Saturday, August 22, 2015

Meeting Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal


In an exclusive interview with al-Araby al-Jadeed, Hamas' political leader revealed five key priorities for a solution to Gaza's problems - before any suggested truce can be achieved.
Efforts towards a lasting ceasefire in Gaza look positive, says Khaled Meshaal, Hamas' top political figure.

Negotiations through intermediaries have yielded some results, though no breakthrough agreement has yet been reached, he added.

Khaled Meshaal became the political head of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic organisation, following Israel's 2004 assassination of its former leader, Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi.

Meshaal was expelled from Jordan in 1999 after Hamas was banned there. He moved to Qatar, then to Damascus in 2001.

In 2012, Hamas distanced itself from the Syrian government and supported the Syrian opposition. Hamas closed its offices in Damascus and Meshaal returned to Qatar.
Al-Araby al-Jadeed's Bashir al-Baker spoke exclusively to Meshaal, who revealed his five key priorities for Gaza in order for a "natural atmosphere to be created for securing a stable ceasefire".

- Reconstruction of the tens of thousands of homes destroyed in Israel's 2014 devastating war on the Strip

- The lifting of the blockade which is strangling the coastal enclave

- Opening the border crossings and allowing for Gazans to travel freely to receive medical treatment, to study, or even just to go on holiday

- Funding for the 50,000 public sector workers - nurses, teachers, police - who have had their salaries cut off by the blockade

- Restoration of Gaza's seaport and airport, and other crucial infrastructure that has been destroyed by Israel

In the interview, which is to be screened by al-Araby TV on Saturday, Meshaal also tells how the former Quartet envoy, Tony Blair, told him that Hamas should offer a truce to Israel.

"Our answer was: We don't need calm or a truce, we don't need new terminologies, as we don't want wars.

"But there is a legitimate resistance that will continue working against the occupation as long as there is occupation and settlements - but we don't want wars."

Meshaal also said that Hamas had been trying for years to reach reconciliation with Fatah through new elections, a single government and working towards achieving community harmony.

Hamas remains open to all efforts established towards a solution for Gaza, Meshaal told al-Araby, but such efforts must not undermine Palestinian rights, or the national interest.

The full interview will be available with translated transcript on Monday 24th August. 

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