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Haniyeh: Hamas will not allow for the existence of a separate state in Gaza

The Deputy Head of the Political Bureau of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, said yesterday that the movement does not seek to establish a separate state in the Gaza Strip.

Speaking during the closing ceremony of a summer camp organised by the Women's Department of Hamas in Gaza, Haniyeh stressed the movement's refusal to "accept a state in the Gaza Strip and give up the rest of occupied Palestine."

He addressed those who distort Hamas's position saying: "We will not accept a state on two per cent of the land of Palestine called Gaza; Palestine, all Palestine is ours, and we have set our compass towards Jerusalem."

"Hamas's strategy and projects are way bigger than that; by the comprehensiveness of our strategy we mean the liberation of all of Palestine, and when it comes to the liberation phases, the best example would be Gaza which we did not liberate through negotiations."

Haniyeh stressed that, despite all the pain it suffers from, Gaza cannot give up its role regarding liberating all of Palestine; Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque, and Jerusalem will remain Hamas's top priority.

Hamas confirmed a few days ago that the former International Quartet Envoy and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will mediate a long-term ceasefire deal between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

However, Hamas leader Ahmed Yousef denied the rumours that final agreement had been reached and approved by the movement's Shura Council.

Yusuf said that the talks about stabilising the truce are still at the stage of exchanging semi-official ideas and that no agreement, which could be described as final or official, has been reached yet.

He stressed that during the current discussion regarding a long-term truce, Hamas demands lifting the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip, opening all of the border crossings as well as establishing a waterway linking the Gaza Strip to the outside world.

Fatah has repeatedly warned that a separate truce agreement between Hamas and Israel could lead to separating the Gaza Strip from the West Bank.

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