Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal invited Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas for unconditional talks on the two factions' divisions, in a television interview Monday. He also told British Sky News that Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, captured by Palestinian fighters in June 2006, is still alive and being treated well.
"We invite Mr Mahmud Abbas to come to Gaza to talk directly without any conditions... to work together to find a solution to the problems in Gaza and the West Bank," Meshaal said, speaking in Damascus. The aim of the talks would be "get back our Palestinian union and find the reasons for our problems and to solve the security problem," he added.
On Shalit, Meshaal stated: "Gilad is still alive and we are treating him in a good way while the Israelis treat our prisoners badly and everyone knows that." Shalit was seized on June 25, 2006 from an army base near Gaza by activists from three groups including Hamas
Meshaal noted Israel was the "problem" in reaching a deal to "let the civilian people from the two sides be free from our conflict." He described rocket attacks into Israel as "an ordinary reaction towards the Israeli occupation" and said that while Hamas did not deny the Holocaust, "we believe the Zionists have exaggerated the numbers to get sympathy from other nations."