'Hamas signed unity pact from position of weakness'
Minister for Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya'alon says reconciliation agreement between Palestinian factions will not stand test of time. 'Will Abbas take control of Gaza Strip and empty it from rockets? Will he allow Hamas to enter Judea and Samaria? If he does, the place will turn into Hamastan,' he says
Minister for Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya'alon commented Saturday on an interview published by the Wall Street Journal, in which Hamas politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal said his organization will determine the nature of the resistance against Israel – including the use of violence – in coordination with the Fatah.
"I've heard plenty of statements like this; particularly those said in English and addressed to western audiences," Ya'alon said.
Attending a cultural event in Beersheba, the minister said he has been closely following developments in the Palestinian arena. "I read what they say, especially in Arabic. Hamas is an organization that ultimately aims to establish an Islamic country.
"In his 2006 victory speech in Damascus (Mashaal) didn’t mention Palestine or Israel. He said something that (Founder of Hamas Sheikh Ahmed) Yassin said when he was under the pressure of targeted killings. This is not the end of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and I am not fazed by English statements made to the Wall Street Journal," he noted.
Commenting on the unity pact between the Palestinian factions, Ya'alon said Hamas signed the agreement out of a position of weakness.
"Their ideology allows temporary compromises in certain situations. The reconciliation was obtained out of a position of weakness, because Hamas does not have a firm grip on the Strip and there's a lot of internal criticism going around.
"Hamas was weakened in the last round (of fighting with Israel). Its militants were injured and its rocket capabilities are in question because Israel has an answer – the Iron Dome," Ya'alon noted.
While the minister for Strategic Affairs said Israel should take advantage of the relative calm, he stressed that the reconciliation was only temporary. "Will (Palestinian President) Mahmoud Abbas take control of the Gaza Strip and empty it from rockets? Will he allow Hamas to enter Judea and Samaria? If he does, the place will turn into 'Hamastan'. If he releases prisoners, the situation will critically change," he said.
Ya'alon also commented on the assassination of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, saying: "Any leader that is connected to the axis of evil – whether he is the head of a rogue state that sponsors terrorism like Syria or Iran or the head of a terrorist organization – does not sleep well at night.
"Nasrallah definitely does not sleep so well in bunkers. The West hasn't called (these leaders) illegitimate yet. How is it that the president of Iran calls for the destruction of Israel and still carries a speech at the United Nations?" Ya'alon wondered.
"I would expect the West to isolate him politically and ban him from entering any western country. In Syria we see a leader that is massacring his own people, and the West stutters. This is hypocrisy that stems from whatever interests, and I hope it changes soon," the minister concluded.
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