GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Exiled Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal plans to visit the Gaza Strip for the first time next month, informed sources told Ma’an on Sunday.
Mashaal hopes to attend the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Islamist movement in Gaza.
Ahmad Yousef, a former adviser to Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh, told Ma’an that Mashaal will be in Gaza soon, but the details of his trip will be confidential.
Mashaal, 56, took over as Hamas leader following the 2004 assassinations of Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi and Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the movement’s founder. With both of them killed in the Gaza Strip, Mashaal has led Hamas from the relative safety of exile.
He narrowly survived a 1997 Israeli attempt to kill him when two agents injected him with poison in broad daylight on a street outside his office in the Jordanian capital.
how often do you hear Western media make a note of the fact that the Hamas leader is not in Gaza?
It is bullshit… and it is known to be bullshit because Abu Mazen was the one who rejected the talks with Olmert. If he can’t even be honest about this then there is no way that he is being honest about POPULATION resistance as opposed to WEAPONS resistance… and the wording of that is kind of disgusting. Are the Arabs intending to impregnate themselves into attrition?
In interview with Euronews, PA president says Fatah, Hamas agree on 1967 lines • Israel Radio: Hamas says its agreement with Abbas is temporary; will never relinquish any part of “Palestine,” nor end armed struggle against Israel.
Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas may be getting closer to striking a unity deal, as they have found common ground, according to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Speaking to the Euronews channel in an interview that aired Friday, Abbas said the Islamist Hamas movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, now sees eye to eye with his own Fatah faction on several key issues. According to Abbas, the bitter rivals have agreed that any deal struck would be implemented in Gaza as well as the West Bank, where Abbas’ Fatah holds sway. They also agreed that resistance must be peaceful, without the use of arms, and that elections would be held on May 5, 2012. Abbas told Euronews that the main point the two factions agreed upon was that a future Palestinian state could only be established along the 1967 borders.
“Around one month ago, I had talks with [Hamas political bureau chief] Khaled Mashaal, and we laid down the basis for an eventual agreement,” Abbas recounted. “First, Hamas has come around on the following points: Peace and calm must be established in Gaza as in the West Bank; and resistance must be population-based, not with weapons. Frankly, this was a point we agreed on. The solution is a state based on the 1967 borders. There, again, Hamas agreed. Then there is the organization of legislature elections on May 5, 2012.”
Israel Radio, however, reported that Hamas had recently stressed that an agreement such as that described by Abbas would only be acceptable as an interim solution, and that Hamas would not agree to relinquish any part of “Palestine,” nor would it be willing to end the armed struggle against Israel.
Abbas, on the other hand, accused Israel of standing in the way of peace, saying, “We are a people under occupation. We claim our independence. We believe in peace. The main problem is that Israel refuses and the United States approves, and we are always in negotiation to convince them that peace is not only in the interest of the Palestinians but also the Israelis and the region, internationally. Therefore, pressure must be brought on those who refuse, and who stand in the way of peace. I say to them, ‘Here is our position. Frankly and clearly, tell me where my mistake is, and I am ready to correct my error.’ But they don’t find any error.”
Addressing Sunday’s release of 550 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails in the second phase of the prisoner swap for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, Abbas criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s disregard for agreements the Palestinians made with his predecessor Ehud Olmert.
“What happened is that the soldier Shalit was kidnapped, negotiations for his liberation lasted for five years, and a deal was reached between Hamas and Israel [on] the number of prisoners to be exchanged. But I had made an agreement with the former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert: When Shalit was set free, Israel would free as many prisoners for the Palestinian Authority as were covered under the deal with Hamas. Netanyahu condemned this agreement. Even [U.S. President Barack] Obama stepped in around a year ago, and told me he would talk to Netanyahu about freeing prisoners, and that is what he really did, informing me that Netanyahu had accepted. I responded, ‘The same goes for me,’ and then it was all forgotten.”