The deputy head of the Political Department in Hamas, Essam Al-Dalis, said that Egypt submitted a new draft to Hamas on its vision of reconciliation which is different from the one previously approved by the movement. He added that the new paper does not contain the item of “lifting the sanctions imposed by the Authority in Ramallah on the Gaza Strip.”
In an exclusive interview with Felestin newspaper on Sunday, Al-Dalis said that: “A month ago, the Egyptians submitted to the delegation of the Hamas leadership a paper on their vision of reconciliation which was accepted by the movement in line with the Egyptian efforts. The Egyptians presented the paper to Fatah, which they clearly rejected, as they always did to hinder any efforts for reconciliation.”
He added: “We were waiting for the Egyptian brothers’ response to that. We were surprised that during Hamas’s recent visit to Cairo, the Egyptians submitted to the delegation of the movement a new and different paper from that they previously submitted and that was approved by the movement.”
Al-Dalis explained that the new paper did not contain the lifting of sanctions imposed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his government on Gaza, and did not include full and complete commitment to the agreements signed by the factions in Cairo in 2011 and the subsequent agreements s of 2017 and the outcomes of Beirut.
He continued: “This is what Hamas and the factions have reached. They do not need new agreements, but they rather need the implementation of what was agreed upon in 2011 and that that the full lifting of the sanctions imposed by Abbas and his government would be a way for reconciliation.”
The recent escalation
Regarding the recent round of escalation, Al-Dalis said that “the resistance was able to curb the occupation and stop its aggression on the Palestinian people. It was also able to break the rules of clashes that the occupation has been trying to impose from time to time.” He pointed out that the Palestinian resistance has conveyed a clear message to the occupation: “Your assassinations of our fighters would not go in vain” and that there must be a response to the occupation’s targeting of the fighters. This was achieved in the recent round of escalation.
He added that in every round of aggression and escalation of the occupation against the people, the resistance intervenes and responds to this aggression, which targets trees, stones, and human beings. The world has noticed the occupation’s aggression and crimes against the family of Abu Khamash, the killing of the mother, her unborn baby and her daughter Bayan and the targeting of civil and cultural institutions and municipalities.
He mentioned that with each round of escalation, many mediators, on top of which Egypt, Qatar, and the UN envoy intervene to calm the situation for fear of turning into a full confrontation.
He pointed out that the Palestinian factions’ response has been clear and they have been responding to these mediators on the basis that “we are subjected to aggression. We are defending our people and are committed to a truce as long as the occupation would commit to that and would stop the aggression.” The mediators have been able to stop the wave of recent escalation.
Concerning the Israeli bombing’s coincidence with the visit of a delegation from the Political Bureau of Hamas to Gaza, Al-Dalis said: “The occupation committed a folly during the visit of the delegation of the Hamas leadership to the Gaza Strip by targeting a graduation ceremony in one of the locations which led to the death of two of the fighters. This targeting came in light of the mediators’ talks and efforts to reach a truce, in a clear message from the occupation that it is targeting these efforts and mediations. It was therefore necessary that the resistance respond to this repeated aggression targeting our people.”
Truce and marches of return
In response to Felestin’s inquiry about the truce proposal and consultation with the factions on the proposal of UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov, Al-Dalis explained that Hamas and the factions declared their clear position that they are supporting any Arab, Islamic, and UN efforts lifting the siege on the Gaza Strip without political costs.
He said: “This is the people’s right to lift the siege and have a decent life. This is part of the international community’s responsibility. Mladenov has been proposing a series of humanitarian projects that alleviate our people’s electricity, water, health, and unemployment crises.”
However, any projects or proposals the international community presents will be discussed by Hamas with the Palestinian factions to develop a unified collective position on the issues of our Palestinian people and submit them to the mediators, Al-Dalis said.
Regarding the marches of return, Al-Dalis said that “the marches are the lifter and the continued momentum of the status of the Palestinian cause and the siege of Gaza in front of the world. All the movements and mediation that we are witnessing today are the fruit of these marches and the sacrifices of the martyred and injured Palestinian people.
He pointed out that, after their twentieth week, the marches of return are going on the right track to achieve their goals at a high rate, in lifting the siege, asserting the right of return and resisting the Deal of the Century. “We have to hold and continue these marches until we see the actual lifting of the siege on the ground.”
The delegation’s visit and the file of soldiers
Al-Dalis described the visit of Hamas’s delegation from abroad to Gaza as an important historical event on the path of full return and liberation. This is the first time that the movement’s political bureau meets on one level.
Al-Dalis pointed out that the political bureau of Hamas issued a statement explaining a number of issues that have been discussed during its meeting and the resolutions reached especially regarding the marches of return, their achievements, continuation, and support. The meeting also discussed the efforts of the various sides, especially those of Egypt and Mladenov, to achieve reconciliation, lifting the siege on Gaza and the file of liberation of detainees from of the occupation’s prisons.
When asked: “Are there any developments in the file of the detainees? Do you agree on linking it with the other files? He stressed that Hamas is ready and highly prepared for a new detainees exchange deal. However, the occupation should respect the previous agreement of Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange to fully release all the prisoners it had re-arrested before starting a new exchange deal and it must be ready to pay the costs.
Al-Dalis explained that Hamas assured all sides that the tracks are different and do not intersect at all. The exchange file is a completely separate path that has nothing to do with the file of reconciliation, the lifting of the siege on Gaza file, or the resolution of Gaza’s humanitarian issues. This is what we assure and prove to all mediators. “The path of lifting the siege and the file of prisoners exchange are two parallel lines that will never intersect.”