Hamas head Mashaal
Hamas head Mashaal Israel news photo: (file)

Hamas head Khaled Mashaal gave a speech Thursday evening in response to a policy speech given by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu several days earlier. Mashaal proclaimed that Hamas is ready to cooperate with the international community in order to reach a deal with Israel, but only under conditions it deems favorable.

Specifically, Mashaal rejected every proposal supported by Israel, including Netanyahu's insistence that the Palestinian Authority recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Hamas will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state, because it hopes to see millions of descendents of Arab residents of pre-state Israel “return” to the area, potentially turning Israel into a majority-Arab state, Mashaal explained.

He rejected Netanyahu's proposal that the PA form a demilitarized state within Judea, Samaria and Gaza. “A demilitarized state is a miserable state, not a serious entity,” he stated.

Mashaal also insisted that an Arab state in Judea and Samaria be granted Jerusalem as its capital.

While stating his readiness to cooperate, Mashaal compared Israel to Nazi Germany and expressed support for terrorism. “[Israel] failed in its Nazi war on Gaza, just as it failed in Lebanon,” he said. “This was due to the resistance, not to dialogue, which serves only to hide the true face of occupation.”

Mashaal praised United States President Barack Obama for “using new language” with Israel, but called on the U.S. leader to do more. “We're hoping for real pressure on the Israelis,” he said.

The Hamas leader also mentioned Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier kidnapped by Hamas and affiliated terrorist groups exactly three years ago. Hamas is ready to free Shalit in exchange for imprisoned terrorists he said, but Netanyahu's “extremism” is preventing the deal.

Hamas has demanded the freedom of several hundred terrorists, many of whom were responsible for multiple murders, in exchange for Shalit. The group has refused to allow humanitarian organizations to visit the kidnapped soldier, and has not recently provided proof that Shalit is alive.