Hamas political chief Khaled Meshal said Saturday his movement was ready to give peace negotiations six months to reach an agreement for a Palestinian state in Gaza Strip and the West Bank, but threatened a new uprising if talks fail.
Meshal was meeting with Egyptian officials who have been acting as intermediaries in the crisis over captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and on the formation of a Palestinian unity government of Hamas and Fatah. "We give six months to open real political horizons ... we agreed on the national accord to establish a Palestinian state, with the June 4, 1967 borders," he said. "They have to seize this opportunity."
Meshal warned that if a deal is not reached within that period, "Hamas will become stronger and the resistance will resume ... and will go on with a third uprising."
Meshal also blamed Israel for the lack of progress on a deal that would lead to an agreement to release Shalit in exchange for some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. "We are not the reason behind postponing the decision; the postponing of a settlement is due to the other side," Meshal said.
The Hamas leader was more optimistic on the prospects of forming a unity government, saying that "good strides" had been made.