JERUSALEM (JTA) — Hamas political chief Khaled Meshal’s speech calling for a "fight to free Palestine from the Zionist occupier" shows Israel "our enemies’ true face," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
"Yesterday we were re-exposed to our enemies’ true face," Israel’s prime minister said at the start of the regular weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday. "They have no intention of compromising with us; they want to destroy the state."
Netanyahu also pointed out that there was no condemnation from Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president based in Ramallah in the West Bank.
Meshal, making his first-ever visit to Gaza, spoke Saturday in Gaza City during celebrations marking Hamas’ 25th anniversary. Meshal has been living in exile in Syria for the last decade.
Meshal said the Palestinians would never recognize Israel, that Israel has "no right to Jerusalem," and that “liberating Palestine, all of Palestine, is a duty, a right and a goal."
“Palestine, from the river to the sea, from north to south, is our land. Not an inch of it can be conceded,” Meshal said “We cannot recognize the legitimacy of Israel’s occupation of Palestine. There is no legitimacy to occupation, and therefore no legitimacy for Israel, no matter how long it will take.”
Meshal told the crowd, “Holy war and armed resistance are the real and right path to liberation and recovery of rights.”
He also called for the completion of a reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Abbas’ Fatah organizations, as well as the smaller Palestinian groups.
Netanyahu said Sunday that despite wanting a "true peace with our neighbors," Israel is "not prepared to repeat the same mistake of a unilateral withdrawal and withdrawals that, in effect, led Hamas to take control of Gaza."
"I have always been astonished at the delusions of others who are prepared to continue this process and call it peace," Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu added that Israel "will also withstand the international pressure, were it not for which we would not have reached this point. Today, this is what is required from leadership in Israel — to have no illusions, to stand up for the vital interests of the State of Israel and to rebuff the pressure to bring Gaza into every home in Israel. This is what we are doing and will continue to do."