Both Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres on Sunday condemned
the remarks by Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Gaza a day earlier
refusing to "give up one inch of the land of Palestine."
Mashaal, in a volatile public address during his first-ever visit to the coastal enclave on the 25th anniversary of the Islamist group's founding, lauded the 1,500 rockets that his and other militant groups fired into Israeli cities and towns during the recent eight-day fighting.
Mashaal and Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haneya spoke to tens of thousands of supporters after stepping out of a over-sized model of a rocket fired at Israel.
"Palestine from the river to the sea, from the north to the south, is our land and we will never give up one inch or any part of it," Mashaal said. "Jihad and armed resistance are the right and real way to liberate Palestine and restore our rights."
Responding at the weekly Sunday morning cabinet session in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said "In the last 48-hours, the true face of our enemy has been exposed. They have no intention of compromising with us and want to destroy the state, and in this, they will of course, fail."
Netanyahu, using Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's nom de guerre, Abu Mazen, also took the Palestinian leader to task for not condemning not only Mashaal's call for violence, but also the Kassam and Grad missiles shot at Israel.
"... what is interesting, is that Abu Mazen, not only did not condemn these words on the destruction of Israel, in the same way he previously did not condemn the missiles that were fired at Israel, but is rather seeking unity with the selfsame Iranian- supported Hamas."
"We are a government without illusions; we want true peace with our neighbors, but we're not closing our eyes and burying our heads in the sand," the Israeli prime minister said, adding that " We are unwilling to repeat the same mistake of one-sided withdrawals, that have in fact, brought Hamas control over Gaza."
Meanwhile, Peres, speaking at a business conference Sunday, said "Mashaal exposed Hamas for what it is -- a terror group that advocates bloodshed, that fosters poverty, hunger and misery among the Palestinian people."
The president, however, continued in a more conciliatory tone towards Abbas.
"On the other side of Hamas, there is Abu Mazen, who is a peace partner. He opposes terror and recognizes Israel's right to exist, " Peres said.
"This is not just a time of elections. It is also a time of choices. We have to choose between Gaza and the West Bank, between Abbas and Mashaal," according to Peres. "It's a choice and it has to be made."
(c) 2012 Xinhua News Agency - CEIS. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.
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