Meshal urges Israelis to elect moderate gov’t, end occupation

Hamas political chief Khaled Meshal said in an interview broadcast Thursday that the radical Islamic movement was ready to hold talks with anybody in the world, including the United States, except for Israel. „We entering government open-minded, and are ready for negotiations with everyone in the world, including the U.S., but only with Israel we will never talk – we are ready [to talk] with everyone else,” Meshal said in an interview with the Nazareth-based Arab radio station A-Shams. Meshal appealed to Israelis to vote for a moderate government that is ready to end the occupation of Palestinian territories. „If Israelis think that in reto Hamas’ election in the Palestinian Authority they should elect a radical right-wing party or leadership, they are extremely wrong.” „I’m telling the Israeli public, especially the Jews, that the only way to end the conflict is not through further aggression and occupation, but by ending it. The Israeli people have elected all the generals to head them, and has tried all types of aggression, but nothing prevented the Palestinians from sticking to the principle of forming an independent state,” Meshal said. „We, as the Hamas movement, will continue our struggle until reaching Palestinian independence, and if Israelis want to give a hand, let them end the occupation.” Meshal did not specify if he meant ending the occupation of lands Israel seized during the 1967 Six day War or the „entire Palestine.” The phone interview with Meshal, who is based in the Syrian capital Damascus, required major logistical efforts. Meshal reacted to Israel?s decision to freeze all transfers of funds to the Palestinian Authority following Hamas’ rise to power, saying that he trusted the Arab states and the leaders of the Arab world to help the PA. Meshal told Israeli Arabs that „we are one nation, and our brothers, but we understand the special and sensitive situation of the ’48 Arabs’. We therefore trust any decision they make, and we have no intention of interfering in their affairs, especially on the subject of the elections and the political decisions they make.”