In an exclusive interview with CNN’s, Christiane Amanpour, in the Egyptian Capital, Cairo, head of the Hamas Political Bureau, Khaled Mashal, stated that his movement is not behind the Tel Aviv bombing that took place Wednesday, and confirmed that Hamas accepts a Palestinian State in the 1967 territory, and is willing to join the nonviolent resistance. Mashal said that it is unacceptable that the Palestinians are being asked to recognize Israel while Tel Aviv never recognized the Palestinian rights to independence and statehood, and is ongoing with its illegal violations and attacks.
Responding to a question about the bombing in Tel Aviv, and the fact that this is the first attack of its kind it six years, Mashal said that Hamas is not behind this bombing, “neither Hamas, nor others” he said, adding that “no one can claim responsibility for this attack except, those who did it!”.
He further stated that the real question about this attack should be “what led to it?, “What are the circumstances that caused this outcome?”, and stated that the answer is Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, his crimes against the children of Gaza, and his ongoing aggression.
Mashal added that Israel started its offensive by invading Gaza and by assassinating Ahmad Al-Ja’bary, the leader of the Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, adding that Israel pulled the region into this latest round of deadly escalation.
Responding to a question about targeting civilians, Mashal said that the resistance does not target civilians, “but we have to look at the origin of the issue, the Palestinians used to live in peace in their homeland before the Israelis came and occupied their land, under International Law, nations that live under occupation have the right to resist, Israel has an advanced army that committed dozens of massacres against the Palestinian people, such as Dir Yassin massacre, Sabra and Shatella…”.
He further stated that Hamas is defending its people, and is retaliating to Israeli offensives, and confirmed that his movement is willing to adopt the nonviolent resistance approach should the Palestinians receive a full recognition of their rights to live as a free, and an independent nation, living in its own independent state.
Furthermore, Mashal said that late President, Yasser Arafat, granted Israel and the international community a real opportunity to reach a peaceful solution, but Israel killed him, and added that current President, Mahmoud Abbas, gave the same chance to Israel, “but what was the outcome, they thwarted his efforts and made him fail”.
“Right now, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and all leaders of the occupation, are besieging us, building settlements, so what does the world want from the Palestinians, we are the victims, and they want us to raise a white flag”.
When asked about a previous decision by Hamas regarding not recognizing Israel, Mashal said that the recognition should come from the party that is the offender, the one that owns all of these advanced weapons, and not from the victim”, and added that the Arab world presented Israel with a generous peace initiative, “but the killing continued”.
“We only have two options here; a real international will, mainly by the United States and the European Union to push Israel into the path of peace and the establishment of an independent state in the 1967 borders, with a recognition of the Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees, and these are issues that all Palestinian factions approve, or Israel just continues to refuse our legitimate rights and we will continue to resist”.
“I accept a Palestinian State within the 1967 border, but how can I recognize Israel that occupies my land”, Mashal said, “We are under occupation, and we need to be recognized”.
As for the internationally guaranteed Right of Return of all refugees, Mashal said that Hamas will never abandon this right, and added; “How come the international community is silent about laws that enabled Jewish around the world to ‘return’ to a land they never inhabited, while the Palestinians who are indigenous to the land have no right of return.
He further stated that Palestine is an Arab land, from the river to the sea, from north to south, but added that “due to the regional circumstances, and the ongoing massacres against the Palestinian people, Palestinian factions, including Hamas, accepted the two-state agenda, that would lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders, “yet, Israel is still rejecting this solution, and the International Community must act and restore justice”.
Responding to a question about the fact that Hamas left Syria, Mashal said that he left Damascus 10 days after the crisis started, in January of 2012, “I felt desperate, after the situation could not be resolved without shedding blood”.
He added that he had differences in opinion with Syrian President, Bashar Assad, regarding how to deal with the situation, and added that “since the first day of this crisis, I told Assad that this is an internal Syrian issue, and that what is happening is part of the Arab Spring, and requires reforms and initiatives presented by the leadership, but when they deployed the army, and the bloodshed that followed, I knew my efforts will fail”.
Mashal also denied reports claiming that after the Hamas movement left Syria, its relations with Iran were severed, but admitted that these relations were affected due to the situation in Syria, yet affirmed that Hamas and Iran still have talks and the connection with Iran is still there”.