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Hamas: 'Israelis living near Gaza will not return until we let them'

“The residents of Israeli cities and settlements close to the Gaza Strip will not return to their homes until Hamas, and not the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, lets them,” Hamas’ spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said.

“Netanyahu lies to his people by saying that he will gain victory. The truth is that the Palestinian resistance has won,” Abu Zuhri said during a rally held in Gaza in support of Palestinian factions.

“We reiterate what we previously said – we did not initiate this war; Israel did. Before Israel started the war we said we are not interested in an escalation, but the war was imposed on us. We promised that it will not be like previous wars, and it wasn’t. The resistance will continue to stand against them [the Israelis].”

He noted that Hamas’ priority is to reach a permanent ceasefire agreement, but Israel has to stop delaying.

“Either an agreement that honours us and our demands, or no agreement at all. The enemy needs to be ready for the repercussions of failing to reach an agreement,” he added.

Abu Zuhri said that it is impossible to disarm the resistance, warning that Hamas’ members are ready to sacrifice their lives for the resistance.

Egypt is currently hosting a new round of negotiations between Israel and Palestinian factions in the hope of reaching an agreement for a permanent ceasefire, in light of a temporary truce that started on Thursday and is set to end today.

Palestinian and Israeli statements show that there is a gap between the demands of the two sides.

Israel launched an assault on Gaza on July 7 which it called “Operation Protective Edge”. Some 2,016 Palestinians, mainly civilians, have been killed during the attacks and a further 10,193 have been injured, according to official Palestinian figures.

According to Israel, 64 Israeli soldiers and three civilians have been killed and 1,008 others were injured, including 651 soldiers and 357 civilians.


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