Mashaal: Black fate awaits IDF in Gaza

Exiled Hamas leader warns soldiers against ground op; calls for "lifting of siege, opening of borders."

Mashaal it wasnt me 224. (photo credit: AP [file])
Mashaal it wasnt me 224.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal warned Israel on Friday against a ground operation in Gaza, saying "a black fate" awaited its soldiers. On Saturday evening, IDF infantry, tanks and engineers went into the Strip. "To the enemy soldiers who are preparing a ground invasion for us, know that a black fate awaits you of death and death and injuries," he said. "There will be a second, and a third, and a fourth [Gilad] Schalit." "We're sure of our victory, as we've prepared a better battle, and as Allah is on our side," he said on a videotape that was aired on Al-Jazeera on Friday. The Damascus-based Mashaal said that despite Israel's air attacks, which "succeeded in eliminating a lot of people in Gaza..., the resistance [Hamas] is fine and its infrastructure is fine, and it didn't lose but a very few people." Hamas would neither surrender nor yield to Israel's demands for a cease-fire, he said. "We will not surrender. We will not be broken. We will not submit to the conditions of the enemy who wants to impose surrender upon us, and our demands our clear: a halt to the aggression, lifting the siege and opening all of the crossings." He also warned Israeli leaders that "the blood of Gaza is the shortest path to your failure and to ending your political careers." He noted that Hamas's men were continuing to attack Israel and said they had even "penetrated Israeli radio frequencies." Mashaal praised West Bank Arabs, asking Allah to bless them and put them on the road to "a third intifada" until all their demands are met. Also on Friday, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah accused Arab foreign ministers, who met Wednesday in Cairo under the auspices of the Arab League, of being accomplices of Israel, since they waited five days after the IAF attacks began before convening on the issue of Gaza. "Unfortunately, even on the official Arab level, the aggression began [last] Saturday and the Arab foreign ministers did not meet until Wednesday, and they didn't decide to host an Arab summit or anything else because what is happening in Gaza isn't deserving of Arab rulers convening at one table!" he said. Nasrallah also criticized the outcome of the foreign ministers' meeting, saying "the most they were able to achieve was to form a delegation to go to the United Nations Security Council next Monday." He said that sending a delegation on Monday was not doing enough, and charged that they chose to do so "to give Israel an opportunity" to achieve its aims in Gaza. "Why Monday? Why not on the same day [of the meeting] Wednesday, or Thursday, or Friday, or Saturday or Sunday?" He further criticized Egypt and other Arab states, saying that if indeed Arab countries' positions reflected the views of their people, "why are the police deployed in the streets to forbid demonstrations?" "Those rulers cannot tolerate to bear the screams of a few thousand on this street or that street, asking them to shoulder their responsibilities," he said. Nasrallah said that the "faith factor" in the Arab-Israeli conflict, which had allowed the Lebanese resistance to grow, was something that neither the "Zionists" nor some of the leaders of the Arab states, "who are accomplices with the Zionists," could understand. These leaders, he said, mistakenly thought that they could "erase" the Palestinian resistance, just as they thought they could erase the Lebanese resistance during the Second Lebanon War. Nasrallah boasted that the Israeli government was ambivalent about launching a ground operation in Gaza because of the 2006 war. "It is true that there is a bloody scene in Gaza, but there is hesitancy in Israel," he said. Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report