Hamas leader Mishal praises Qatar for support
March 21 2014 12:58 AM

Senior Hamas leader Khalid Mishal speaking at Qatar University yesterday. PICTURE: Anas al-Samaraee

By Salman Siddiqui/Staff Reporter

Senior Hamas leader Khalid Mishal made a rare public appearance at Qatar University yesterday as hundreds of students welcomed him in the backdrop of slogans ‘Bidem, Bilruh, Nifdeeki Ya Falasteen’ (By Blood, By Soul, We Redeem You Palestine).
Girl students easily outnumbered boys at the event organised by the QU’s Department of International Affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences in co-ordination with the Student Services Department, which hosted a discussion on the Palestinian cause and the dynamics of reconciliation with Mishal as the special guest speaker.   
The senior Palestinian leader, who wore a black coat over his cream coloured shirt, looked visibly pleased to have gotten an opportunity to address the students whom he called “the hope for the future.”
There was heavy security surrounding the senior leader of Hamas political bureau at all times, who in the past has survived assassination attempts by Mossad agents.
When asked about media reports that he had been asked to leave Qatar in the past, he dismissed them and in fact praised the country for providing Hamas the freedom to continue their movement.
“We do not face any pressure from the Qatari leadership; they have never been against us and always assure us that Qatar is like our own home.”
He expressed his thanks and appreciation for Qatar’s continued support of the Palestinian cause which he said “comes in different forms and stances under the patronage of the Qatari wise leadership”.
In his speech, Mishal addressed the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that started a “century ago”, setbacks (Al Naksah), Intifadas and the current internal Palestinian division.
“We are proud that we are relentless and have kept on struggling for decades for our freedom,” he said.  
On the Arab Spring, he said: “We are proud of the struggle of all people towards getting their rights and freedom and developing an integrated community and a strong and secure democratic system. However, it is important to keep focusing on the core struggle in the area - the Palestinian issue”.
When asked about the volatile situation in Egypt, he said: “What has happened in Egypt has affected our position in Palestine…We need an Arab world that defends the Palestine cause.”
Mishal stressed that resistance is the only means towards getting Palestinian freedom and establishing peace on ground.
“History proved that there is no value for negotiation and diplomacy with occupiers without resistance. In our struggle, we force the occupiers to surrender, then we can restore our land.”
He pointed to three essential pillars towards reconciliation: “First, we need to unify the Palestinian political system in both the Palestinian Authority and the PLO – one leadership, one institution and one parliament. This could be achieved through elections with respecting the equal existence for all Palestinian parties. Second, we must partner in decision-making so that political decisions are not in the hands of one party. Third, we need to combine our efforts to unify our resistance with one unanimously agreed-upon national strategy and the tactics of our actions on the ground both militarily and politically”.
The event was attended by QU President Prof Sheikha Abdulla al-Misnad; diplomats from a number of countries, including Pakistan, South Africa, Cuba, Switzerland etc; and QU students and faculty.   
It also featured the launch of QU Model UN scheduled to take place in May at Katara Hall.
Highlighting the QU Model UN, Assistant Professor of International Affairs Dr Farhan Chak said: “It gives students hands-on experience to tackle contemporary world issues and helps them to hone their negotiation skills and build their self-confidence.”

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