Khaled Mashaal
Khaled Mashaal AFP photo

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal has called for an end to Palestinian Authority peace talks with Israel and for an armed struggle to “liberate Jerusalem”.

The Maariv daily newspaper quoted on Wednesday the comments that Mashaal made during a visit to Turkey.

"Hamas's military power is the only way to liberate Jerusalem," the head of the group’s political bureau was quoted as having said.

Mashaal called for a popular uprising to fight for Jerusalem, adding that Hamas was gearing up to fight for the release of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

"The first step is to have a violent uprising against Israel which strengthens its occupation of Jerusalem," Maariv quoted him as having told a news conference broadcast live in Lebanon.

Israel and the PA renewed peace talks this past summer following U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s shuttle diplomacy.

Hamas, whose charter calls for Israel’s destruction, has called on the PA, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, to stop peace talks with Israel and focus on national unity instead.

Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah have been at odds with one another since 2007, when Hamas violently took control of Gaza, setting up its own government there and cracking down on Fatah officials who reside in the territory.

Fatah and Hamas signed a reconciliation deal in Cairo in 2011, pledging to set up an interim consensus government of independents that would pave the way for legislative and presidential elections within 12 months.

Implementation of the accord stalled over the make-up of the interim government, and a February 2012 deal signed by Abbas and Mashaal in Doha intended to overcome outstanding differences was opposed by Hamas members in Gaza.

Reports several months ago indicated that Mashaal had expressed his support for a two-state solution to end the Israeli-Arab conflict. Hamas, however, denied those reports.

Meanwhile, Abbas has continued to incite to terror and hatred of Israel, by honoring and glorifying terrorists who killed dozens of Israelis, even while holding peace talks with the Jewish state.

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