. 28, 2014.
Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal holds a press conference in the Qatari capital Doha, Aug. 28, 2014.
Reuters

Hamas will not cease resisting Israel until all its demands are met, the group's overall leader Khaled Meshaal said on Thursday, adding the latest Gaza conflict was only “a milestone to reaching our objective”.

Speaking at a news conference in Doha, where he lives in exile, Meshaal said the group would never give up its arms as part of any deal. He also said the group's military commander, caught earlier this month in an Israeli airstrike, was “fine”.

“You cannot contain the resistance, because the resistance is in our thoughts and in our souls ... our resistance will continue until all our demands are met and we are getting closer to victory and al-Quds [Jerusalem],” he said.

“This is not the end. This is just a milestone to reaching our objective. We know that Israel is strong and is aided by the international community. We will not restrict our dreams or make compromises to our demands,” Meshaal said.

Israel launched its assault on the Gaza Strip with the declared aim of stopping rocket attacks against Israel and destroying tunnels it said Hamas, which refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist, was using to infiltrate the country.

Hamas also called on Egypt to open the Rafah border crossing, as “a brotherly action”.

“The weapons of the resistance are sacred and we will not accept that it be up for negotiation,” Meshaal said. “There is no politics without resistance and there is no resistance without arms.

Both Israel and Egypt view Hamas as a security threat and are seeking guarantees that weapons will not enter Gaza, a narrow, densely-populated territory of 1.8 million people.

Speaking next to a large billboard with the slogan “A nation constructing its victory”, Meshaal presented the current Gaza truce as a victory for the Palestinian people.

“Our enemy only comes under pressure when they are under fire,” he said. “As our rockets hit them, they were forced to hold talks with us.”

Palestinian health officials say 2,139 people, most of them civilians, including more than 490 children, have been killed in the enclave since July 8, when Israel launched an offensive.

Israel's death toll stood at 64 soldiers and six civilians.

Hamas commander "fine"

An open-ended ceasefire, mediated by Egypt, took effect on Tuesday evening. It called for an indefinite halt to hostilities, the immediate opening of Gaza's blockaded crossings with Israel and Egypt, and a widening of the territory's fishing zone in the Mediterranean.

Under a second stage of the truce that would begin a month later, Israel and the Palestinians would discuss construction of a Gaza sea port and Israel's release of Hamas prisoners in the occupied West Bank, possibly in a trade for the remains of two Israeli soldiers believed held by Hamas, officials have said.

Israel has said it would facilitate the flow of more civilian goods and humanitarian and reconstruction aid into the impoverished territory if the truce was honored.

Meshaal described the condition of the group's military commander Mohammed Deif as “fine”, after what it terms an Israeli assassination attempt on him earlier this month.

Hamas' military wing, the Izz-el-Din al-Qassam Brigades, had said at the time that Israel had missed its target and that Deif's wife and seven-month-old son were killed in the attack.

Deif was widely believed to be masterminding the Islamist group's military campaign from underground bunkers.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declined to say whether Israel had tried to kill Deif, but said militant leaders were legitimate targets and that “none are immune” from attack.

Meshaal said that his message to the international community was that Hamas was not against people of different religions.

“To the Jews of the world, I tell you we are not against you because of your religion. Our problem is with occupation and settlement,” he said.

Israel has said it dealt a strong blow to Hamas, killing several of its military leaders and destroying the Islamist group's cross-border infiltration tunnels.

But Israel also faced persistent rocket fire for nearly two months that caused an exodus from a number of border communities and disrupted daily life in its commercial heartland.

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 29, 2014 1:55 PM
Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said his organization will not cease resisting Israel until all its demands are met. We know its chief demand is that Israel should not exist, how does it want Israel to meet that demand? Maybe he’s not yet satisfied with the number of lives lost so far in the campaign, as another body of a dead teenager was picked yesterday in Jerusalem murdered the same way the earlier 3 were, which Khaled Meshaal said was his instigation/igniting of the intifada against Israel.

Are we about to see a resumption of the conflagration soon? If Meshaal will not give up arms, will Netanyahu give up demand for a demilitarized Gaza? The boast of Khaled Meshaal is the shame of Benjamin Netanyahu who failed to take the opportunity when it presented itself to neutralize Gaza and rid it of Hamas. I think Israel should be looking for a leader who knows the politics of Hamas and has a resolve to meet it head on.

Only killers, murderers stick to arms, and that is what Hamas is. That’s not why Israel should beg it to honor the cease fire which will after all be broken soon unless Israel opens up the sea port for Gaza through which to import all sorts of weapons to knell the state of Israel. It’s a pity, especially as Israel appears to be ruled by self serving leaders who do not understand the politics of Hamas to total destruction of Israel. I think Israel needs urgently to look for leaders who will save it and maintain its identity, because seems to me Israel is on its way out of existence – unless something is done urgently.
In Response

by: Leederman
August 30, 2014 12:23 AM
Thinking of what Israel needs to do is really of little consequence right now. The politics of Hamas and its infrastructure is understood by the Israeli Government, the IDF including Egypt and those countries that share its border.Irrespective of leadership, Israel will do what Israel must do, that you can be assured of. The pivotal turning point required here for peaceful coexistence, is the mindset change of Khaled Meshaal and his associates and the demilitarization of Haamas. Without this future conflict is inevitable.

by: Cecil
August 29, 2014 1:31 PM
The civillian population in Gaza suffered casualties and the destruction of their properties due to Hamas pursuing their own political and ideological agenda of hatred against Israel, which they have never "freed" themselves from. To this end Israel will at some stage have to prepare for an all out offensive and retake Gaza, and stabilize it. Unpalatable but true, given the verbal intention by the Hamas Chief "The weapons of the resistance.............. no resistance without arms?

by: Martha S. from: US
August 29, 2014 9:22 AM
how can you make "peace" with someone who "refuses to recognize your right to EXIST"...?? LOL - I am sorry but it just sound stupid to me... but then i must remember we are dealing with Arabs...
In Response

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 29, 2014 1:19 PM
Martha, your question should rather be, how does anyone claim to be human and delight in seeing many people killed - friends and foes? This man loves to see blood flowing freely everywhere, everyday, everytime. He is not a human being, even if he looks like one. Imagine how many Palestinians he killed by urging his militants to fire missiles from their midst. Imagine the cold blooded killing of 3 boys on his order - another one was killed just yesterday - are you aware? Imagine the number of people he has slaughtered like farm animals on the accusation they spy for Israel. See how he delights in trading/dealing in death. I bet he lives in Qatar of Turkey, nowhere else in the world is suitable for him unless swath valleys in Pakistan, Taliban areas, or ISIS headquarters.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs