Mashaal 248.88 ap.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Hamas has stopped launching rockets at Israel and is looking to establish a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, the Islamist group's political leader Khaled Mashaal told The New York Times in an interview published Monday. He went on to say that Hamas supported "a state on the 1967 borders, based on a long-term truce. This includes east Jerusalem, the dismantling of settlements and the right of return of the Palestinian refugees," specifying that by a "long-term" agreement he meant 10 years.
Mashaal, who was re-elected as the leader of the movement's political bureau for the fourth time earlier this week, called the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel "a method, not a goal," and said that the cessation of such aggression was "part of an evaluation from the movement which serves the Palestinians' interest."
The Times also quoted the Damascus-based leader as saying that Hamas sought to agree to a truce with Israel, as well as an agreement to swap captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit with multiple Palestinian prisoners.
He did not, however, stray far from the group's previous statements, reiterating, "There is only one enemy in the region, and that is Israel," and opining that pushing Hamas to recognize Israel was merely "a pretext by the United States and Israel to escape dealing with the real issue and to throw the ball into the Arab and Palestinian court."
Addressing US President Barack Obama's administration, he vowed that Hamas would be "part of the solution, period." He praised Obama for using "different and positive" language in his recent overtures to the region, but said that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was using words which "reflect the old administration policies."
On the Iranian regime's support for Hamas, Mashaal told the Times, "Iran's support to us is not conditioned. No one controls or affects our policies."