The political leader of Hamas Khaled Mashaal said this week that he does not intend on officially recognizing Israel and its right to exist in order to pave the way towards a Palestinian unity government with Fatah.
Mashaal also said he was not responsible for the kidnapping operation of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in Gaza in June, but said he was proud of those who conducted the abduction and said that any Palestinian can feel proud as well.
"First it wasn't me who took the decision to kidnap the soldier and I had no previous knowledge. Second, I don't think that those who carried out this heroic operation, which I am proud of, should have regrets," Mashaal said in an interview with the London-based daily al-Hayat newspaper.
As to the proposed recognition of Israel, Mashaal admitted that the “Zionist entity” was an established fact, and added that “there is an entity whose name is Israel, yes, but I am not interested in recognizing it." He also said that regarding the recognition of past agreements already signed with Israel, he will implement them only if they serve the interests of the Palestinian people.
To the prospects of peace in the region and the continuation of the armed struggle, Mashaal said that if the international community was able to find a way to give the Palestinians back their rights without an armed struggle, Hamas would adopt such a course of action since, Mashaal claimed, the armed struggle is only a means and not an end.