Hamas said Saturday that it determines the security of residents of southern Israel — not the Israeli government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement published in the Palestinian Ma’an news agency that Netanyahu’s remarks this past week that he’d provide security to the inhabitants of the hard-hit Nazal Oz kibbutz are a “false display of power.”
“Hamas is the one who determines the security of Nahal Oz and the Gaza periphery, not Netanyahu,” Abu Zuhri said.
Netanyahu said during Sunday’s cabinet meeting that the government would approve NIS 1.3 billion for the security and reconstruction of southern communities.
The plan is to roll-out over a five-year period, from 2014 to 2018, at a cost of NIS 1.3 billion ($355 million), making it “the largest and most comprehensive economic development plan ever made for the area,” the Prime Minister’s Office said on Sunday.
The remarks by the Hamas spokesperson came a few days after Israeli and Palestinian negotiators agreed to schedule new talks on for a lasting Gaza ceasefire for the last week of October.
“We finished the indirect negotiations… it was agreed to resume them in the last week of October,” senior Hamas negotiator Izzat al-Rishq wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday.
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said the next round of indirect talks would be held in the second half of October in Cairo.
During Tuesday’s talks, “both sides agreed to commit to the truce and have presented their suggestions for discussing pending issues,” the ministry said in a statement.
The Israeli negotiators left Cairo after Tuesday’s talks, an official at Cairo airport said.
The 50-day conflict ended on August 26 with an agreement to hold future talks on Palestinian demands to end an eight-year blockade of Gaza and exchange prisoners in Israeli jails for the remains of Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza.
Rishq said the Palestinian negotiators in Cairo proposed that the talks in October center on reconstructing Gaza and setting up an airport and port in the Mediterranean enclave.
Israel has insisted that Hamas, which possesses a considerable arsenal of short- and medium-range rockets, disarm.
AFP contributed to this report.