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Meshal: Most Palestinians, from elites to regular people, reject the talks

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From Huffpo, a piece saying that the peace process under Obama is risking greater violence. Interview by Shamine Narwani of Hamas leader Khaled Meshal in Damascus:

KM: These negotiations are taking place for American and Israeli considerations, calculations and interests only. There are no interests at all for us as Palestinians or Arabs. That’s why the negotiations can only be conducted under American orders, threats and pressure exerted on the PA and some Arab countries.

The negotiations are neither supported nationally nor are they perceived as legitimate by the authoritative Palestinian institutions. They are rejected by most of the Palestinian factions, powers, personalities, elites, and regular people — that is why these "peace talks" are destined for failure.

This represents a perfect example of how the US administration deals with the Arab-Israeli conflict — how American policy appears to be based on temporary troubleshooting instead of working toward finding a real and lasting solution.

Consecutive US administrations have adopted this same policy of "managing conflict" instead of "resolving conflict." This can be useful for American tactical and short-term purposes, but it is very dangerous on the long-term and the strategic levels. This approach will ultimately prove catastrophic for the region.

SN: There is debate about whether Hamas accepts the premise of a two-state solution — your language seems often vague and heavily nuanced. I want to ask if you could clarify, but I am also curious as to whether it is even worth accepting a two-state solution today when there has been so much land confiscation and settlement activity by Israel in the West Bank and East Jerusalem? 

KM: Hamas does accept a Palestinian state on the lines of 1967 — and does not accept the two-state solution.

SN: What is the difference between the two?

KM: There is big difference between these two. I am a Palestinian. I am a Palestinian leader. I am concerned with accomplishing what the Palestinian people are looking for — which is to get rid of the occupation, attain liberation and freedom, and establish the Palestinian state on the lines of 1967. Talking about Israel is not relevant to me — I am not concerned about it. It is an occupying state, and I am the victim. I am the victim of the occupation; I am not concerned with giving legitimacy to this occupying country. The international community can deal with this (Israeli) state; I am concerned with the Palestinian people. I am as a Palestinian concerned with establishing the Palestinian state only.

SN: Can you clarify further? As a Palestinian leader of the Resistance you have to give people an idea of what you aspire to — and how you expect to attain it?

KM: For us, the 20 years of experience with these peace negotiations — and the failure of it — very much convinces us today that the legitimate rights of Palestinians will be only be gained by snatching them, not by being gifted with them at the negotiating table. Neither Netanyahu nor any other Israeli leader will ever simply gift us a Palestinian state. The Palestinian Authority has watered down all its demands and is merely asking for a frame of reference to the 1967 borders in negotiations, but Netanyahu has repeatedly refused to accept even this most basic premise for peace. Nor will America or the international community gift us with a state — we have to depend on ourselves and help ourselves.

As a Palestinian leader, I tell my people that the Palestinian state and Palestinian rights will not be accomplished through this peace process — but it will be accomplished by force, and it will be accomplished by resistance. I tell them that through this bitter experience of long negotiations with the Israelis, we got nothing — we could not even get the 1967 solution. I tell them the only option in front of us today is to take this by force and by resistance. And the Palestinian people today realize this — yes, it has a steep price, but there is no other option for the Palestinian people. The Palestinian people tried the peace process option but the result was nothing.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of Mondoweiss.net and founded the site in 2005-06.

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