According to The Jerusalem Post, Hamas made a statement on Monday saying that it will refuse to lay down its weapons or “pay any political price” in accordance with any cease-fire agreement with Israel.
Mahmoud Zahar, a senior Hamas official, made a statement to an online newspaper called Al-Khaleej, saying, “We benefit from the truce. Our weapons will remain in our hands and there are no conditions regarding Hamas’s right to the resistance.”
Zahar continued, “The truce does not require a political price [from Hamas] and it is not part of the deal of the century.”
The “deal of the century” is the yet-to-be-announced plan for peace in the Middle East that was proposed by US President Donald Trump.
Zahar made this statement in response to remarks made by Palestinian Authority and Fatah officials who, according to The Jerusalem Post, said a cease-fire agreement between Hamas and Israel would pave the way for the deal of the century, which they believe is going to make efforts to terminate the Palestinian cause.
The Jerusalem Postreports that Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the State of Palestine and Palestinian National Authority, along with some of his top officials claimed that efforts to reach a cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas were underway in the past few days. The efforts, it was reported, were not only working toward a cease-fire, but they were also working toward separating the Gaza Strip from the West Bank.
Representatives from several Palestinian factions met with Egyptian intelligence officials in Cairo last week to work on a truce agreement. Reportedly, Zahar said progress was made regarding easing travel restrictions for the residents of the Gaza Strip. Zahar pointed out that the Rafah terminal – located on the border of the Gaza Strip and Egypt – has been open for the past few weeks.
The Jerusalem Postreports that Hamas officials are now focusing efforts on reaching a deal that will establish a seaport in Cyprus for shipping goods and passengers to the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian faction leaders returned to the Gaza Strip on Sunday but are expected back in Cairo for further truce discussions after the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha ends on Friday.'
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Spencer Platt