Daily Israel Report

Hamas: Fear of Jihad Led US Voters to Arab-Friendly Obama

In an Al-Aqsa TV address, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal told viewers that US President Obama came to power in the United States due to Islamic jihad.
By Malkah Fleisher
First Publish: 6/30/2009, 9:16 PM

Israel news photo (archive)

In a public address delivered on Al-Aqsa TV by Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, the Damascus-based terror boss informed Arab viewers that U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama came to power in the United States due to Islamic jihad in the Middle East.

During the June 25 discourse, Mashaal said Obama's administration, and its interest in achieving détente with the Arab world, did not come about through American altruism. Rather, witnessing the combative efforts of Palestinians, Lebanese, Iraqis and Afghanis led Americans to vote for Obama in order to "protect their own interests."

Mashaal condemned Obama for acknowledging the victimization of Jews during the Holocaust, while ignoring "our suffering and the holocaust perpetrated by Israel for decades against the Palestinian people," according to a transcript translated and publicized by the Middle East Strategic Information (MESI) organization, with the help of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

However, he also praised Obama for the U.S. president's warming toward Hamas, an organization listed by the U.S. State Department as a terror organization. "We appreciate the new language used by Obama with regard to Hamas," Mashaal said.  "It is the first step in the right direction, toward direct dialogue with no preconditions. We welcome this. Any dealings with Hamas and with the Palestinian resistance forces must be based on respect for the will of the Palestinian people and its democratic choice."

Regardless of the Arab-friendly political climate, Mashaal assured viewers that violence will continue to be used to achieve Arab goals. "The peoples of Europe exercised this right against the Nazis, the U.S.A. exercised this right against British rule, and so did the peoples of Asia and Africa that had been occupied," Mashaal said. "As for 'peaceful resistance,' which people are trying to preach to us - it is suitable for the struggle for civil rights, but not for the liberation of a homeland."

Mashaal also used the opportunity to address Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's recently set criteria for formulating a Palestinian state.  "First of all, we categorically reject the Israeli position, stated by Netanyahu, with regard to the Palestinian rights," Mashaal said,  "especially pertaining to the issues of Jerusalem, the refugees' Right of Return, the settlements, normalization of relations with the Arabs, his views on a Palestinian state, its territory, and its borders, and his condition about a demilitarized state."

He issued a warning to all Arabs not to be "lenient" in accepting Israel as a Jewish State.

The "bare minimum" Hamas will accept, stated Mashaal, is full sovereignty in all of pre-1967 Israel – including Jerusalem - the destruction of all Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and the admission of PA Arabs as citizens into the State of Israel.