Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal urged the United States and the European Union on Sunday to support a reconciliation deal that ended a four-year rift with Fatah, saying the accord was the Palestinian people’s choice.
Meshaal told Reuters in an interview that the issue of Palestinian recognition of Israel could only be addressed after an independent state was set up in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
“The international position, especially that of the Europeans and the Americans, is still unclear but we hope they respect our will and decision,” Meshaal said.
“This is an internal Palestinian issue that no one should delay or place conditions on.”
Meshaal said the international community must pressure Israel to recognize the Palestinians, not the other way around.
“Israel needs pressure. It is an occupier that would not get out by conviction or through dialogue,” Meshaal said, adding that Egypt was only able to enter into peace talks with the Jewish state after the 1973 Middle East war.
“What is needed today … is to have resistance in all forms, armed and public ones,” he said adding that he intends to try to persuade Fatah to adopt his approach to force Israel to end its occupation. “Any occupier in the world never retreats voluntarily … It only retreats under pressure and force.”
Asked if Hamas was ready to recognize Israel as part of a permanent peace deal, Meshaal said the Palestinian people should have their own independent state first.
“First allow the Palestinian people to live on their lands freely … to establish their independent state … then ask the Palestinian people, its government and leaders about their position towards Israel,” he said.