Hamas chief's trip to Gaza shows Palestinian hostility, says Israeli PM

Mon, Dec 10, 2012, 00:00

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu says the weekend visit to Gaza by Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal proves that the Palestinians do not intend to compromise with Israel, and he criticised Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas for seeking reconciliation with Hamas.

He said Mr Meshaal’s militant speech reflected the true face of Israel’s enemies.

“They have no intention to compromise with us, they want to destroy our country, and obviously they will fail. Throughout our history, the people of Israel have always overcome such threats.”

On Saturday, in a defiant speech marking Hamas’s 25th anniversary, Mr Meshaal told a mass rally he would never recognise Israel and pledged to “free the land of Palestine inch by inch”. “Palestine is ours, from the river to the sea,” he said, referring to the territory between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean.

Mr Netanyahu also criticised Mr Abbas for failing to condemn Mr Meshaal’s rhetoric. “Sadly, Abbas is working towards reunification with Hamas, which is supported by Iran. He didn’t condemn the calls to wipe out Israel, just like he didn’t condemn the rockets that were fired [from Gaza] at Israel.”

President Shimon Peres said he would still be willing to meet Mr Meshaal as part of a peace process if there was no other option. “Khaled Meshaal is not my first choice for dialogue,” Mr Peres said. “He lives in another era of death and blood, but if we have to, I will talk with him.” He said Israel had to choose between Gaza and West Bank, between Mr Abbas and Mr Meshaal.