Hamas chief warns of ‘regional peace deal’ with Israel

Ismail Haniyeh, Head of Hamas Political Bureau [Mustafa Hassona/ Anadolu Agency]

Ismail Haniyeh, Head of Hamas Political Bureau

Hamas’s newly elected political chief Ismail Haniyeh warned Wednesday against plans to establish a “regional or economic peace” with Israel.

Haniyeh issued the warning at his first press conference since being elected in early May to succeed Khaled Meshaal as the Gaza-based group’s political leader.

He went on to assert that the US administration was hoping to forge a landmark “regional” peace deal, which, he warned, “would ultimately serve to extinguish the Palestinian cause”.

We will never accept any [peace] proposal — under any pretext — that doesn’t serve our people’s interests or safeguard their rights,

Haniyeh said.

“Since Donald Trump’s assumption of the US presidency, moves have accelerated — under Israeli pressure — to extort the Arab and Muslim states with the ultimate aim of destroying the Palestinian cause,” he added.

Read: Pressure on Hamas will not turn people against it, insists Israeli academic

“Any solution or compromise that does not guarantee the Palestinian people’s right to freedom — and the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital — will be doomed to failure,” Haniyeh said.

At Wednesday’s press conference, Haniyeh also said that — based on a recent visit to Cairo by a Hamas delegation — the group’s relationship with Egypt was “developing well”.

Our brothers in Egypt have shown their readiness to work towards addressing Gaza’s humanitarian crisis,

he said.

“Discussions recently conducted in Egypt have yielded positive results, the fruits of which will soon become evident to the people of Gaza,” he added without elaborating.

On June 12, a Hamas delegation returned to Gaza from Cairo following a weeklong visit during which delegation members met with a host of Egyptian intelligence officials.

Read: New Hamas chief Al-Senwar faces a tripartite alliance

Days later, the Egyptian authorities — for the first time ever — permitted trucks laden with industrial fuel into the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, allowing the enclave’s only functioning power plant to resume operations after a two-month hiatus.

In terms of domestic Palestinian politics, Haniyeh said that Hamas’s priority was to achieve “national reconciliation” and build bridges between rival Palestinian forces and factions.

“This will remain our top priority,” he said. “We will spare no effort to restore national unity and forge a unified strategy for resistance [to the Israeli occupation].”

Read: Hamas must look beyond Dahlan to ease the blockade

Haniyeh also called for the establishment of a genuine Palestinian government of national unity able to meet the needs of the Palestinian people in both the occupied West Bank and the blockaded Gaza Strip.

In 2014, Hamas, which has governed Gaza for the last 10 years, agreed with rival Palestinian movement Fatah, which runs the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, to establish a unity government.

The so-called unity government, however, has so far failed to assume a governing role in Gaza due to outstanding differences between the two ideologically opposed movements.

(Source / 06.07.2017)

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