Gaza-based Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar has rejected “all of the offers” made by the United Nations for an extended ‘calm’, threatening instead to escalate hostilities against Israel if millions of dollars in Qatari funds are not transferred to the enclave, according to Kan News.
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Process Tor Wennesland met on Monday with Sinwar, trying to strengthen the current ceasefire with Israel.
But the meeting did not go well, Sinwar told reporters Monday afternoon, saying he had rejected Israeli “provocations.”
Israel is standing firm on its requirement for Hamas to free the two living Israeli captives and the bodies of the two fallen IDF soldiers held by the terror group since the summer war of 2014 — before allowing Qatar to resume its monthly infusions of cash for poor families in the Gaza Strip.
“It was a bad meeting. It was not positive at all, he said. “The meeting with the UN delegation was thorough and they listened to us, but unfortunately there are no indications of intentions to solve the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. We informed the UN that we will not accept this.
“It seems that the occupation did not understand our message,” he added.
“There are no signs of a solution to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the occupation is trying to blackmail us,” Sinwar said.
“The occupation is . . . preventing fishermen from working to support their families. The occupation is preventing the entry of international grants – including the Qatari grant – to poverty-stricken families in the Gaza Strip.
“It is clear our people need to put pressure on this occupation,” Sinwar said, adding a call for a “meeting with leaders of national and Islamic factions to brief them on the results of the meeting and to take the appropriate decision to exert more pressure through popular resistance.”
One day earlier, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett issued a warning to Hamas, saying that Israelis living near the Gaza border are not “second-class citizens.” (Remarks in Hebrew only.)
“We will not tolerate violence. We will not tolerate even a “drizzle” of rockets. We will not … exercise containment towards Gaza splinter factions. Our patience has run out,” Bennett said.
Nevertheless, the IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), allowed agricultural exports to leave Gaza via the land crossings on Monday for the first time since Israel’s mini war with Hamas last month. But COGAT underlined the move was dependent on a stable security situation.
“This civilian measure, approved by the political echelon, is conditional upon the preservation of security stability,” said COGAT.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz also issued a crystal-clear warning to Hamas in a statement to reporters in the Knesset during the day.
“What was, will not be. If Hamas has not yet understood this, we will make sure they do understand.
“Without the return of the boys and security stability Gaza will not be economically revitalized,” Gantz added.