Mashaal says Israel will 'disappear'

Hamas leader extracts Iranian promise to give funds to cash-strapped movement.

khaled mashaal 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
khaled mashaal 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Israel will eventually disappear from the world, and the Palestinians should be prepared for that, Israel Radio reported Hamas leader-in-exile Khaled Mashaal saying Tuesday during a meeting in Teheran with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahamdinejad. At a press conference, Mashaal was asked if Hamas had now recognized Israel. The Hamas leader did not answer directly, but said: "The Palestinian government insists on June 4, 1967 borders (for Israel), full Palestinian sovereignty with Jerusalem as its capital."
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  • Ahmadinejad denies Saudi plan support (March 4) He was referring to the borders of the Israeli state before the 1967 war, which broke out on June 5 that year. Iranian Foreign Minister Manoucheher Mottaki said that his government backed the Mecca accord. "Iran supports this initiative, and it also supports any step toward achieving greater unity among Palestinians," the foreign minister said. Last month, Mashaal and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas signed a Saudi-brokered agreement in Mecca under which they would form a coalition government and Hamas promised to "respect" the previous agreements. Mashaal also extracted from Iran a pledge to fund his Palestinian movement to compensate for the West's financial blockade of the Palestinian Authority government. Mashaal, who arrived in Iran early Tuesday, said that Iran had been giving financial and political support to the Palestinians, whose government has been cut off from Western aid since Hamas took office in March last year. "We still look forward to get support (from Iran) to break the political and economic sanctions," Mashaal said. Mottaki told reporters that Iran would continue to provide money to Hamas, but he did not give any figures. Iran is known to have given sums of money to Hamas since it took office following its victory in the PA legislative elections. But there was no word Tuesday on what more would donated. Mashaal met Ahmadinejad on Tuesday and was expected to meet the country's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei before he leaves the country.