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Hamas says no deal without Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and return of the IDPs

April 16, 2024 at 10:46 am

Senior Hamas leader Izzat al-Rishq in Ankara, Turkey on October 18, 2019 [Muhammed Selim Korkutata/Anadolu Agency]

A senior member of the Hamas political bureau confirmed on Monday that the resistance movement will not agree to any ceasefire and prisoner exchange agreement that does not include the complete withdrawal of the Israeli occupation forces from the Gaza Strip and the return of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their areas in the Palestinian enclave.

“We will not concede on this condition,” insisted Izzat Al-Rishq. Moreover, he added, a permanent ceasefire in Gaza is the only guarantee to protect the Palestinian people and stop the “flood” of blood and massacres. “The [Israeli occupation government] wants a temporary [ceasefire] agreement in order to get the release of its captives in Gaza, after which it will resume the war and genocide in the Strip,” he warned.

“The attempts by Netanyahu and his government to free the captives by force have failed, and there is no alternative to a real deal with the resistance. The occupation has not achieved any victory in Gaza, despite the passage of more than six months since the start of its war, nor will it achieve any victory.”

Pointing out that Israel’s targeting of civilians and all aspects of civilian life are signs of defeat, not preludes to victory, the Hamas official ended his statement by saying, “Israel has become a pariah, and world public opinion is with our people and their just cause.”

Hamas announced on Saturday that it had delivered its response to Egypt and Qatar regarding a ceasefire proposal with Israel, which it received on 8 April. The movement did not reveal its response, but reiterated its commitment to its demands and the demands of its people “for a permanent ceasefire, the withdrawal of the occupation army from all of Gaza, the return of the displaced to their areas and places of residence, increasing the entry of relief and aid, and the start of reconstruction.” It confirmed its willingness to “reach a serious and real prisoner exchange deal between the two parties.”

According to the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office on Sunday, Hamas responded “negatively” to outlines provided to it by the mediators — Egypt, Qatar and the US — regarding a ceasefire proposal. “The rejection of the proposal through the three mediators, which included the most significant flexibility on Israel’s part, proves that [Palestinian politician Yahya] Sinwar does not want a humanitarian deal and the return of the hostages, and continues to take advantage of tensions with Iran to try to unite the theatres and to achieve a general escalation in the region.”

The statement from Netanyahu’s office came at a time when protests are escalating in Israel demanding a prisoner exchange agreement and a ceasefire in Gaza.

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