Hamas leader: Israel yet to offer blockade lifting
Khaled Meshaal, the Damascus-based leader of Hamas movement, said on Friday that Israel had still not given the necessary undertakings for a lasting truce in Gaza Strip. "The enemy gave opaque and incomplete answers through Egypt that do not amount to a lifting of the blockade," Meshaal said, according to AFP.
"The enemy has yet to offer a lifting of the blockade and a reopening of the border crossings. They have given no guarantee and we will not agree to any truce except in exchange for a lifting of the blockade and a reopening of the crossings." Meshaal was speaking at a rally in the Syrian capital to celebrate what Hamas regards as its victory in the 22-day war in Gaza that ended with unilateral ceasefires by both sides on January 18.
Meshaal, whose speech was aired on Syrian state television, told more than 1,000 followers that Hamas emerged "victorious" from Israel's deadly offensive that killed more than 1,300 Palestinians. "It is the first real war that the Palestinians won," he conveyed.
Meshaal also slammed anew the Palestine Liberation Organisation, which is led by his rival Mahmud Abbas, saying its "institutions have lost their legitimacy years ago."
"Institutions that are opposed to resistance ... are illegal," Meshaal told Friday's crowds in Damascus. "How much longer must we wait for you to reform the PLO and to allow in Hamas and the Islamic Jihad," Meshaal said.