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UPDATED: 09:24, November 26, 2006
Exiled Hamas leader warns third uprising in 6 months, blaming Israel for delay on prisoner swap
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Visiting exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal on Saturday warned of the collapse of the Palestinian authorities and a third intifada (uprising) in six months while blaming Israel for the delay on an Egypt-brokered prisoners' swap.

Meshaal, who arrived here on an unannounced visit on Wednesday night, made the remarks at a press conference broadcast live on the Doha-based al-Jazeera Arabic channel.

All Palestinian political powers with all its streams, including Hamas, unanimously agreed on ending the Israeli occupation and establishing a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders only, he told reporters.

The international community has six months to work out a real political solution for a Palestinian state, and such a state should be based on the 1967 borders, said Meshaal, now exiled in the Syrian capital Damascus.

Failure to respond to such initiative would lead to a collapse of the Palestinian National Authority, closure of all files and outbreak of a third intifada, he warned.

The first intifada witnessed a series of violent incidents between the Palestinians and Israel in Year 1987 to 1990.

The second intifada, also called the al-Aqsa intifada, is the wave of violence that began in September 2000. The second intifada never ended officially, but the relative success of the Sharm el- Sheikh Summit and the low levels of violence during 2005, were considered by many to mark its effective end.

The Sharm el-Sheikh Summit occurred in February 2005 when four leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories met in Egypt's Red Sea resort in order to declare their wish to work towards the end of the four-year intifada.

The four leaders were Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Jordanian King Abdullah II, then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Meanwhile, Meshaal blamed the Israeli side for the stalemate on a prisoners' swap, which involved kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and about 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

"We (the Palestinians) don't cause the delay in the prisoners' swap. It is caused by the Israeli side," Meshaal told reporters.

Asked to give an exact date for a possible prisoner exchange, Meshaal said there was no timetable for such a deal although negotiations on it during the last several months have made progress.

Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by three Palestinian militant groups on June 25 during a cross-border attack against an Israeli army post in the southeastern Gaza Strip, sparking a comprehensive offensive against the strip three days later.

The captors holding the Israeli hostage demanded the Jewish state release about 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails in exchange for Shalit.

Meshaal said his talks with Egyptian officials dealt with two major issues -- a prisoners' swap deal and a Palestinian unity government.

He blasted western nations for their economic and diplomatic siege on the Hamas-led Palestinian government since the Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, came into power in late March.

As for the talks between Hamas and Fatah on forming a unity government, Meshaal said a new Palestinian government could pave the way for the ending of the international economic and diplomatic siege.

Dialogue on the Palestinian unity government has made good strides but more time is needed, he said.

Egypt, the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel, maintains good relations with both Israel and the Palestinians, and has been playing a mediating role on the two issues.

Source: Xinhua

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