Hamas is not considering a ceasefire with Israel, a spokesman for the movement announced Monday afternoon, as Gaza’s Hamas prime minister reiterated his commitment to armed struggle in order “to liberate the land.”
“There is no talk of a ceasefire agreement with the occupation and we are committed to defending our people; we will not neglect that role,” Sami Abu Zuhri told local media in Gaza.
Abu Zuhri used the press conference to lambaste the Palestinian Authority and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, for a bid to win UN recognition as a non-member state later this month. He spoke as Arab foreign ministers met in Cairo to discuss the Arab peace Initiative with Israel.
Hamas also filed a complaint against Israel with the United Nations Monday, blaming Israel for “crimes” against the residents of Gaza.
Abu Zuhri denied that the rockets emanating from Gaza were launched exclusively by Hamas, presenting the armed confrontation with Israel as a Palestinian consensus.
“It would be better for Fatah… to share the responsibility of defending Palestinian blood. The matter has nothing to do with Hamas; all Palestinian factions excluding Fatah are on the ground defending the Palestinian people in the face of aggression.”
On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told foreign ambassadors that a number of different terror organizations were responsible for launching some 150 rockets from Gaza since Saturday. Government officials, including Defense Minister Ehud Barak, told the ambassadors that an Israeli military incursion into Gaza was possible in order to restore security in Israel’s south.
Meanwhile, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh told a group of visiting Egyptian clerics that “resistance is the only way to free the land and restore Palestinian rights.”
“Palestinian land is part of the Islamic Wakf (religious trust) and no one has the right to forgo one grain of its holy soil,” Haniyeh told the clerics. “Concessions and negotiations have brought disaster to our people and our cause.”