Hamas Leader Khaled Mashaal spoke with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in Cairo on Wednesday, where the political leader of the Palestinian organization said he would accept a Palestine state according to the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as the capital, with the right to return. Hamas and Israel have recently agreed on a cease-fire to an eight day conflict that resulted in the deaths of nearly 150 Israelis and Palestinians. The Jerusalem Post reports that Mashaal’s comments to Amanpour are nearly identical to the position on Palestinian statehood taken by his Fatah rival, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Mashaal said he would only recognize Israel once a Palestinian state is created.
“First of all, the offer must come from the attacker, from Israel, which has the arsenal, not from the victim,” Mashaal said to Amanpour’s statement that he will not recognize Israel’s right to exist despite claims that he prefers less violence. “Second, I say to you from 20 years ago and more, the Palestinians and Arabs are offering peace. But peace is destroying peace through aggression and war and killing.”
“Either there’s an international will, led by the U.S. and Europe and the international community and force Israel to go through the way of peace and a Palestinian state, according to the border of 1967 with the right to return,” Mashaal went on to say.
“But if Israel can continue to refuse this, either we force them or resort to resistance.”
Mashaal denied that his party claims responsibility for the terrorist bombing of a public bus in Tel Aviv Wednesday, but did say the “operation” is part of the “massive ramifications” that are coming as “an angry reaction from our angry Palestinian people.”
“Whoever does aggression must pay the price, anywhere in the world, not just from Hamas,” said Mashaal.
Read the full transcript of CNN’s interview with Mashaal or watch a video clip with Chritiana Amanpour below: