Hamas Calls Netanyahu's Defense of Gaza Blockade 'Criminal'

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh slams PM over UN address in which he said militant Islam has taken over Gaza, and that Hamas kicked the PA out of the Strip.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, saying that his defense of Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip in his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Friday was “criminal”, according to a Ma’an News Agency report.

Netanyahu said in his speech on Friday that militant Islam has taken over Gaza and that Hamas, acting as a proxy of Iran, kicked the Palestinian Authority out of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

Ma'an quoted Haniyeh as saying that Netanyahu was making "a desperate attempt to transform the historical occupier into the victim." He added that Netanyahu’s “arrogant” speech would not impact international solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

The Hamas prime minister spoke out against Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as well for his UN address on Friday, saying he was relinquishing Palestinian rights by seeking recognition for a state in pre-1967 borders.

Hamas' founding charter calls for the destruction of Israel and a state in all of the territory between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, though some Hamas officials have suggested they would support a peace deal based on the 1967 lines.

"The Palestinian people do not beg the world for a state, and the state can't be created through decisions and initiatives," Haniyeh said. "States liberate their land first and then the political body can be established."

Ismail Haniyeh AP June 12, 2010

Elaborating on the main objection to the PA-led bid at the UN, Haniyeh stressed Hamas’s position contending that there could be "no mandate for any Palestinian leadership to infringe on Palestinian national rights, nor is there a mandate for any Palestinian actor to make historic concessions on Palestinian land or the right of the Palestinians, foremost among them the right of return."