Hamas PM Haniyeh calls Israel ‘cancer'

Rounding up a three-day visit to Iran, Haniyeh reiterates refusal to recognize, compromise with Israel.

Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh arrives in Tehran Iran 390 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl)
Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh arrives in Tehran Iran 390 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl)
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh continued Monday to issue fiery statements about Israel, which he compared to a cancer that is threatening to spread to other parts of the body.
Rounding up a three-day visit to Iran, Haniyeh said in an interview with an Iranian TV station that Israel remained the “main enemy” of the Arab and Islamic world.
Reiterating Hamas’s refusal to recognize Israel or compromise on Palestinian rights, Haniyeh praised Iran for its “unconditional support” for the Palestinians and his movement.
Iran’s stance toward the Palestinian issue is a strategic one, the Hamas leader said.
“Iran’s support for the resistance and the Palestinian people stems from an Islamic commitment and belief and moral and political values.”
Haniyeh pointed out that Iran supported the Palestinians during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip more than three years ago.
“The reality is that the Palestinians are under occupation and the Islamic Republic of Iran has faithfully heeded their appeal for help,” he said. “Iran never asked for anything in return for its support.”
He also denied reports about tensions between Hamas and Iran over the situation in Syria.
With regards to last week’s Qatari-brokered reconciliation accord between Hamas and Fatah, Haniyeh expressed hope the two sides would be able to form a Palestinian unity government in the near future.
The proposed unity government, he said, would consist of Palestinian technocrats and would not deal with political issues or negotiations with Israel.
Instead, the unity government would focus on lifting the blockade on the Gaza Strip, preparing for presidential and parliamentary elections and rebuilding the Gaza Strip, Haniyeh said.
On Monday, Haniyeh arrived in Abu Dhabi, where he was received by the ruler of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed.
In addition to Iran and the UAE, Haniyeh’s current tour has taken him to Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain.
Sources close to Hamas said Haniyeh may also visit Saudi Arabia later this week.
This is Haniyeh’s second tour outside Gaza since Hamas seized control of the Strip in 2007. Last month, he visited Egypt, Sudan, Turkey and Tunisia.