Mashaal: God willing, Hamas will defeat Israel in the hostage negotiations

 


(JNS) — Hamas will not release any of the 134 hostages it holds until Israel ends the war, withdraws its troops, allows all Gazans to return to their homes and lifts the blockade on the coastal enclave, the terrorist group’s leader Khaled Mashaal said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a women’s event in Jordan, Mashaal declared that the organization’s leadership is “waging a negotiating battle no less fierce” than the military conflict with the Israel Defense Forces, according to a readout of his remarks posted to Telegram by Hamas.

“Inshallah [‘God willing’], we will defeat them in the field and in the negotiating battle,” said Mashaal, adding that the group is also fighting “intense battles” in the media and on the political battlefields.

The terrorist leader reiterated that “in the negotiations, we insist on stopping the aggression, withdrawing from Gaza, returning the displaced to their places, especially in northern Gaza, providing all necessary relief, shelter and reconstruction, and ending the siege.

“We will not release their prisoners [the hostages] until we achieve these goals,” Mashaal vowed.

Hamas is still holding 134 hostages out of 253 kidnapped during its Oct. 7 invasion of the northwestern Negev. Some 1,200 people, primarily Israeli civilians, were killed during the attack and thousands more were wounded. Israel forces killed approximately 1,000 terrorists.

American, Egyptian, Israeli and Qatari interlocutors have been shuttling to Cairo, Doha and Paris in recent months in an attempt to hash out an agreement that would see the release of the remaining captives.

On Monday, Hamas informed mediators that it was sticking to its demands for “a comprehensive ceasefire, withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, the return of the displaced and a real exchange of prisoners.” 

Israel has dismissed the terrorist group’s preconditions as “delusional.”

Late last year, speaking to France’s Le Figaro daily from his residence in Qatar, Mashaal predicted that “sooner or later, the United States will argue that Hamas is a reality and enjoys legitimacy among the people.

“We must learn from history. The Americans accepted the Taliban. [PLO founder] Yasser Arafat even won the Nobel Peace Prize,” he noted.

The Oct. 7 massacre “shocked world public opinion, and polls in the U.S. show increased support for the Palestinian cause,” he concluded, adding that Hamas’s terrorist army in Gaza would not be destroyed as it had “passed the credibility test against Israel.”

In January, Mashaal restated his rejection of Israel’s right to exist, saying that the Oct. 7 mass murder “turned the idea of liberating Palestine from the River to the Sea into a realistic idea that has already begun.”

 

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