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.

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    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.

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