Hamas links ceasefire future with Israel’s behaviour
A fragile cease-fire between Israel and Hamas is still holding since it was brokered by Egypt on May 21, but its future depends on Israel’s behavior, said a spokesman for the Palestinian resistance group.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency during a visit to the Tunisian capital, Tunis, Sami Abu Zuhri underlined that his movement will respect the cease-fire agreement as long as Israel respects it.
"If Israel does not comply, it is natural for us to confront it," said Abu Zuhri about the agreement, which brought an end to 11 days of Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip that claimed the lives of at least 289 Palestinians and left a trail of destruction which saw residential buildings, health centers, schools and media houses among the civilian structures targeted.
He noted that what was achieved was "a mutual and simultaneous cease-fire agreement, not a truce," describing it as "fragile, due to the bloody and criminal nature of the occupation."
Israel “does not respect agreements and carries out daily incursions into the cities of the West Bank, and the threat of displacement of the residents of Jerusalem is still present,” Abu Zuhri said, adding the continuation of such violations makes another round of confrontation likely.
The latest round of violence erupted against the backdrop of tensions over an Israeli court ruling to evict Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem and police assaults on worshippers inside the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque.
On May 25, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken embarked on a four-day trip to Israel, Palestine, Egypt and Jordan to discuss ways of strengthening the cease-fire among a host of regional issues.
On Monday, Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel was in Gaza for talks with the Hamas leader in the besieged enclave, Yahya Sinwar, to discuss a possible Hamas-Israel prisoner swap deal.
A day earlier, Kamel met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for talks on the Gaza cease-fire and reconstruction of the territory.
Abu Zuhri welcomed Kamel’s visit to Gaza and his shuttle diplomacy, saying it demonstrates Egypt’s interest in the Palestinian cause and its support for the Palestinians after the latest aggression.
The hospitality with which the Egyptian delegation was received in Gaza is "evidence of Hamas' keenness to build great relations with Cairo,” Abu Zuhri noted, adding the visit serves the interests of the people of Gaza and strengthens bilateral relations between Egypt and Gaza. -Anadolu Agency