(photo credit: Associated Press)
Hamas can direct an intifada even if it sits in power, Hamas leader-in-exile Khaled Mashaal cautioned on Tuesday, adding that that the hudna (calm), like violence, was a Palestinian tactic in the conflict with Israel.
Even the establishment of a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and West Bank will not move Hamas to recognize Israel, as Palestinian lands would still remain "occupied," Mashaal told the Lebanese newspaper Al Safir.
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According to Israel Radio, Mashaal reiterated threats that if the international community failed to set up a framework for a Palestinian state defined by the 1967 borders within six months and assure refugees' right of return, the Palestinians would resume their course of "resistance" against Israel.
Elsewhere on Tuesday, Mashaal's words were backed up by Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, who asserted that in all the time he had served as prime minister, he had never taken steps against Palestinian armed groups or prevented them from carrying out operations.
Speaking at a rally the al-Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria, Haniyeh said his government did not condemn resistance but embraced it.
He emphasized that the Palestinian people would not give up a "single grain of the land of Palestine, nor would it relinquish the right of return for Palestinian refugees."
Haniyeh added that Syrian President Bashar Assad had promised him that all Palestinian security prisoners would be released from Israeli jails.