(photo credit: AP)
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal on Friday called Israel “the obstacle” to peace in the Middle East and urged the US to “deal with this reality and not put pressure on the Palestinian or the Arab side.”
In an interview with PBS, Mashaal said his organization had no problem with the US, calling it “a great state.” But, he said, “its interest should not be at the expense of the interests of others and the peoples of the region.”
"If America wants democracy and human rights, it has to give the same
rights to the people in the region,” he said. It's support of Israel
“complicates matters,” he added.
Mashaal spoke out against the isolation of Hamas, saying the US "should
have direct dialogue with Hamas without mediators … Why does [US
Mideast envoy George Mitchell] believe that he will succeed in the
Palestinian issue without dialogue with Hamas?"
Mashaal said that just as the Obama Adminstration had accepted the
results of Israel's election despite the rise of “extremists” to power,
it should accept Hamas's victory in the 2006 Palestinian election.
Failing to do so showed a double standard, he said.
The Hamas leader said he did not support violence against civilians and
said attacks on Israel would stop once it withdrew to the 1967 borders.