Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal revealed the movement's true face in his comments in Gaza over the weekend, President Shimon Peres said Sunday. The Islamist movement's true face is that of a terror organization which advocates killing, does not compromise and wants to keep the poor in Gaza in state of poverty, Peres explained.
Mashaal on Saturday reiterated his movement’s refusal to “give up one inch of the land of Palestine.” Mashaal, who arrived in the Gaza Strip for the first time ever on Friday, said: “Palestine from the river to the sea, from the north to the south, is our land and we will never give up one inch or any part of it." He added, “Jihad and armed resistance are the right and real way to liberate Palestine and restore our rights.”
Speaking at the Globes business conference, Peres said Israel must negotiate with the only Palestinian alternative, Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas, who is a relatively moderate leader opposed terrorism and who has choosen the path of negotiations.
He called on all parties in the political system to think about the future and to stop dwelling in the past. Addressing the government's decision to approve building in the E1 area, Peres said the decision will only be significant if Israel decides to annex the area. He added that the latest move was just another decision, similar to previous government decisions to build in the area.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s spokesman, Mark Regev, also slammed Hamas Saturday night, saying, “What we heard from the Hamas leadership in Gaza today should serve as a wake-up call to anyone who has illusions about the extremist and murderous character of Hamas.”
“They unequivocally restated a maximalist and terrorist position that sees as its goal the total destruction of the Jewish state and fundamentally rejects any compromise,” Regev said.
“I would ask the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, who talks about making a political coalition with these extremists: What does this say about your own stated commitment to peace and reconciliation?”
Meanwhile, Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz said Mashaal deserved to die and should be the subject of a targeted killing, as should all of Hamas’s leadership.
“Mashaal in Gaza is the result of our diplomatic failure in Operation Pillar of Defense,” Mofaz said.
“Netanyahu and Liberman agreed to this. Hamas is raising its head and we must remove it. If Israel continues weakening [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] and avoiding dealing with Hamas, we will see Mashaal in Judea and Samaria in a few years.”
Tovah Lazaroff and Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.