Hamas Leader Khaled Mashaal, responding to a question on whether the resistance movement would ever recognize Israel, said that Palestinians would make that decision once they have a state of their own with no Israeli presence and occupation.
“When we have a Palestinian state then the Palestinian state will decide on its policies. You cannot actually ask me about the future,” Mashaal said through a translator in an exclusive interview by US-based “CBS This Morning” news show co-host Charlie Rose on Sunday.
Prior to that, Mashaal told Rose he is “ready to coexist” with Jews, Christians and Arabs, but “I do not want to live with a state of occupiers”.
“We are not fanatics; we are not fundamentalists. We do not actually fight the Jews because they are Jews per se. We do not fight any other races. We fight the occupiers,” Mashaal said.
The resistance group, which controls the Gaza strip, has demanded that the Israeli regime and Egypt lift their blockades on Gaza in exchange for a truce in the ongoing conflict. Mashaal rejected the idea that it was a precondition for an end to hostilities.
“Life is not a prerequisite. Life is a right for our people in Palestine,” he said. “This is a collective punishment; we need to lift the siege. We have to have a port. We have to have an airport. This is the first message. The second message in order to stop the bloodletting we need to look at the underlying causes, we need to look at the occupation, and we have to stop the occupation.”
He blamed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also appeared on “Face the Nation” Sunday, for the breakdown in peace talks between the two sides earlier this year that failed to produce any results.
“Netanyahu doesn’t take heed of our rights,” Mashaal said. “Netanyahu has killed our hope, has killed our dream, and he has killed the American initiative,” he added, in reference to Secretary of State John Kerry’s role in the peace talks.