‘Israel warms up on Palestine for Iran’
ISTANBUL / ANKARA
Hamas chief Mashaal says Israel strikes Gaza to test its missile shield. AA photoIsrael is attacking Gaza as a dry run before a war with Iran, Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal has said, adding that divided Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas would ultimately reconcile on common interests.
Israel sees “Gaza as a guinea pig,” said Mashaal. “It chooses Gaza when it wants to test its missile shield. Israel is preparing for a possible Iran war or some other wars. … We should focus on how we can resist these hostile attacks,” Mashaal told Anatolia news agency in reference to recent engagements between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
Palestinians fire missiles at Israel simply to defend themselves, Mashaal said. “We did not send a missile from Gaza before the Israeli attack. Everyone knows that Israel launched the attack first.”
Arab Spring to revive Muslim communities
The Arab Spring has become a turning point for the ummah, the worldwide Islamic community, Mashaal said, adding that the uprisings would ultimately help the ummah attain real democracy and allow it to make its own decisions.
The uprisings in the region will not distract other Arab countries from the Palestinian cause, he said, but added that these countries would not be able to direct their attention toward Palestine until they have completed their internal reforms. “This is certainly a temporary situation.” said Mashaal.
Touching on intra-Palestinian issues, Mashaal said Hamas had made some mistakes but blamed external powers for causing internal division. “We want to open a new page, and we think that we have created an atmosphere of domestic peace. Peace is obligatory, and Palestinians should be united,” Mashaal said in reference to ongoing talks between Fatah and Hamas. Peace between Fatah and Hamas does not mean the two sides will share common views on all issues, he said. “We have to be united in order to struggle against Zionist Israel together.”
Turkey has provided great support for Palestine’s internal compromise, Mashaal said. Meanwhile, Turkish President Abdullah Gül called for “unity and solidarity” between Palestinian factions during a meeting with Mashaal on March 17 in Istanbul, the Associated Press reported. A presidential statement said Gül expressed the need for reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah at a time when many in the region are “embracing democracy within the framework of the Arab Spring.”