“The resistance [Hamas terror organization] will not accept new rules regarding the Gaza Strip and will go to another round of confrontation [with Israel],” the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar, which has good sources in Hamas, reported Tuesday morning, claiming that this message was conveyed to Israel through Egypt.
The newspaper quoted Hamas sources as saying that “the movement completely rejects the occupation’s attempt to impose new rules concerning the general situation in Gaza and it will not wait long to break the existing situation, at any cost.”
“The time to return to the situation before the ‘Jerusalem Sword War’ [Hamas’ name for Operation Guardian of the Walls] is running out and so is our patience, as the occupation allows for provocative measures in Jerusalem and Gaza, while the possibility of a confrontation on the part of the resistance rises again,” Hamas told Al-Akhbar.
Hamas added that the message they conveyed to Egypt is that “Israel’s conduct will determine whether and when the resistance will strike again in Israel and the [Israel’s] threats will not frighten the resistance.”
Israel has not clarified yet what those new rules are, only that it will be acting differently than before.
Sources in Hamas have said that they will not allow a change to the way funds for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip are transferred and expressed opposition to the involvement of the Palestinian Authority in this process.
A representative at the Qatari embassy confirmed to TPS that the visit of Ambassador Muhammad Amadi, which was planned for Wednesday, has been postponed, and Hamas is now concerned that it is losing the suitcases packed with dollars it previously received directly from Qatar, brought to Gaza by Amadi.
Added to this mounting pressure is the US administration’s statements that it will send aid to Gaza only through the PA, and the IDF chief of staff’s recommendations to the political echelon that Israel block direct Qatari aid to the Strip.
Hamas spokespersons have stated the terror group’s demand to control the rehabilitation funds and its opposition to any “bypass route.” Khaled Mashaal, the leader of Hamas abroad, said in this regard that “Hamas wants to receive the donations for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip directly and not through other sources.”
A Hamas source told TPS that the organization would not even agree to the formation of a national unity government that would give the PA control over the funds, following the cancellation of the elections slated for the end of May by Mahmoud Abbas.
He added that if the rehabilitation funds are transferred to the Gaza Strip through the Palestinian Authority or a third party, Hamas will go for another round of violence and attack Israel again.
Abbas’ sanctions on the Gaza Strip for several years have prompted Hamas to oppose the transfer of funds through the PA, but Egypt’s involvement, which is expected to host an international or Palestinian summit on the issue soon, could lead to Hamas’ consent.
A security source told TPS that “Hamas is presenting opening positions but there is room for assessment that it will eventually join as a partner in the money transfer mechanism.”
Despite the public statements, Palestinian sources told the Al-Sharq Al-Awsat paper that Hamas will not oppose the PA’s involvement in the transfer of funds, given the possibility that Hamas may be part of the PA if a national unity government is formed. The sources added that “within the framework of an internal and comprehensive Palestinian agreement, the movement will not oppose the PA being a Palestinian address for the Gaza rehabilitation mechanism, but it is too early to agree on things now.”
Israel’s threats to eliminate Muhammad Def and Yihya Senwar, the leaders of Hamas in Gaza, are also rising tensions. Similarly, the expected decision in the Jerusalem court regarding the evacuation of the Arab families who are living illegally on Jewish-owned property in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood is a significant source of tension.
A source in the Gaza Strip told TPS that a decision to postpone the removal of the families would be credited to Hamas, but Hamas stated that they could not restrain their reaction if the families are evacuated.