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Hamas: we'll coexist with Jews, but not 'occupiers'

Ma'an News Agency

Israel resumed its bombardment of the Gaza Strip for the 20th day on July 27, as Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal stressed that the group was ready to "coexist with the Jews" but would not tolerate "occupiers." The Israeli assault on Gaza continued after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to renew a ceasefire agreed to earlier in the day after he claimed Palestinian militants had violated earlier truces. At least two Palestinians were killed and dozens injured in Israeli airstrikes and shelling from land and sea that evening, as the total Palestinian toll in the deadly assault hit 1,032 with more than 6,200 injured. Israeli forces have also killed 11 Palestinians in solidarity protests across the West Bank.

Of the total, 13 Palestinians were killed the morning of July 27 by Israeli forces during the ceasefire, while 117 bodies were recovered the previous day as medics had access to areas that had been off-limits during the "humanitarian ceasefire" that lasted 16 hours.

On the afternoon of July 27, after the expiration of that ceasefire, Hamas announced that all militant groups would be respecting a 24-hour ceasefire beginning at 2 PM. But after Israeli airstrikes continued and officials announced their rejection, rocket fire resumed from the Gaza Strip, injuring one Israeli civilian.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military's death toll in the conflict hit 43 overnight, while three civilians in Israeli have been killed as well.

'I'm ready to coexist with the Jews' 
Hamas continued to insist that any lasting ceasefire must be based on an Israeli lifting of the blockade on Gaza, with Meshaal warning that Palestinians cannot coexist with their neighbors while their land is occupied in an interview broadcast on July 27. Meshaal was interviewed the previous day by US broadcaster PBS in the Qatari capital Doha. Asked by interviewer Charlie Rose whether he could foresee living beside Israelis in peace, Meshaal said only a future Palestinian state could decide whether to recognize Israel.

"We are not fanatics, we are not fundamentalists. We are not actually fighting the Jews because they are Jews per se. We do not fight any other races. We fight the occupiers," he said. "I'm ready to coexist with the Jews, with the Christians and the Arabs and non-Arabs. However, I do not coexist with the occupiers."

Pressed on whether Palestinians could recognize the state of Israel as a Jewish state, Meshaal reiterated Hamas' position—the group does not recognize Israel. "When we have a Palestinian state then the Palestinian state will decide on its policies," he said. "You cannot actually ask me about the future. I answered you. But Palestinian people can have their say when they have their own state without occupation."

From Ma'an News Agency, July 27

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