Palestinians to respect truce if Israel does - Meshaal

CAIRO Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:33am IST

Hamas leader in exile Khaled Meshaal speaks during a news conference in Cairo, about the ceasefire between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza, November 21, 2012. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Hamas leader in exile Khaled Meshaal speaks during a news conference in Cairo, about the ceasefire between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza, November 21, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Related Topics

Inside the Peshawar school

Inside the Peshawar school

The aftermath inside the Pakistan school where at least 132 students and nine staff members were killed by Taliban gunmen.  Pictures 

CAIRO (Reuters) - The exiled leader of Hamas said on Wednesday if Israel complied with a ceasefire in the Gaza conflict, Palestinians would do the same but his fighters' "hands were on the trigger" should there be any violations.

Khaled Meshaal said the Palestinians had emerged from the eight-day war victorious, arguing that Israel had lost and the conflict was proof that armed "resistance" was the way forward for the Palestinians.

Earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. President Barack Obama he was ready to give the ceasefire a chance, but "more forceful action" might be needed if it failed, according to a statement from his office.

"If Israel complies, we are compliant," Meshaal told a news conference in Cairo. "If it does not comply, our hands are on the trigger."

The ceasefire mediated by Egypt brought an end to a conflict that killed more than 140 Palestinians and five Israelis.

Meshaal said the agreement required Israel to open crossings with Gaza, disputing what he described as Israeli assertions to the contrary.

"The document stipulates the opening of the crossings, all the crossings, and not just Rafah," Meshaal said.

That had been one of Meshaal's conditions for a truce. Israel controls all of Gaza's frontiers apart from Rafah, which is on the border with Egypt.

Israeli restrictions on what goes in and out of the Gaza Strip were tightened after Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007, choking economic life and making it harder for Palestinians there to visit relatives in the West Bank.

Under terms of the brokered deal, the issue would be "dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire". Israeli sources earlier said Israel would not lift the blockade.

Meshaal thanked Egypt for the role it had played as mediator. He singled out President Mohamed Mursi, the Islamist Egyptian head of state elected in June, for particular praise.

Mursi was propelled to power by the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group that is ideologically aligned with Hamas and which was banned under Hosni Mubarak, the autocrat toppled from power in a mass uprising in 2011. Meshaal also thanked Shi'ite Iran for what he described as arms and funding.

The United States, Meshaal said, had played a "fundamental role" by asking Arab states and Egypt to work for a ceasefire.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's presence alongside Egypt's foreign minister when the ceasefire was announced made Washington a witness to the agreement, he said, describing that as a first.

Meshaal said Israel had suffered a defeat.

"We have come out of this battle with our heads up high," he said. "They failed in their adventure. The magic turned against the magician."

(Reporting by Tom Perry, Shaimaa Fayed and Edmund Blair; Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Michael Roddy)

FILED UNDER:

World Wrap

REUTERS SHOWCASE

26/11 Accused

26/11 Accused

Pakistan to appeal bail for Mumbai attack "mastermind".  Full Article 

Android For cars

Android For cars

Exclusive: Google aiming to go straight into car with next Android – sources.  Full Article 

Mass Stabbing

Mass Stabbing

Eight children killed in Australia in reported mass stabbing.  Full Article 

In Distress

In Distress

Former SpiceJet owner leading rescue plan: reports.  Full Article 

PM's Moves

PM's Moves

Modi moves in to speed up $300 billion stuck projects.  Full Article 

Losing Popularity

Losing Popularity

Dalai Lama's star waning in the West, China official says.  Full Article 

Tis' The Season

Tis' The Season

Stars around the world wish you Happy Holidays.  Video 

Cyber Warfare

Cyber Warfare

For N.Korea's cyber army, long-term target may be telecoms, utility grids.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device   Full Coverage