He said that for there to be any talks with the people of Gaza, "the blockade must be lifted and the crossings [from Israel] opened ... notably that in Rafah," which leads to Egypt.

Meshaal was referring to a blockade imposed on Gaza after Hamas full seized control of the overcrowded, impoverished strip from forces loyal to moderate Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in June 2007.

The Hamas leader, who live in exile in Syria, said he was open to reconciliation with Abbas, but demanded that the Palestinian president cease negotiations with Israel.

"Neither rockets nor suicide operations are absurd, but negotiations are," he said.

Hamas has not carried out a suicide attack on Israel since January 2005.

The first intifada, or uprising, broke out in 1988, and was followed by the 1993 Oslo peace accords, which led to a certain degree of Palestinian autonomy with the creation of the Palestinian Authority.

A second intifada broke out in 2000 and eventually ran out of steam three years later.