|Meshaal and other Hamas leaders this weekend in Gaza [Image Source]|
- Meshaal "rejected any concessions over a future Palestine state".
- For the geographically-challenged, he said "Palestine is our land and nation from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river, from north to south, and we cannot cede an inch or any part of it".
- "Statehood will be the fruit of resistance, not negotiations".
- Addressing "tens of thousands of people marking the 25th anniversary of the Palestinian Islamist group's founding, [Meshaal said Hamas] will not recognise Israel... Palestinians would not cede any part of their land."
- "As long as Palestine is ours and Palestine is the land of Arabism and Islam, we can never recognise the legitimacy of Israel's occupation of it".
- "There is no legitimacy for Israel, however long time lasts."
- “God willing, we shall liberate Palestine together, inch by inch... We started this path and we are going to continue until we achieve what God has promised.”
"in stark contrast to an interview he gave CNN less than a month ago when he said Hamas was “ready to resort to a peaceful way, truly peaceful way, without blood and weapon”. He also said Hamas had accepted a two-state solution based on the borders of 1967."
- Rather, it is our enemy’s determination to deny the Jewish people the right to independence in our ancestral homeland. That is why Palestinian Arabs fought for decades to prevent the establishment of Israel in 1948 and why, over the next 20 years, Arab armies tried to destroy us — before there was a single settlement. That, and not the settlement issue, was why the Palestinians turned down Israeli offers of statehood in the West Bank and Gaza in 2000 and 2008.
- And that is why last month, Hamas in Gaza launched yet more rockets at Israel, and why the West Bank’s Palestinian Authority refused to negotiate with us for the past four years. Instead, it unilaterally declared sovereignty in a UN General Assembly resolution that denied any security for Israel or recognition of it as a Jewish state.
- The Palestinians... could have a state if their leaders agreed to sit with ours and work out the complex issues between us.
- One of those issues is borders [as well as the] Jerusalem neighborhoods built after 1967, home to more than half of the city’s Jewish residents and only a few minutes’ drive from downtown... Then there are the West Bank settlements. These communities provide strategic depth to our borders which, before 1967, were as narrow as 8 miles across. But the West Bank — Judea and Samaria — is also the birthplace of our people, our tribal lands.
- The settlements reflect the right of a people to live in its homeland. We are willing to qualify that right — painfully — if the Palestinians agree to live with us in peace.
- Still, all of the settlements account for a very small percentage of the West Bank. Most of them are concentrated in blocs that have become suburbs of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Everyone — Americans, Israelis and Palestinians — understands that these blocs will always remain part of Israel, even if a Palestinian state is negotiated.
- All of the building recently approved by the Israeli government was in Jerusalem and these blocs. So, too, were the preliminary plans for construction in the area known as E1, which were approved last week.
- E1 is a stretch of desert, less than 2 miles long, connecting Jerusalem to its suburb of Maaleh Adumim, home to 40,000 Israelis. Every Israeli prime minister in the past 40 years, including Ehud Olmert and Yitzhak Rabin, has planned to build in E1 in order to prevent Maaleh Adumim’s isolation.
- That construction will not, as the Palestinians claim, divide the West Bank. Just look at a map: E1 in no way obstructs Palestinian Ramallah’s access to Jericho and Bethlehem. In a negotiated two-state solution, short tunnels under E1 can also connect Ramallah with the Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem.
- We stand ready to do the difficult work of peacemaking. Even today, after all the terrorist rockets and denial of our rights, we remain at the negotiating table, waiting for the Palestinians to join us.