Interview: Khaled Meshaal

The exiled political chief of Hamas talks exclusively about the unity government.

    Meshaal, Hamas political chief, lives in exile in Syria

    Khaled Meshaal, the political chief of Hamas who lives in exile in Damascus, has spoken exclusively to Al Jazeera about the Palestinian unity government he was fundamental in forming in Mecca in February.

    He told Sami Zeidan that international governments would have to deal with the cabinet as a whole rather than dealing only with ministers from the other political factions.

    Khaled Meshaal
    : "The position taken by these countries is not acceptable. We will not yield to it. There is a Palestinian consensus that everyone will have to deal with us as a unified national unity government without discriminating between ministers."

    Sami Zeidan: "But what does that mean, I am sorry to interrupt you, but what does that mean? Are you saying that you will refuse aid, for example, diplomatic contacts, from countries that say they will only deal with your finance minister for example, Salam Fayad?

    KM: "The aid comes through the minister of finance; let them donate their aid through the normal channels, which is Dr Salam Fayad, who is known to the world. As for contacts with us, I believe there is a Palestinian agreement that we will not yield to this game of discriminating between ministers in the cabinet."

    SZ: "Since your key Western donors haven't fully lifted the sanctions yet, will this government soon face the same challenges as the previous one faced, how to pay salaries, how to pay debt, how are you going to deal with that scenario?"

    KM: "I don't think the international community will maintain its former position of imposing a siege of the Palestinian government and punishing the Palestinian people."

    SZ: "But you still haven't got a full resumption of all the aid you need, even your finance minister is warning that he can't go on for long without a resumption of international aid."

    KM: "The Arab and Islamic position will be different, God willing, with the upcoming Arab League summit in Riyadh. The Arab states will take practical steps to implement the decisions taken at the Khartoum summit, which defined the financial commitments of Arab states to the Palestinian government."

    SZ: "How about Hamas's criticism of the appointment of Mohammad Dahlan as the national  security adviser. Does that indicate perhaps a return to Hamas-Fatah disagreements and differences once again?"

    KM: "There is nothing to worry about. Since we have agreed on a national unity government and on national reconciliation these principles apply to security decisions. Security decisions are not the domain of one party alone; there is the ministry of interior, the national security council, the presidency, the prime ministership - all these parties must co-ordinate in taking decisions, they must be in harmony.

    SZ: "So according to what you are saying, do you think, perhaps, it was a mistake for Hamas members to criticise the appointment so openly and so soon after the formation of the national unity government?"

    KM: "I guess you could say it was a mistake. Everyone should give this government a chance. Yes, we should sort things out internally."

    Watch part one of the show here:


    Watch part two of the show here:



    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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