Hamas: End the Blockade or There Will be Another War

September 18, 2014  

Hamas deputy leader Mousa Abu Marzouq said Thursday the group does not want another war with Israel, but warned more fighting is inevitable unless the blockade on Gaza is lifted.

The comments were made in an interview Abu Marzouq gave to The Associated Press (AP).

In the interview, Abu Marzouq insisted that Hamas won the war, despite the apparent military setbacks.

He said his group’s popularity among Palestinian Arabs has increased and that it would likely defeat Abbas and his Fatah movement if elections were held today.

He warned that failure to negotiate a new Gaza deal and a lifting of the blockade would “lead to another war.”

“We don’t want that, and the Israelis, I guess, don’t like to see that (war) again,” he told AP, adding that the people of Gaza lived in a difficult situation before the war as a result of the blockade.

“We can’t put the Palestinians after the war in the same situation,” said Abu Marzouq. “They (the Israelis) have to change their policy.”

Hamas and Israel agreed to resume Egyptian-brokered negotiations within a month of a long-term ceasefire which began on August 26. The talks are to discuss key issues, including Hamas’s unprecedented demand for a port and an airport and for terrorist releases, as well as Israel’s demands for the area’s demilitarization.

Abu Marzouq said on Wednesday that the indirect ceasefire negotiations will restart within the next week.

He added that while the exact date had not yet been set, “it would definitely be before the 24th of the current month.”

Israel’s demand for demilitarization has been flatly rejected, with Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri saying that “our people will not allow it. It is not required to disarm the Palestinian people, but rather to disarm the (Israeli) occupation and to ban the American administration from providing it with the weapons that are used to kill children and women.”

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has rejected Hamas’s seaport and airport demand, saying that “there is no chance that Hamas will receive a seaport – it is not in Israel’s interest, it is not an Egyptian interest, it’s not even in the interest of the Palestinian Authority.”

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