Hamas is not interested in another war in the Gaza Strip, but it will put up a stiff resistance if invaded again by Israel, a senior Hamas official cautioned on Saturday.
Osama Hamdan, Hamas’s representative in Lebanon who is in charge of his movement’s “international relations,” warned that Israel would “pay a heavy price if it chose to launch an aggression on the Gaza Strip.” Israel, he added, “will not be able to devour us, and the price will be higher and more horrific than its leaders can imagine.”
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Hamdan’s remarks came as United Nations Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Jamie McGoldrick, arrived in the Gaza Strip on Saturday. It was not clear whether the UN envoy would on the ongoing efforts to achieve a truce with Israel.
Sources in the Gaza Strip said that Egypt and the UN were concerned about the renewed tensions along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, especially in wake of Friday’s violence in which three Palestinians were killed in clashes with the IDF.
Hamdan said that Hamas was interested in solidifying the 2014 truce agreement that was reached between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist factions in the Gaza Strip. “But this does not mean that we are not capable of defending our people against another [Israeli] aggression,” he added.
Hamdan, in statements published by the Gaza-based Felestin newspaper, revealed that Egypt has invited Hamas officials to visit Cairo, but did not say when the visit would take place.
However, he denied that Hamas and other Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip would hold another round of talks in Cairo to discuss Palestinian “national reconciliation” and a truce with Israel.
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The Hamas officials said that Egyptian and United efforts to achieve a truce with Israel were moving a very low pace because of obstacles placed by the Palestinian Authority and its president, Mahmoud Abbas. “We are determined to overcome the obstacles, though it may take time,” Hamdan said.
He accused the PA of bing complicit in the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip. “No one can be complicit in the Israeli blockade and at the same time claim to be patriotic,” Hamdan said, referring to the PA and Abbas.
Representatives of Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction dismissed the Hamas charges regarding the economic and humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. “The Palestinian Authority can’t accept a situation where the Gaza Strip remains forever hostage in the hands of Hamas,” said Majed Fityani, secretary-general of the Fatah Revolutionary Council. He told the Al-Watan Voice website that Hamas will have to “pay the bill” if it wants to wants to collect taxes in the Gaza Strip and control the border crossings. “Hamas will be committing a crime if it thinks that it can meet the demands of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip separately from the frame of the Palestinian leadership,” he added.
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