Published: february 17, 2010; Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.
Khaled Mashaal Visits Russia
Khaled Mashaal, head of the Hamas political bureau in Damascus, headed a delegation to Russia on February 12. During the visit he met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Interviewed by the media, he attempted to present Hamas’ “pragmatic” side and smear Israel (similar to the messages Hamas sends to the West while it adheres to its radical positions in statements to Palestinian, Arab and Muslim target audiences).
Interviewed by Al-Hayat on February 12, Khaled Mashaal said the following:
- He expressed his great regard for Russia, which he said was different from the rest of the International Quartet (US, European Union, Russia and United Nations). He said Hamas expected the international community to “exert genuine pressure” on Israel to make it honor the “rights of the Palestinians” and to establish “a just peace” based on the end of the Israeli occupation.
- Hamas found Russian understanding for its positions. He said the Russians understood that Hamas was not an obstacle to achieving an arrangement and to Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, but it insisted that efforts for peace in the region would be based on the a “just peace,” which would give the Palestinians their “rights.”
- The visit of Nabil Shaath, senior Fatah figure, to the Gaza Strip, was positive and helped end the stalemate between Fatah and Hamas, and create a good atmosphere between them. However, he said, it was not enough and more concrete understandings had to be realized.
- Hamas did not want war, but if it were forced on it, Hamas would present a “firm stance” and “resistance” to Israel.
Interviewed by Izvestia, Khaled Mashaal claimed that Hamas had already made “considerable concessions” in agreeing to the establish of a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria with the 1967 borders and with Jerusalem as its capital. Hamas also demanded that all the Palestinian refugees return to their homeland. However, Israel denied them that “right,” refused to conduct negotiations on the status of Jerusalem, and did not intend to evacuate the settlements in Judea and Samaria (Izvestia, February 11. 2010).