Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has denied allegations by other Palestinian factions – including rival movement Fatah – that it is seeking to establish a separate state in the Gaza Strip in return for a long-term truce with Israel.

In a statement posted late Saturday on his Facebook page, Mousa Abu Marzouk, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, said his group had no intention of “accepting the separation of the Gaza Strip from the [Israeli-occupied] West Bank in return for concessions [from Israel].”

“We have repeated it many times,” he added. “Any consolidation of the truce [with Israel] that we, along with other Palestinian factions, signed in Cairo during last year’s war on Gaza must come in return for opening Gaza’s borders; the unimpeded delivery of building materials into Gaza; lifting the [Israeli-Egyptian] siege on Gaza; allowing Gaza’s airport to operate; and allowing construction of a Gaza seaport.”

Since 2007, Israel – with Egypt’s help – has maintained a tight blockade on the Gaza Strip by air, land and sea. The embargo has deprived the coastal enclave’s almost 2 million inhabitants of the most basic commodities, including food, fuel, medicine and building materials.

In August of last year, Israel signed a cease-fire deal with Palestinian factions, including Hamas. The deal ended a devastating 51-day Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip that left some 2,160 Palestinians – mostly civilians – dead.

In his Saturday statement, Abu Marzouk denied Hamas was in talks with Israel regarding proposals for a long-term truce, adding: “We told Tony Blair [a former UK prime minister and the previous head of the so-called “Middle East Quartet”] – along with others who knocked on our door – that we would not engage in a continuation of the [1993] Oslo Agreement.”

Regarding a truce initiative reportedly tabled by Blair, Abu Marzouk declared: “Everyone should know we will not accept a continuation of Oslo; what we rejected before for others, we won’t accept for ourselves.”

Hamas has always been a vocal opponent of the Oslo Agreement, signed in 1993 between the Palestine Liberation Organisation and Israel.

According to the agreement, from which the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority was born, the Palestinian side is expected to prevent resistance attacks on Israel and exchange information with Israeli security agencies in return for a degree of autonomy in the West Bank.

A Hamas leader told Anadolu Agency earlier that recent attempts by Blair to mediate a truce between Israel and Hamas – which has governed the Gaza Strip since 2007 – “are heading towards failure.”

The Hamas leader, speaking anonymously, said that what Blair had to offer “fails to meet the demands of the Palestinian people.”

In the absence of significant modification, he added, the former UK premier’s offer “will most likely come to nothing.”

Source: Middle East Monitor


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