Exiled Hamas Leader Khalid Meshaal
Hamas has said that the Gaza war has put an end to chances of negotiations with Israel, calling on Arabs to pressure Tel Aviv to cease its attacks on the Gaza Strip. In a televised speech on January 10, Khaled Meshaal, the exiled-Hamas political leader, said Israel's offensive on Gaza, which has killed more than 850 Palestinians, had failed because Hamas was still firing rockets at Israel.
"You have finished off the last chance and breath for settlement and negotiations," Meshaal said. "In all modesty ... I can say with full confidence that on the military level the enemy has totally failed, it has not achieved anything.” "Has it stopped the rockets?" he asked of Israel's declared aim in launching the offensive.
Meshaal called on Arabs to pressure their leaders and the international community through protests. "We are living the hardest moments of the resistance now, we want another intifada [uprising] in Palestine and on the Arab street," he said, calling on the Arabs to continue protesting.
Meshaal said that Israel was covering up the true nature of its losses by saying that troops had been killed by their own fire and in accidents. "What did you achieve through this war... other than the killing of children, of innocents?" he asked the Israeli leadership.
"You have lost on the moral and humanitarian fronts ... and you have created a resistance in every house," Meshaal said. He slammed Israel's assault on Gaza as a "holocaust" in which the blood of Palestinian children was being shed to bolster prospects in next month's Israeli elections.
"The enemy has failed by creating a real holocaust on the soil of Gaza. Palestinian blood has become a means to win elections," he said, addressing the Israeli people whose leaders are to face off in general elections on February 10.
Meshaal's comments come as a Hamas delegation is in Egypt, together with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, to discuss an Egyptian ceasefire proposal and possible international monitoring force to enforce an agreement. Meshaal said that any international monitoring force in the Gaza Strip would be treated as an "occupation" force.
"Before any negotiations could take place, Israel had to halt attacks, pull out of the Gaza Strip and lift the siege of Gaza," Meshaal said. He also insisted on Hamas's inclusion, together with the Egyptians and the Europeans, in any monitoring system on the Rafah border. A 2005 agreement to monitor the Rafah crossing did not include Hamas and the Egyptians have said they will stick to that agreement. (Courtesy: Al Jazeera English, January 11, 2009): http://english. aljazeera. net/news/ middleeast/ 2009/01/20091102 13118818. html)