Khaled Mashaal in Gaza (file)
Khaled Mashaal in Gaza (file)Reuters

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal outlined the new path Hamas plans to take, following the unity deal reached with Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction last Wednesday.

Mashaal spoke by phone on Wednesday at the funeral of the brothers Adel and Imad Awadallah, two former leaders from the 1990s of Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's military branch.

"We have no history and no future other than in jihad and struggle, and beside the path of the struggle, we are also working actively on the path of diplomatic policy and popular mass struggle," remarked Mashaal.

The Hamas leader explained that aside from jihad, Hamas supports also "pursuing the Zionist entity in international courts and the United Nations (UN)."

Mashaal praised the Awadallah brothers, who planned a series of deadly attacks on Israel, and whose bodies were returned to the PA on Wednesday. He added that "self-sacrifice" is the path that has kept the "Palestinian cause" alive and breathing.

While Mashaal left no doubt that jihad is the cornerstone of Hamas policy, Abbas claimed last Tuesday that "the upcoming government will obey my policy," adding that he rejects "violence and terrorism" and recognizes international commitments.

However, a Fatah official in early April declared that the two-state solution is dead and called for the return to armed struggle.

A senior Hamas official said Tuesday that Hamas will never recognize Israel's right to exist or put its terrorist army under PA control, calling Abbas "very weak" and hinting at the tensions persist between the rival factions despite the unity deal.

Mashaal himself in early March said that when a terrorist is killed "we praise Allah," adding “jihad in the path of Allah is the pinnacle of our aspirations, and it's our life.”