Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal said that his organization will determine the nature of the struggle against Israel, including the possible use of violent resistance, in accordance with the Fatah movement.
"How to manage the resistance, what's the best way to achieve our goals, when to escalate and when to cease fire, now we have to agree on all those decisions as Palestinians," Mashaal said in a Wall Street Journal interview published Saturday, following the reconciliation pact signed between the two Palestinian factions at the beginning of the week.
The reporter noted that Mashaal's comments "suggested a power-sharing agreement signed Wednesday between his militant party and the more moderate Fatah party could significantly change the Palestinian approach toward the peace process."
The Hamas leader told the newspaper that "negotiations with Israel, domestic governance, foreign affairs, domestic security and resistance and other field activities against Israel, would all be reached in consensus between Palestinian factions."
According to Mashaal, though Hamas will not attack Israel without the prior consent of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the organization still has a right to carry arms as part of its struggle against Israel.
'nonviolence an option'Sources close to the Palestinian president told the Wall Street Journal that prior to signing the unity pact in Cairo, Mashaal said Hamas was willing to adopt a strategy of nonviolent resistance – at least for the time being.
"They accept nonviolent resistance. That's what Mashaal said in closed meetings," said Fatah senior official Nabil Shaath, who attended the talks between the sides. "He said 'we cannot do violence and you do nonviolence. It does not work out.' "
Meanwhile, an Israeli official told the American newspaper that Mashaal's comments are unlikely to convince Israel that Hamas is abandoning violence.
"We don't buy that. (Mashaal's) actions prove otherwise and Hamas's charter clearly calls for the destruction of Israel and all-out jihad," said the official.
White House officials told the Wall Street Journal that Washington is studying Mashaal's comments. The officials stressed that the US is willing to involve Hamas in the Middle East peace process on condition that it renounces violence and recognizes the State of Israel.
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