Hamas: chance for Trump to pressure Israel

Leader of Hamas terrorist group calls on US President to pressure Israel to give into Arab demands while ruling out negotiations.

Arutz Sheva Staff and AFP ,

Khaled Mashaal
Khaled Mashaal
Flash 90

The leader of the Hamas terrorist organization called on US President Donald Trump Wednesday to break with past approaches to Middle East peace and find an "equitable solution" for the Palestinian Arabs.

Khaled Mashaal's comments came as Trump was due to receive Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas at the White House to explore avenues for reviving the deadlocked peace process.

Interviewed by CNN in Doha, Mashaal said Trump has "greater threshold of boldness" than previous US administrations.

"This is a historic opportunity to pressure Israel ... to find an equitable solution for the Palestinian people," he said. "And it will be to the credit of the civilized world and the American administration to stop the darkness that we have been suffering from for many years."

Mashaal pointed to a policy document released Tuesday by Hamas that for the first time shows a willingness to accept the idea of a Palestinian Arab state within lines that existed after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

"This is a plea from me to the Trump administration -- the new American administration -- break out from the wrong approaches of the past and which did not arrive at a result. And perhaps to grab the opportunity presented by Hamas' document," Mashaal told CNN.

The Hamas document stopped short of recognizing Israel or of giving up Arab claims to all of Israel, however, and Hamas' charter has called for its destruction for years.

Mashaal himself ruled out the possibility of negotiations with Israel following the release of the new policy document Monday.

"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',” Mashaal said, referring to Judea and Samaria, part of the "Jewish national home" in the original British Mandate and occupied by Jordan from 1949-1967. The Palestinian Arabs consider the return of this region to Israeli rulek "occupation."

Israeli 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.”