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24 Jan, 2024 20:23

Hamas leader rules out two-state solution

Khaled Mashaal has insisted that Palestinians won’t recognize Israel and that their nation will extend “from the river to the sea”
Hamas leader rules out two-state solution

Senior Hamas official Khaled Mashaal has rejected calls for the negotiation of a two-state peace deal with Israel to end the war in Gaza, proclaiming that the Palestinian people will never legitimize the “Zionist entity” in West Jerusalem by accepting its existence.

”We have nothing to do with the two-state solution,” Mashaal said in an interview posted on Tuesday by Kuwaiti podcaster Ammar Taqi. “We reject this notion because it means you would get a promise for a state, yet you are required to recognize the legitimacy of the other state, which is the Zionist entity. This is unacceptable.”

The Middle East Media Research Institute provided an English translation of the interview, in which Mashaal argued that the Hamas attacks on October 7, which triggered the latest war in Gaza, have revitalized the Palestinian dream of wiping out Israel. He insisted that the independent Palestinian nation must extend from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea and from the Lebanese border to the Gulf of Aqaba.

”I believe that October 7 has enhanced this conviction, has narrowed the disagreements, and has turned the idea of liberating Palestine from the river to the sea into a realistic idea that has already begun,” Mashaal said. “It is not something to be [merely] expected or hoped for. It is part of the plan, part of the agenda, and we are standing on its threshold, Allah willing.”

Mashaal made his comments as US President Joe Biden and other proponents of a two-state solution stepped up pressure on Israeli leaders to seek a negotiated peace deal with the Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rebuffed Washington, insisting that “only total victory will ensure the elimination of Hamas and the return of all our hostages.”

The October 7 attacks left more than 1,100 people dead, including almost 700 Israeli civilians and 71 foreigners, and Hamas fighters took hundreds of hostages back to Gaza. Israel responded by vowing to eliminate Hamas, an allegedly Iranian-backed militant group that has governed the Palestinian enclave since 2006. More than 25,000 people, primarily civilians, have been killed in Gaza since the war began, according to Palestinian health officials.

Mashaal is among several billionaire leaders of Hamas who live in Qatar. He noted that amid the war in Gaza, the slogan “from the river to the sea” has been chanted by pro-Palestinian protestors in major Western cities. He added that Hamas had never intended to merely rule Gaza under Israeli occupation; rather, its governance was necessary to build up “the resistance.”

”It provided a political and administrative cover in all means – the weapons, the weapons production, the planning, the training, and the tunnels – while our backs were safe,” Mashaal said.

West Jerusalem dismantled all Israeli settlements in Gaza in 2005, saying it was no longer occupying the Palestinian enclave.