Hamas chief says Israel using Gaza as ‘guinea pig’ for military testing 19Mar12 March 19, 2012

Haaretz  -  18 March 2012

Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshal on Sunday accused Israel of using the Gaza Strip as a “guinea pig” for its testing its missile capabilities amidst rising tensions with Iran, the Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman reported.

Meshal claimed that Hamas rocket attacks on Israel were self-defense, asserting that rockets are only fired from Gaza in response to Israeli strikes.

Meshal was speaking on Sunday after talks with Turkish officials held over the past few days.

Mehsal called for the implementation of the unity deal between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah.

“We want to open a new page, and we think that we have created a domestic peace atmosphere,” Meshal was quoted as saying. “Peace is obligatory, and Palestinians should be unified. The Palestine issue is our cause, and our stance on occupation is the same.”

“We should sacrifice our personal and political views for the sake of the Palestine cause,” Meshal continued.

In recent days, Meshal met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish President Abdullah Gul.

A main topic in the talks was Palestinian reconciliation.

Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and Fatah, which controls the West Bank, have been attempting to implement a reconciliation agreement brokered by Egypt and signed last year in Cairo. That agreement included the formation of a unity government and the holding of elections in May 2012.

Israel has rejected the agreement, refusing to negotiate with a government involving Hamas, whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel.

Meshal on Sunday promised to continue efforts to fight Israel.

“We will naturally continue our fight against Israel in political, diplomatic and media fields,” he was quoted as saying. “We will try to get the greatest support possible from the world.”

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