|Netanyahu: Hamas's Gaza jubilation proves Israel is at risk||
Hamas's vow to vanquish Israel after claiming "victory" in last month's Gaza conflict vindicates Israel's reluctance to relinquish more land to the Palestinians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.
Khaled Meshaal, the leader of the Palestinian Islamic resistance movement, made a speech before thousands of supporters in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, promising to take "inch-by-inch" all of modern-day Israel, which he said he would never recognize, Reuters reported.
“Over the last day, we have again been exposed to the true face of our enemies. They have no intention of compromising with us. They want to destroy our country,” Netanyahu told his weekly cabinet meeting.
The Israeli leader has faced fierce foreign criticism this week for announcing a wave of Jewish settlement building in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem following a de-facto recognition by the UN General Assembly of a Palestinian state.
But Netanyahu said Israel would never withdraw unilaterally from the West Bank as it had done from Gaza in 2005, arguing that this would risk creating another territory from which Palestinians could launch rockets at Israeli cities.
“I am always aghast at the delusions of others who are prepared to pursue this process and call it peace,” he said.
“We want a true peace with our neighbors, but we will not close our eyes nor bury our heads in the sand,” he said, adding that this required Israel to “stand up to international pressure”.
Although Hamas refuses to recognize Israel, the Western-backed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said he is ready to make peace on the basis of the lines that existed before the 1967 war, when Israel seized the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
Direct talks broke down in 2010 over the issue of settlement building and Abbas, who holds sway in the West Bank.
“What is interesting is that Abu Mazen (Abbas), of all people, did not condemn the (Hamas) words calling for Israel's destruction, just as previously he did not condemn the rockets fired at Israel (from Gaza),” Netanyahu said.
“And to my regret he is working for unity with this same Hamas.”
Hamas is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its foundation this week, turning the event into a “victory” party following its eight-day conflict with Israel last month in which some 170 Palestinians and six Israelis, mostly civilians, were killed.
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