Hamas’s Prime Minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, on Sunday called world countries to take Hamas and other Arab terror groups off their lists of designated terrorist organizations, Channel 10 News reported.
According to the report, Haniyeh accused Israel of being the greatest terrorist state in the world, saying, “It's time to do it (take Hamas off terrorist organization lists –ed). Hamas, for example, is a national liberation movement that operates within the boundaries of Palestine.”
Haniyeh made the remarks during a meeting with a delegation of Europeans.
"We have no problem with Jews all over the world and we are not against the Jews simply because they are Jews,” he said, adding, “We have a problem with the occupation that controls our lands.”
“Palestine is the only country which is under occupation," he said, calling for an investigation into what he termed “the crimes of the Israeli leadership,” including the airstrikes in Gaza during the recent Operation Pillar of Defense.
The IDF’s operation had targeted Hamas’s terror infrastructure in Gaza and was launched after Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist groups fired endless numbers of rockets on citizens in southern Israel.
Haniyeh claimed that if the Goldstone Report that was published after Operation Cast Lead in late 2008 had been implemented, Israel would not have dared to act in Gaza as it did during Operation Pillar of Defense.
"It is true that the fire was stopped after Egyptian mediation, but the problem was not with the ceasefire, but with the occupation. This is the source of instability in the region,” accused Haniyeh, according to Channel 10.
"We are grateful for the international efforts that led to stopping the fighting, but we want full sovereignty over our state with its capital in Jerusalem,” he said. “We want our people to return to the homes taken from them 64 years ago and to end the occupation once and for all.”
The video was aired on Hamas’s Al Aqsa TV the day after the ceasefire was announced.
Haniyeh’s comments were made three days after the United Nations voted to pass a resolution upgrading the Palestinian Authority’s status to that of a non-member observer state.
Hamas welcomed the UN vote, but on the same day it issued a statement rejecting the UN’s famous Resolution 181, in which the world body voted in favor of a plan to recognize two states in what was then British Mandatory Palestine – one Arab, and one Jewish.
Hamas’ Thursday statement indicated that its approach to the “problem” of Israel has not changed. “The Palestinian people will not recognize the resolution and will not legitimate the Zionist occupation of the history land of Palestine,” it declared.
The “land of Palestine” extends “from the sea to the river, from the north to south of the land,” it added. The land “will not be divided with anyone,” the group insisted.