Mashaal: No negotiations with the 'occupation'

Hamas leader discusses new policy document, says it reflects consensus among group's members.

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Dalit Halevi,

Khaled Mashaal
Khaled Mashaal
Flash 90

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said on Monday that the group's new policy document reflects the consensus among members of the group.

Speaking at a press conference in Doha, Qatar, Mashaal said that the document is based on two central ideas that combine the struggle and the changing circumstances without compromising the basic principles and national rights of the Palestinian people.

Hamas leaders "are not striving for wars but for liberation, freedom, and withdrawal from occupation and settlement", said Mashaal.

The new policy document notably accepts the idea of a Palestinian state in territories liberated by Israel in the Six Day War of 1967, but also maintains Hamas's longstanding refusal to recognize the State of Israel.

The document also states that Hamas's struggle is not against Jews but rather against the “occupier”, meaning Israel.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded with skepticism to Hamas's new policy, noting, "We see that Hamas continues to invest all its resources not only in preparations for war against Israel, but also in educating the children of Gaza to annihilate Israel.”

"The day Hamas stops digging tunnels and diverts its resources to civilian infrastructure and stops educating to kill Israelis, it will be a real change - and that did not happen," Netanyahu's office said in response to the reports that Hamas is seeking a new direction.

In his remarks on Monday, Mashaal said, "Negotiations with the occupation are not included in the basic principles, and our current policy is that direct negotiations are not held because there is no balance and this serves the interests of the occupation.”

Referring to Hamas's relations with the Muslim Brotherhood, he said, "Hamas is part of the school of the Muslim Brotherhood, but it is an independent Palestinian organization that exists in its own right, and its source of authority is its leadership institutions and it is not subordinate to anyone."

Analysts believe Hamas is trying to disassociate itself from the Muslim Brotherhood in an effort to help its standing in relation to the international community and Arab countries, chiefly Egypt.

Cairo has accused Hamas of being involved in terrorist attacks in the Sinai, most of which have been carried out by the Sinai Province, which is the Islamic State (ISIS) affiliate in Egypt. Hamas denies the accusations.








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