- April 21, 2008
Mishaal: Hamas accepts a state on 1967 borders without recognizing occupation
Head of Hamas”s political bureau Khaled Mishaal has affirmed on Monday that his Movement was amenable to establishing a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital but without recognizing the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Mishaal”s remarks were made in a press conference he held in the Syrian capital Damascus where he also emphasized the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland in occupied Palestine.
He also explained that his Movement has “politely” turned down a request by former US president Jimmy Carter to announce a unilateral ceasefire for 30 days, underlining that the Palestinian rocket attacks on IOF positions and on the Israeli settlements around the Gaza Strip were “reaction rather than an action”.
He noted that Hamas had declared a unilateral ceasefire more than once in the past, but the Israeli occupation government had never respected or reciprocated those steps.
Mishaal and Carter met twice in the Syrian capital over the past couple of days despite strong objection from the US administration and the Israeli occupation government.
“Our main objective of reaching a comprehensive truce with the IOA was to protect our Palestinian people, to lift the siege, and to open the Rafah crossing point, which spurred us to reject Carter”s proposal”, asserted Mishaal during the conference.
As far as the case of the captured IOF corporal Gilad Shalit was concerned, Mishaal explained that his Movement has disagreed to a suggestion made by Carter to swap Shalit with 71 Palestinian prisoners in addition to children, women prisoners, and the kidnapped PA lawmakers and ministers.
“The issue of the prisoners is very sensitive and concerns almost every Palestinian household; hence, we told Carter that we prefer to follow up the issue through indirect negotiations and via the mediators, especially the Egyptian mediator, in order for us to secure the number we have had tabled”, underlined Mishaal.
However, he added, Hamas has agreed to a request from Carter to transmit a letter form Shalit to his family to reassure them of his well-being despite the fact that the Israeli occupation authorities maltreat Palestinian captives and deny them family visits.
With regard to holding a referendum on a possible PA-Israeli peace agreement, Mishaal pointed out that the National Harmony Document, which was signed by all Palestinian factions including Hamas and Fatah on 2006 was transparent in obliging the PA negotiating team to subject any possible peace deal with Israel to either a transparent and free popular referendum where all eligible Palestinians voters inside and outside of Palestine are to vote on it; or to present the agreement before a duly elected Palestinian national council for voting.
But he noted that there could be no plebiscite amidst the current political rift in the Palestinian arena, underscoring that “national reconciliation should precede any popular referendum”.
Rafah crossing point:
Concerning the opening of the vital Rafah crossing point, Mishaal underlined that the crossing point should be permanently opened being a purely Palestinian-Egyptian crossing point.
Yet, he explained that his Movement had briefed Carter on all the negotiations Hamas officials had with the Egyptians over this point, underlining that Hamas was agreeing to a formula where Egypt, Hamas, the PA leadership, and the EU observers would operate the border terminal, and that the EU observes are to be based in Egypt and not in “Israel”.
In the past, the IOA used to control the closing and opening of the Rafah crossing point by blocking the EU observers from traveling there, which means [under the infamous 2005 crossing agreement] that the gate should remain closed.
Finally, Mishaal underscored that Hamas was and still is amenable and open for Palestinian national reconciliation with all its obligations, including the formation of a national unity government, restructuring the PA security apparatuses on healthy basis, and respecting fundamentals of the political game in the PA among other obligations.