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Islamic Jihad: We won’t allow Israel to evade understandings to ease Gaza siege

Members of Al-Quds Brigades, armed wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) Movement break their fast as they keep guard at the Israeli border during the Muslims' holy fasting month of Ramadan in Khan Yunis, Gaza on 13 June, 2017 [Ali Jadallah /Anadolu Agency]
Members of Al-Quds Brigades, armed wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) Movement break their fast as they keep guard at the Israeli border during the Muslims' holy fasting month of Ramadan in Khan Yunis, Gaza on 13 June, 2017 [Ali Jadallah /Anadolu Agency]

Tensions between Israel and Palestinian factions in the occupied Gaza Strip “continue to threaten the fragile truce” reached under UN and Egyptian mediation, reported Al-Monitor yesterday.

According to Musab al-Barim, a spokesperson for Islamic Jihad, the situation remains unstable.

“The Palestinian resistance’s will to fight will prevail over Israel’s insolence and abuse,” he said.

“This is made clear in our political discourse as well as in the messages we sent to the Egyptians who are mediating to break the Israeli siege.”

“There is no turning back. We cannot allow the Israelis to enjoy calm at the expense of the Palestinians’ rights, and we cannot allow them to evade their commitments that were agreed upon to lift the siege on Gaza,” the Islamic Jihad official added.

Meanwhile, Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem said that reducing protests at the fence was a deliberate decision by the High Committee of the Great Return March and Breaking the Siege “to bring civilian casualties to zero and stop the Israeli forces from shedding the blood of Palestinians”.

Asked about the truce, Qassem told Al-Monitor: “The Palestinian factions are committed to the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire agreement of 2014. They have never violated it.”

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“The Israeli forces are the ones who lag behind in fulfilling what is required of them, which puts all understandings in danger,” he added.

Noting that Hamas is not looking for war, Qassem said “if this battle happens to take place, it [Hamas] is ready to defend the Palestinians”.

Political analyst Talal Okal was quoted in the report as pointing out that the “Israelis have not complied with the terms of the truce, not even once”.

“The main problem preventing the expansion of these truce agreements is the issue of prisoners exchange,” Okal added.

“If that happens, I think it will lead to a preconditioned truce, meaning Israel will accept Hamas’ terms — and these include allowing the Qatari grant to be disbursed in Gaza to pay the civil servants’ salaries, allowing the entry of fuel and opening the crossings, among other things.”

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