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Hamas denies rift between political and military leadership

The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement has firmly denied any rift between its political and military wings, contrary to what Israel is claiming. Hamas official Dr Ismail Radwan told Alquds Alarabi that the movement's decisions are made by means of "discussion" and that the disputes are nothing more than Israel's "wishful thinking". Talk of a dispute, he added, are simply "false rumours spread by the occupation."

Stressing that the Hamas "political, security, and military" wings are united, Radwan pointed out that this unity extends between the leadership inside Palestine and abroad. He said that one institution makes the decisions. "We all march to the beat of the same drum, which is why the Israelis — who have failed to defeat Gaza and Hamas militarily in three offensives — are spreading these lies." The rumours, claimed Radwan, are an attempt to alleviate the fear and concern within Israel regarding the resistance.

Israel is trying to distract the public from the Jerusalem intifada by causing chaos in the occupied Palestinian territories and reassuring the illegal settlers living in settlements surrounding Gaza by means of inciting against the resistance. It also hopes to affect moves towards Palestinian reconciliation.

When asked by Alquds Alarabi about talk of the intention to launch a new war on the Gaza Strip, the Hamas official replied, "We are not expecting an imminent war on Gaza." Israel is wary, he suggested, because it has failed to achieve any of its objectives in its previous military offensives against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip. "Any future invasion or attack on resistance groups will not be a walk in the park."

There has been mention recently about the severe tension in the areas bordering the Gaza Strip due to the statements made by Israeli politicians and army officers regarding Hamas's military capabilities. This has apparently stirred up fear among local residents. In a press release issued a few days ago, General Amos Gilad, the director of the Political-Military Affairs Bureau at Israel's Defence Ministry, said that Hamas activists continue to dig tunnels for offensive purposes, but ruled out the possibility of a war this summer.

Israeli reports have claimed that the disputes between the Hamas political and military wings might cause an escalation on the Gaza front, similar to the military offensive in the summer of 2014. According to these reports, Mohammed Al-Deif, the senior commander of Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, is the strongest man in Gaza and has recently disagreed with the Hamas political leadership regarding the situation in the enclave and the movement's relationship with Iran and Hezbollah. According to such reports, Al-Deif wants to restore relations with both, while the political leadership, especially Khaled Meshaal and Ismail Haniyeh, want to avoid this.

The reports also claim that Hamas in Gaza is suffering at the moment, especially regarding the security of its funding and financial support, which is why Al-Deif wants to restore relations with Iran and Hezbollah. It is also said that he is interested in a new confrontation and does not want to engage in indirect negotiations with Israel, while Haniyeh wants the situation in Gaza to remain calm and would prefer to focus on rebuilding homes destroyed by Israel.

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