Hamas leader to Gaza residents: May you bring down Netanyahu as you did Barak

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Hamas leader Khaled Meshal said on Sunday that he hoped Gaza’s resistance to Israel would cause Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to step down from political life, claiming that last month’s fighting between Israel and Hamas led to Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s retirement.

Meshal’s comments followed earlier remarks by the Hamas leader, made on Saturday at an event in Gaza marking the 25th anniversary of Hamas.

Meshal told the mass rally on Saturday: “Palestine is ours from the river to the sea and from the south to the north. There will be no concession on an inch of the land,” adding that he wanted the Palestinians to have all the territory that makes up modern-day Israel.

Speaking at the Islamic University of Gaza on Sunday, Meshal linked Israel’s recent clash with Hamas with Barak’s decision to step down from political life, saying: “Blessed are you people of Gaza for devastating Barak’s world, and, god willing, you will do the same to Netanyahu.”

The Hamas leader then alleged that it was the resistance of Gaza residents that led to the downfall of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, adding: “You even prevented him from dying, so he could continue to suffer.”

Commenting on Meshal’s earlier claim to a Palestine that would include territory under Israeli sovereignty, Netanyahu said Sunday that Hamas’ declaration over the weekend that it would never recognize Israel and would “free the land of Palestine inch by inch had once again “exposed the true face” of Israel’s enemies.

“They have absolutely no intention of compromising with us,” Netanyahu told ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. “They want to destroy the state. They will, of course, fail… The nation of Israel will overcome these hostile enemies.”

In his speech on Sunday, Meshal addressed the issue of Palestinian unity at length, saying the various Palestinian factions shared a common cause in their resistance to Israeli occupation.

“I call on you to preserve the unity of the Palestinian people. Palestine is much larger than any one faction can take responsibility for, and resistance, whether armed or popular, is the basis for unity,” he said. “We are all partners in the same homeland.”

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