Hamas seeks to end Israeli siege on Gaza: Ex-chief
The former chief of Palestinian group Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, said his movement was seeking to end Israel’s 11-year blockade on the Gaza Strip without engaging in direct negotiations with Israel.
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"Israel will not surrender land and sovereignty to us unless it is forced to do so,” Meshaal said in an interview with the Qatar-based Al Jazeera television aired late Monday.
Israel has imposed a siege on the Gaza Strip in 2006 after Hamas was voted to power after winning the Palestinian parliamentary election.
The following year, Israel tightened up the blockade after Hamas seized Gaza from rival Fatah group after deadly infighting.
The crippling Israeli blockade has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.
In recent weeks, Egypt has been trying to strike a truce deal between Palestinian factions in Gaza and Israel.
Meshaal said Hamas "does not seek to appease anyone at the expense of its principles."
"If Hamas wanted to appease the West, you would have seen us sitting with [officials] in the White House and European capitals," he added.
Asked about inter-Palestinian reconciliations, Meshaal said “Hamas has done everything necessary to achieve reconciliation”.
“We have taken major steps [toward achieving reconciliation], but our brothers in Ramallah did not seize on the opportunity,” he said, referring to the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority and rival Fatah group.
In October, Hamas and Fatah -- Palestine’s two main political factions -- signed a landmark reconciliation agreement in Cairo aimed at ending 11 years of bitter division. However, the reconciliation agreement has failed to bear fruit due to ongoing differences between the two factions.