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GAZA/ Pizzaballa: The return of Meshaal is not good news for Palestine

December Sun 09, 2012

Khaled Meshaal  (Infophoto)  Khaled Meshaal (Infophoto)

The exiled leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, made ??his first visit to Gaza on Saturday, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Hamas political organization. Meshaal had not set foot in the Palestinian territories since he left the West Bank in 1967, and for the occasion, he gave a speech at a mass rally. Egypt was the country that enabled him to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border. The leader of the Islamist party also visited the home of the founder of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. Ilsussidiario.net interviewed the Custos of the Holy Land, Pierbattista Pizzaballa about this important visit.

What do you think of Meshaal’s visit to Gaza?
I am not very happy about it because if it is true that the situation in Gaza is terrible, people like Meshaal are certainly not peaceful and will not lead to anything positive.

The Hamas party has been ruling Gaza since 2007, and was democratically elected. Why should their leader Meshaal not visit them?
Meshaal was the strategist of the suicide bombings and terror of a few years ago. He is not a politician who wants to visit his country, but a person who is stained with blood.

Why is he visiting now?
The Middle East is undergoing profound changes. We have just completed this long phase of the crisis in Gaza, and Hamas has declared victory, even though I do not know whether this is really how things are. They are re-discussing alliances, ties, and relationships, and they should be identifying strategies for the future.

Egypt under Morsi, who on the one hand signed agreements with Israel and the other makes statements of hate against them, is permitting Meshaal to visit Gaza. What do you think of this strategy?
This is nothing new. The Middle East has always been like this. On the one hand, there is the need for the usual propaganda and media strategies, on the other, the practical sense that forces rulers to exercise restraint to find a less ideological approach to problems.

We see now as never before that there are two “Palestines”, one with Abbas who goes to the UN and another with Hamas launching missiles. What do you think of these two very different faces of the same population?



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