Mashaal: Schalit negotiations stalled; Netanyahu to blame

Hamas leader warns more Israeli soldiers will be kidnapped if Palestinian prisoners not released; says US had no right to kill bin Laden.

By REUTERS
May 9, 2011 21:07
1 minute read.
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal 311 Reu. (photo credit: Khaled Al Hariri / Reuters)

PARIS - Hamas leader in Damascus Khaled Mashaal on Monday said that efforts to release kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit had stalled and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was to blame. Mashaal made the comments during an interview with France 24 television.

"Netanyahu is responsible for the delay in his release... we hope negotiations will start again and I hope Netanyahu will not force us to kidnap other Israeli soldiers," he said.

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"If the only way to release our prisoners is the imprisonment of more Israeli soldiers then Israeli authorities and Netanyahu will have to bear the consequences of not having released our Palestinian prisoners," said Meshaal.

Mashaal addressed the killing of Osama bin Laden as well, saying, the United States had no right to kill him, but adding this did not mean Hamas supports al-Qaida's attacks on civilians.

"Concerning bin Laden everyone knows Hamas has differences from al-Qaida ... especially (its) operations targeting civilians, but all this doesn't give the US the right to kill as they please without any regard for the law and to assassinate Arabs and Muslims, blaming everything on them and accusing them of terrorism," Mashaal said.

"The fact they disposed of his body at sea is unacceptable and has touched the dignity of Muslims," Mashaal said, speaking through an interpreter.

Mashaal, who lives in exile in Syria's capital while Hamas runs Gaza, took a cautious stance on events in Syria but called for more democracy.

"We want to see more stability, prosperity and a stronger government that responds to the people's aspirations," he said.

"(We want) more freedom and democracy in order to serve the interests of the people and reach a model between the regime and the people and help strengthen the country against external aggression."


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