JERUSALEM, Israel -- Damascus-based Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal blamed Israel for trying to torpedo reconciliation efforts with the Palestinian Authority's Fatah faction on Monday.
In an interview on Palestine TV, Meshaal said the two factions were ready to form the political partnership announced last April in Cairo, the P.A.'s Ma'an news agency reported on Tuesday.
Buoyed by last week's talks with its Fatah counterparts, Meshaal repeated his faction's demands.
- It should not be asked to recognize Israel's right to exist.
- Israel must retreat to the pre-1967 borders.
- Israel must re-divide its capital to allow the eastern half of Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state.
- There would be no compromise on the so-called "right of return" for an alleged 5 million Arab refugees and their descendants (a move that would effectively obliterate the truncated Jewish state).
- Palestinian Arabs would continue to use armed resistance against the Zionist occupiers.
Citing the Hamas victory in the 2006 legislative elections, Meshaal urged the people to back a unity government.
He said it's the responsibility of every Palestinian Arab "to put reconciliation into effect" and reunite the Fatah government in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) with the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, Ma'an reported.
Some analysts say it's no coincidence that Hamas, an offshoot of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, employs similar tactics as its mentor and other Islamist groups in neighboring Arab countries.
Under the guise of democracy, these groups have worked behind the scenes for years to gain a political foothold and replace secular Muslim rule with Sharia (Islamic) law. Topping the Islamist agenda is the destruction of Israel.
The division in the Palestinian Authority began in June 2007 when Hamas defeated Fatah forces in a bloody military coup in Gaza.
Since that time, the Hamas government has increasingly imposed Islamic rule on the people of Gaza, forcing its residents to conform to Muslim dress and lifestyle.
Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said peace talks will not be resumed if Hamas joins the P.A. government.
At a news conference Tuesday marking the third anniversary of Israel's three-week military incursion in the Gaza Strip to curb Palestinian rocket fire, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called Netanyahu's statement "a great achievement of the resistance."
"Hamas is committed to making the reconciliation agreement work and implementing it as a demonstration of the unity of the Palestinian people in the face of occupation," Zuhri said.