Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal has praised the recent spate of Palestinian attacks on Israelis and said that because Palestinians have come to the conclusion that the peace process is futile, the path of “Jihad, sacrifice, and blood” is the only way forward.

“The Palestinians have reached the realization that negotiations with the (Israelis) are useless,” Mashaal said during a visit to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lampur on December 10. “The so-called peace process is futile. There is no peace. Only the path of Jihad, sacrifice, and blood (will bear fruit).”

Mashaal, who lives in exile in Qatar, was in Malaysia last week at the head of a delegation of senior Hamas officials for a four-day visit to meet with government officials and politicians.

“Our rights will not be restored through the UN Security Council but by means of recruitment,” he said in a speech, according to a clip posted and translated by the Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute monitoring group. “Two thousand verbal ‘rockets’ do not compare to a single rocket made of iron. The children and youth of the West Bank have absorbed the message.

“Weapons like Kalashnikovs or missiles are not at hand, but there are knives and cars with which to run over the enemies,” he added. “By God, after the knives used by the people of the West Bank and Jerusalem, can anyone possibly have an excuse to abandon the path of jihad? Nobody can have such an excuse.”

Some 20 Israelis have been killed in three months of near-daily stabbing, shooting, and car-ramming terror attacks by Palestinians targeting civilians and security forces. More than 100 Palestinians have also been killed, a large proportion of them assailants shot as they carried out attacks, including some who were teenagers. Other Palestinians have been killed during violent clashes with Israeli security forces.

“Our Lord says, ‘Allah does not impose upon anyone a duty but to the extent of his ability,'” Mashaal continued. “He also said, ‘Prepare for them what you can.'”

“Therefore, the young man who puts his life on the line and he heroic sister, with nothing but a knife at hand, are justified and Allah accepts them. This is up to Allah, but he accepts their Jihad and their martydom.

“By God, they are the most exalted and the noblest of people.”

Israeli officials have repeatedly complained that incitement by Palestinian officials has been fueling the recent wave of attacks.

On Monday, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research published the results of a recent survey of Palestinian public opinion in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which found that two-thirds of the population there support the current wave of stabbings against Israelis, with the same percentage backing a larger armed uprising.

Hamas, which has been designated a terror group by Israel and the US, is the de facto ruler in the Gaza Strip.

According to the survey, 65% of Palestinians also want Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to resign, and the poll indicates that he would lose to Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas in a presidential election.