The Freeland File
Aerospace & Defense
Global Market Data
Lucy P. Marcus
The Great Debate
Macro & Markets
Lipper Awards 2012
Personal Finance Video
Photos of the week
Our top photos from the past week. Slideshow
Best photos of the year 2012
Download our Wider Image iPad app
Father fatally shoots son outside Pennsylvania gun store
08 Dec 2012
Egypt's Mursi scraps decree, fails to appease opponents
Judge rejects bid to block Washington state "stoned driving" rules
07 Dec 2012
Special Report: a vow is confirmed; a jihad grows - Jane's Jihad
08 Dec 2012
Netanyahu: Hamas's Gaza jubilation proves Israel is at risk
Egyptian protesters breach presidential palace cordon
IRS aims to clarify investment income tax under healthcare law
”Fiscal cliff” talks down to Obama and Republican Boehner
Our day's top images, in-depth photo essays and offbeat slices of life. See the best of Reuters photography. See more | Photo caption
Syria in ruins
Images of a landscape devastated by war. Slideshow
Gay marriage in America
A look at the legal battles and the controversies over gay marriage. Slideshow
Netanyahu: Hamas's Gaza jubilation proves Israel is at risk
Divided over Israel, Palestinian groups call for unity
Analysis & Opinion
A two-state Middle East solution hangs in the balance as Obama waits
What to watch in 2013 world news
Middle East Turmoil »
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sits after delivering a statement in Jerusalem November 21, 2012.
Credit: Reuters/Baz Ratner
By Dan Williams
Sun Dec 9, 2012 10:28am EST
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Hamas's vow to vanquish Israel after claiming "victory" in last month's Gaza conflict vindicates Israel's reluctance to relinquish more land to the Palestinians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.
Khaled Meshaal, the leader of the Islamist Hamas movement, made a defiant speech before thousands of supporters in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, promising to take "inch-by-inch" all of modern-day Israel, which he said he would never recognize.
"Over the last day, we have again been exposed to the true face of our enemies. They have no intention of compromising with us. They want to destroy our country," Netanyahu told his weekly cabinet meeting.
The Israeli leader has faced fierce foreign criticism this week for announcing a wave of Jewish settlement building in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem following a de-facto recognition by the U.N. General Assembly of a Palestinian state.
But Netanyahu said Israel would never withdraw unilaterally from the West Bank as it had done from Gaza in 2005, arguing that this would risk creating another territory from which Palestinians could launch rockets at Israeli cities.
"I am always aghast at the delusions of others who are prepared to pursue this process and call it peace," he said.
"We want a true peace with our neighbors, but we will not close our eyes nor bury our heads in the sand," he said, adding that this required Israel to "stand up to international pressure".
Although Hamas refuses to recognize Israel or renounce violence, the Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said he is ready to make peace on the basis of the lines that existed before the 1967 war, when Israel seized the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
Direct talks broke down in 2010 over the issue of settlement building and Abbas, who holds sway in the West Bank, has since called for reconciliation with Hamas, which ousted his own forces from Gaza in a 2007 civil war.
Hamas's 1988 founding charter calls for the destruction of Israel and for recovering all mandate Palestine, although Hamas leaders have said in recent years the movement could live peacefully alongside Israel if it wins a state on all land occupied in 1967. Various Hamas officials have at times indicated a willingness to negotiate a ceasefire, possibly decades long, with Israel.
"What is interesting is that Abu Mazen (Abbas), of all people, did not condemn the (Hamas) words calling for Israel's destruction, just as previously he did not condemn the rockets fired at Israel (from Gaza)," Netanyahu said.
"And to my regret he is working for unity with this same Hamas, which is supported by Iran."
Hamas is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its foundation this week, turning the event into a "victory" party following its eight-day conflict with Israel last month in which some 170 Palestinians and six Israelis, mostly civilians, were killed.
Israel not only killed the group's military mastermind during the fighting, but also says it destroyed long-range Gazan rocket arsenals and secured a ceasefire that put an end to indiscriminate attacks from the coastal enclave.
As a first-time premier in 1997, Netanyahu sent Mossad assassins to kill Meshaal, then a mid-level Hamas figure, in Jordan in reprisal for a wave of Palestinian suicide bombings. They botched the mission, and the ensuing recrimination from Amman forced Israel to free the jailed spiritual leader of Hamas. The episode helped propel Meshaal to the top ranks.
A cabinet minister from Netanyahu's rightist Likud party, Yisrael Katz, said Israel could again target Meshaal should Hamas not keep the Egyptian-brokered Gaza truce of November 21.
"He said he wishes to die a martyr, and there is a high probability that this last wish would be realized, and he would become a legitimate target, should the quiet be violated," Katz told Israel Radio.
Meshaal is making his first visit to Gaza and is expected to return to Egypt on Monday. He lives between Doha and Cairo, and is the Hamas point person for all its foreign ties.
(Writing by Dan Williams; editing by Crispian Balmer and Jason Webb)
Middle East Turmoil
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Back to top
New York Legal
Support & Contact
Connect with Reuters
Our Flagship financial information platform incorporating Reuters Insider
An ultra-low latency infrastructure for electronic trading and data distribution
A connected approach to governance, risk and compliance
Our next generation legal research platform
Our global tax workstation
About Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.