- Middle East/North Africa
Hamas leader in exile Khaled Meshaal ruled out on Saturday any territorial concessions over Palestinian territory or recognition of Israel, while calling for Palestinian national unity.
"Palestine is our land and nation from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river, from north to south, and we cannot cede an inch or any part of it," he said at a rally marking the 25th foundation of Hamas.
Meshaal's visit came as part of a historic first visit to Gaza, from which he is generally regarded to have been exiled from for 45 years –– though a speech he gave yesterday indicated he had visited the strip when he was a teenager 37 years ago.
"Resistance is the right way to recover our rights, as well as all forms of struggle — political, diplomatic, legal and popular, but all are senseless without resistance," Meshaal added.
Turning to the question of unity, he said: "We are a single authority, a single reference, and our reference is the PLO, which we want united," he said, in a reference to the Palestine Liberation Organization which, in the eyes of the international community, is the sole representative body that purports to speak for all the Palestinian people.
Hamas does not belong to the PLO, but Meshaal said a year ago that it and other factions were "on the path to joining" it.
His remarks could be seen as the latest bid by Hamas to integrate with the PLO and consolidate Palestinian ranks.