Mashaal: We’ll talk to U.S., but not to Zionists
Hamas politburo chief says group willing to hold talks with any international factor, except ‘Zionist enemy’; adds that threats by U.S., European countries to cut off aid to Palestinians ‘indicative of their double standards, which contradict the democratic slogans they wave’
Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal said his organization is willing to hold talks with any international factor, including the United States, without predetermined conditions.
“During these talks we will protect our nation’s rights because the popular trust bestowed on us gives us this responsibility,” Mashaal said.
However, he reiterated that Hamas would not have any contact with the ‘Zionist enemy.’
In an interview with London-based Arabic-language newspaper el-Hayat on Monday Mashaal addressed the U.S.’s stance regarding Hamas and the financial aid the Palestinian are expected to receive from here on end.
Speaking from his Damascus home the Hamas leader said President George W. Bush’s recent threats are indicative of the embarrassing situation he is in, adding that the threats made by Washington and European countries to halt the allocation of funds to the Palestinian Authority “do not scare us.”
“While it is true that facing a vile enemy such as the Zionist enemy, which is supported by the U.S. and other international factors, is not an easy task,” Mashaal said.
'Threats do not frighten us'
“But Hamas has succeeded on the resistance front and has forced the Zionist enemy to withdraw from Gaza; it will also succeed in the diplomatic arena, as well as other arenas, as long as it bases its strength on the power given to it from the people.”
Returning to the subject of the international threats to cut off financial aid to the Palestinians, Mashaal said “they (threats) embarrass them (countries) more than they do us and are indicative of their double standards, which contradict the democratic slogans they wave.”
“The threats do not frighten us because the sums, especially those received from the U.S., focused on specific projects selected by the U.S.,” he said.
“Hamas will compensate for these funds through Arab and national support. Hamas is the organization that can transfer these funds without corruption and see to it that PA money does not mix with Hamas money through complete transparency.”
'Iran will support us'
Mashaal added that “international bodies are sending us messages according to which they will continue to support Palestinian endeavors under the new government as well.”
“The Iranian leadership announced that it will support the new Palestinian government and people,” he said.
“This was the viewpoint heard during my visit to Tehran in response the American threats and pressures. Other Arab and Islamic countries have committed to supporting the new government.”
Mashaal stated that Hamas’ victory in the Palestinian elections may serve Syria as well.
“Syria is among those countries that are pleased with our victory,” he said.
“The victory may lift part of the siege on Syria.”
As to the conditions set by the West for talks with Hamas, including the alteration of the group’s covenant, its recognition of Israel and an end to terror, Mashaal said “our position is clear – we do not accept these discriminating conditions, which are not realistic.
Meanwhile, el-Hayat reported that Fatah movement leaders Muhammad Dahlan and Samir Masharawi secretly visited Cairo during a Hamas delegation trip to the Egyptian capital.
According to al-Hayat, Dahlan and Masharawi discussed with Hamas leaders ways of integrating Fatah into the new Palestinian government.
Palestinian sources told the newspaper that Egypt is applying pressure on Palestinian factors, especially on Dahlan and Masharawi’s political bloc, to allow Fatah to join the new government. Egypt told Hamas that Fatah would eventually join the government, as is estimated by Europeans dealing with the issue, the Palestinian sources added.