DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the head of the Hamas government in Gaza on Saturday that eight days of cross-border fighting showed that Israel had no choice but to “bow” to Palestinian rights, according to Iran’s IRNA news agency.
The Iranian-backed Hamas has basked in what it called a victory against Israel after an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire on Thursday ended the conflict in which 163 Palestinians and six Israelis were killed.
IRNA said Ahmadinejad, in the rare telephone call with Ismail Haniyeh, praised the Palestinian “resistance and perseverance”.
“Zionists have reached the dead point and have no other alternative but officially recognizing and bowing to the absolute right of the Palestinian nation,” IRNA quoted Ahmadinejad as saying, referring to Israel.
The agency’s English website did not elaborate but Ahmadinejad has previously said that Israel was an alien body in the Middle East.
Israel’s arch-foe Iran, which has an alliance with Hamas, had referred to Israeli strikes as “organized terrorism”. The exiled leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, on Wednesday thanked Shi’ite Iran for what he described as arms and funding.
In September, Ahmadinejad told the U.N. General Assembly in New York that Israel has no roots in the Middle East and would be “eliminated”, ignoring a U.N. warning to avoid incendiary comments.
Hamas’s founding charter also calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.
Reporting by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Jon Hemming