Meshal: Israel Is the Main Obstacle to Mideast Peace

In an interview with Charlie Rose, Hamas leader says that Israel, U.S. are responsible for standstill in talks to release Gilad Shalit.

Natasha Mozgovaya
Natasha Mozgovaya
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Natasha Mozgovaya
Natasha Mozgovaya

Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal spoke out on Friday against American support of Israel and said that the Hamas was not against the United States but rather against its bias in favor of Israel, and stated Israel as the main obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

Khaled Meshal

"We dont have a problem whatsoever with the United States, nor with the American interests," Meshal told U.S. broadcast journalist and acclaimed interviewer Charlie Rose. "America is a great state; it is a superpower and its right to keep its interests, but its interests shouldnt be at the expense of others and the people of the region."

"Israel is the obstacle in the face of peace in the region and the United States of America, morally and politically, has to deal with this reality and not put pressure on the Palestinian or the Arab side," Meshal argued.

Meshal also criticized the U.S. for not holding direct talks with the Hamas and questioned whether U.S. special Mideast envoy George Mitchell could succeed in his mission to bring peace to the region without the Hamas.

"I think that the United States of America should have direct dialogue with Hamas without mediators, because the United States is a major state, and it shouldn't fear Israel, and it should have dialogue with all concerned parties in the region," Meshal said. "Why does he [George Mitchell] believe that he will succeed in the Palestinian issue without dialogue with Hamas?"

"Why did the American administration accept the Israeli election regardless of the results, it accepted [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, it accepted extremists like [Foreign minister Avigdor] Lieberman, to be the head of the diplomacy, and did not accept Hamas," he added and called this a "double standard."

Hamas was elected into power in the Gaza strip in 2007. The Palestinian secular Fatah movement, headed by Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, did not accept the religious party's rulein Gaza. The U.S. and the European Union both consider the Hamas a terrorist organization and do not directly talk to its leaders.

Meshal told Rose that he condemned any violence against citizens all over the world, and added that he did not support terrorist attacks, promising that once the occupation of Arab land around the world ceased and Israel withdraw back to the 1967 borders, so would the attacks.

"There is an outrage in the Arab world and the Muslim world about the Israeli crimes and the Israeli occupation, and about the American biased politics in favor of Israel and the American and European policies against the interests of the Arabs and in favor of Israel, "Meshal said.

"The overall feeling in the Muslim world is that the Americans are supporting Israel," he added. "If we are to really stop such operations [terrorist attacks] we have to have a just solution for the cause of Palestine and to stop the occupation in Iraq and in Afghanistan."

The Hamas leader urged the U.S. to provide his militant movement with technologically advance missiles "so we can use them very accurately against military targets and not civilians," and denied that Hamas hides its rockets amongst civilians.

When asked regarding abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been held captive by the Hamas since 2006, Meshal shifted the blame for the standstill in the talks for his release onto "Netanyahu and his smaller government," and the U.S.

"Unfortunately, the American administration had a negative influence in delaying the exchange agreement because it requested Netanyahu not to have the agreement in order not to make Hamas stronger and weaken Mahmoud Abbas,' he said, quoting Noam Shalit, Gilad's father.

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