Meshaal Threatens Third Intifada

Hamas politburo leader Khaled Meshaal warned Saturday, November 25, of a third Palestinian intifada if no agreement on a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders was reached within six months.

Meshaal Threatens Third Intifada

"We give the international community six months for real political horizons," Meshaal told reporters in Cairo on Saturday, November 25, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.

"We will not be patient for longer than we have been. If our demands are not met, the Palestinian people will close all political files and launch a third intifada.

"The conflict will be open and the victory in this conflict will be ours," he added.

The Palestinians launched their second intifada in 2000 following a provocative visit by the then opposition leader Ariel Sharon to Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest site.

Since then, the Palestinians carried out frequent attacks against Israeli targets across the occupied Palestinian lands and inside Israel.

But since a fragile ceasefire was declared in early 2005, there has been a sharp reduction in strikes inside Israel.

Meshaal called for seizing on the current "historic opportunity" to establish a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.

"There is an historic opportunity for a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders" he said.

"Seize this opportunity," he urged.

Israel rejected Friday, November 24, a Palestinian offer to halt rocket launching into Israel in exchange for a cessation of the Israeli military operations in the Palestinian territories.

Unity Gov't

Meshaal, who is based in Damascus, has been holding talks with Egyptian officials in Cairo on the problems facing the formation of a Palestinian unity government.

"The national unity government will be formed. We, the Palestinians, are one people. We have no choice but to agree," he said.

The unity government has been seen as crucial to lifting a crippling Western blockade on the Palestinians, and securing a prisoner swap deal with Israel.

Meshaal said that the formation of the government was dependent on several issues including "a guarantee for the lifting of the blockade."

"The international community must correct the sin it made 10 months ago and lift the blockade."

Led by the United States, Western countries cut vital financial aid to the Palestinian Authority since Hamas took the helm of the Palestinian government in March.

Tens of thousands of civil servants have not been paid in months and banks have shied away from transferring donations for fear of financial sanctions by the West.

Earlier this month, Arab foreign ministers vowed to ignore the West's blockade on the Palestinian Authority and start stepping up payments.

Meshaal welcomed this decision but said it was now time for the cash to start flowing.

"Now we want the implementation, without waiting for a green light from the US or Europe," he added.

Prisoner Swap

The Hamas politburo chief blamed Israel for the delay in an agreement on prisoner swap.

"Israel has been procrastinating and wanted the soldier released without taking account of the 10,000 Palestinian prisoners," he said.

Palestinian groups have taken prisoner Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit late June to swap with Palestinian women and children in Israeli jails.

Since then, Israel has launched an open-ended offensive in Gaza, killing more than 400 Palestinians, half of them civilians, and wounding hundreds.

"Israel was banking on the fact that the aggression in (the Gaza Strip) would lead to the Palestinians releasing the soldier without taking account of the prisoners," Meshaal said.

Israeli troops killed two Palestinians Saturday in the northern Gaza Strip, Palestinian medical sources said.

An unidentified man was shot by Israeli troops near the Karni crossing on the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, the sources said without elaborating.

An Islamic Jihad activist was also killed by Israeli soldiers shortly after he fired an anti-tank rocket at a force operating in the town of Beit Lahiya, the movement and medics said.

Another Palestinian, 25-year-old Ala Samir al-Omri, died Saturday of wounds sustained on November 6 from Israeli tank fire in the town of Jabaliya in northern Gaza, medical sources said.

The latest deaths bring to 5,596 the number of people killed since the 2000 start of the second Intifada, the great majority of them Palestinians, according to an AFP count.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16