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Hamas’s political chief, Khaled Mashal stated Wednesday that Hamas rejects a ceasefire and negotiations. In a press conference in Qatar, the Hamas leader made clear that Hamas has not intentions of demilitarization, following the EU’s call for Hamas and other militants in Gaza to demilitarize immediately.
Mashal stated that “We [Hamas] reject the cycle of a ceasefire and negotiations. We rejected it today, and we will reject it in the future.” The United States and UN have been pressing for Hamas and Israel to agree to a ceasefire supported by Egypt, Israel accepting several times and Hamas refusing.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Secretary of State John Kerry have been pressing for a ceasefire, the leaders meeting with Egyptian, Israel and Palestinian leadership since Monday in hopes of renewing negotiations and instilling a ceasefire.
Mashal stated that Hamas “would not accept an initiative that does not include lifting the blockade.” He went on to threaten Israel stating, “Today Israel is worried about what happened at Ben Gurion Airport. Do you want a blockade in return for the blockade? Today the resistance in Gaza can blockade you, in the future it will from the West Bank… You blockade our air space, we will blockade your air space.”
Mashal was referencing the American Federal Aviation Agency’s (FAA) ban on flights to Israel. The FAA extended its ban Wednesday for an additional 24 hours, several European airlines following.
Mashal accused Israel of being the aggressor, claiming Hamas is the victims in the conflict. Mashal stated, “From the beginning we said that this was an act of aggression not a war between equal sides, against Israeli deception and international hypocrisy…. We need fuel, food supplies and electricity.”
He stated that the criteria for demilitarization is for Israel to “end of the occupation and the second is the disarming of Israel from its weapons” insisting, “No one will force us to lay down our weapons.”
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Amir Tsarfati is the founder and president of Behold Israel, a news site to correct the scarcity in trustworthy reportage on issues and events impacting Israel, and to resolve the uncertainty about who or what to believe.