Head of Hamas’s political bureau, Khaled Mashal has accused Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu as responsible for recent rises in violence and terror attacks in Israel. He also praised European states for their positions on recognizing “Palestine” as a state, in reference to France and Britain’s recent votes.
In an interview with British media, Mashal focused his verbal attacks on Netanyahu claiming that he is responsible for the deaths of Israelis killed in terror attacks, as well as flaming a “religious fight”, similar to accusations made by Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas two weeks ago who accused Netanyahu of “instigating religious war”.
He stated that, “Netanyahu is responsible for the killing of the Israelis first, and the Palestinian deaths that followed, because of what is being committed against our people and for them not having hope on the horizon for a just settlement of the Palestinian cause” adding that the Palestinian cause is a “national fight” and that “Netanyahu is turning it into a religious fight. He bears responsibility for the consequences of what is happening.”
Mashal’s remarks intentionally come during a period in which the Israeli coalition government has dissolved, several MK’s verbally attacking Netanyahu for recent rise in riots and for dividing Israel’s political parties, actions which resulted in Netanyahu firing both Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni for their attacks on the government and leadership.
In recent weeks, tensions lessened and security concerned lowered in Jerusalem’s Old City. Mashal however placed blame on Israel when he stated that, “Netanyahu is playing with fire when he allows members of his government, the Knesset, and the extremists to repeatedly storm the Al-Aqsa mosque” in reference to few Knesset members visiting the Temple Mount.
Mashal placed blame on the State of Israel for the “Palestinian issue” as well as the international community claiming that “Israeli stubbornness, combined with the international impotence in solving the Palestinian issue with a just solution… will lead to chaos in the region, not just in the Palestinian arena, but an open conflict – a bloodbath. We warn against keeping the Palestinian issue with no solution and stripping the Palestinian people of hope.”
His comments come after years of Hamas’s refusal to negotiate with Israel.
Mashal stated for the first time that Hamas supports a two-state solution, a claim that many members of Hamas refuse to accept and call for the destruction of Israel. He claimed that Hamas is interested in maintaining it’s unity government with the Palestinian Authority, however stated that Hamas would not disarm and criticized Abbas for its security cooperation with Israel.
His remarks come during tensions and increased diplomatic insecurity between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, as Hamas refuses to disarm and directly enter negotiations with Israel.
Mashal stated that the “Palestinian-Israeli security cooperation is unacceptable, to the public and on the national level, especially in light of what the Israeli occupation is doing through its continued acts of aggression. In light of the dead-end on the political horizon, there has to be a change in the instruments used by the Palestinians.”
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Amir Tsarfati, a Jewish Christian, is the founder and president of Behold Israel, a news site to correct the scarcity in trustworthy reportage on issues and events impacting Israel, and to resolve the uncertainty about who or what to believe.