Head of Hamas’s political bureau Khalid Meshaal blamed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the alleged kidnapping of the three Israeli settlers, saying that the latter had ignored the suffering of Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails.
Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails have been on hunger strike for more than 60 days. “If Netanyahu had listened to the suffering of the hunger strikers and had not objected to the Palestinian unity government,” he said, “the Palestinian situation would have been less furious.”
In an interview with Al-Jazeera satellite channel, Meshaal reportedly said that he could neither confirm nor deny the kidnapping of the three Israelis. “In any case, I congratulate the abductors because our prisoners must be freed from the prisons of the occupation.”
Regarding Netanyahu’s threats to undermine Hamas’s infrastructure and target its top leaders based on the claim that he had strong evidence about Hamas’s responsibility for the alleged kidnapping, Meshaal remarked that, “This does not scare us.”
He ruled out the possibility that Israel fabricated the disappearance of the settlers to justify its escalating aggression against the Palestinians, noting that Netanyahu usually does not need any pretext to launch attacks against the Palestinians.
Regarding whether he had issued any directives to carry out the alleged kidnapping, he said that Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, “does not need directions from the political leadership.”
Meshaal reiterated that the Palestinian unity government had pledged to use all means to free the Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails, considering this a “sacred national” mission.
He also reaffirmed that the unity pact involved the formation of a national front to carry out resistance against the occupation and form a political reference to criminalise security cooperation.
The top Hamas leader stressed that no Palestinian official had the right to warn of cleansing any groups that could be responsible for the alleged kidnapping. “This work incites the feelings of pride and if it is proven that a Palestinian faction stood behind it, we would greet it.”