Ismail Haniyeh has told Euronews, in an exclusive interview from his Hamas headquarters in Gaza, that he’s willing to discuss the critical situation in the Palestinian territories with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, but only if no conditions are attached.
Haniyeh denied any secret negotiations with Israel and expressed dismay at Europe’s position, also questioning why Mid-East envoy Tony Blair had such a limited mandate, only dealing with the economy.
“I am surprised that Europe, this big continent, with which we have historic relations and so many common interests, both culturally and in terms of geographic proximity, is a prisoner of American decisions, and is being conditioned by the Americans,” said Haniyeh.
“Unfortunately the European Union doesn’t see things as they really are on the ground. Probably because they only see things from one point of view, and only understand part of the situation, beacuse they only ever listen to one side.”
When asked whether Hamas would ever be willing to recognise the existence of Israel, Haniyeh said Hamas would be willing to put down its weapons and talk about it, if there was a real chance of a Palestinian state at the end of it.
“Hamas is ready to agree to a long term ceasefire, perhaps for 10 years, even 20 years, while it waits for the creation of a Palestinian state within pre 1967 borders. If the Israelis accept the concept of a Palestinian state, and there is a real will to talk about it, then anything is possible.”
Haniyeh insists he is still the legitimate Prime Minister of all Palestinians, even though Abbas has replaced him, and rejects any notion of isolation within the Gaza Strip.
The full exclusive interview with Ismail Haniyeh can be seen on Euronews from 2015 Central European Time tonight.