Exclusive: Top Palestinian officials reveal details of Hamas’ response

Multiple officials in the Palestinian Resistance factions have spoken to Al Mayadeen following a landmark announcement made by Hamas.

  • Members of Palestinian Resistance factions hold a press conference against oppressive measures implemented by the Israeli occupation in al-Aqsa Mosque Complex, in Gaza, Palestine, on July 18, 2017. (AP)

A number of high-ranking officials in Palestinian Resistance factions spoke to Al Mayadeen following the Hamas’ submission of the Resistance’s response to mediators on Tuesday evening.

The Deputy Secretary-General for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Mohammad al-Hindi, told Al Mayadeen that the response to the “framework agreement”, also known as the Paris Document,  includes clauses that speak to “fundamental principles” set out by the Resistance.

This includes the “cessation of [the Israeli] aggression, withdrawal from [the Gaza Strip], and the reconstruction [of the Gaza Strip],” al-Hindi explained.

“Our response to the framework agreement came in harmony with our principles with slight modifications in wording,” he added.

Al-Hindi said the meeting of top Egyptian, Qatari, American, and French officials in Paris “came to discuss the issue of prisoners and regional tension.” This led to the formulation of the Paris Document, which offered a time-limited truce, in which a prisoner exchange deal would materialize between “Israel” and the Palestinian Resistance.

However, al-Hindi said that, in its response, the Resistance took the opportunity to “introduce the fundamental principles it adheres to to the Paris [Document].”

On the question of which side will guarantee that the clauses are not breached by the Israeli occupation, al-Hindi emphasized that the Resistance’s firepower is the real guarantor of the deal, not the mediators.

However, he did recognize the role that some nations and organizations could play, namely “Turkey, Qatar, Egypt, Russia, and the United Nations.”

He stressed that the United States is not one of those nations that could play such a role, as a guarantor.

“America is completely biased toward Israel… what we see with our own eyes is its participation in the aggression and preventing aid from entering Gaza,” the official stated.

No one can dictate to the Resistance civilian affairs in Gaza

“We requested the United Nations to be a guarantor for the first stage of the agreement regarding [the establishment of housing (shelters) for displaced persons,” al-Hindi said, noting that the Resistance introduced some clauses to the document that do not contradict the core principles it was based on.

The Deputy Secretary-General of the PIJ said that he expects “continuous escalation” on the battlefield, targeting the Israeli occupation, which will force it to “maneuver” to avoid “pressure”.

Reiterating the firm stance of the Palestinian Resistance factions regarding the governing of civilian affairs in the Gaza Strip, al-Hindi said, “No one can dictate to us how the day after the war will be,” adding, “We are steadfast in the basic position of stopping aggression, withdrawal, relief, reconstruction, and lifting the siege, and we await the enemy’s response.”

Al-Hindi also pointed to the effectiveness of Hezbollah and Yemen’s support for the Palestinian people and their Resistance.

He said that the United States is affected by regional tensions, especially from the operations of Ansar Allah and Hezbollah.

Ataya: Hamas coordinated response with PIJ

On his part, a member of the PIJ’s Political Bureau, Ihsan Ataya, confirmed that the response delivered by Hamas to mediators came after coordination with the PIJ.

In a phone call, Ataya told Al Mayadeen that what the Qatari Prime Minister said was a “positive” response was the fact that the Resistance did not reject the Paris Document and made modifications to it.

Ataya said that if implemented, the response’s clauses would lead to a ceasefire and the cessation of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip. It also includes the withdrawal of the Israeli military from the territory, opening all crossings into the Gaza Strip, the delivery of read-made housing units to the Strip, and the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip under guarantees.

“The United States and the occupation entity have realized that nothing can change politically in Gaza,” Ataya said, adding that they are currently working under the clock.

Hamas presented its response after consultation with Palestinian factions: Hamad

On his part, Ghazi Hamad, a member of the political bureau of the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip, told Al Mayadeen that the movement took some time to discuss the response to the Paris Document with the Palestinian Resistance factions.

Hamad called for pressuring the Israeli occupation to reach an agreement that satisfies all parties, pointing out that Hamas does not object to multiple stages, but ultimately, the agreement must include a final cessation of the war.

He stressed that “Israel” must not be given the freedom to invade Gaza later after the agreement, adding that the Israeli occupation admits and acknowledges its failure in breaking the will of the Palestinian Resistance and releasing the Israeli captives held in the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas official insisted that the Palestinian Resistance and people have the upper hand today, tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow to impose conditions on the Israeli occupation.

Touching on “Israel’s” attempts to link Hamas with Iran, Hamad made it clear that the movement has repeatedly said that Tehran supports the Palestinian Resistance militarily and financially, affirming that defeating and breaking this occupation is within reach.

He emphasized that communication with the leadership in Gaza is constant and ongoing, explaining that Resistance leaders in Gaza present their valuable opinion since they are involved in the battlefield and are well aware of the situation of the Resistance and its capabilities.

The Palestinian official clarified that when Hamas demands a prisoner exchange, prisoners from all Palestinian factions are included, adding that the movement aims to work on the release of the largest number of prisoners possible.

The Palestinian Resistance’s experience with the Israeli occupation is bitter because it does not respect laws, human rights, or the decisions of the International Court of Justice, Hamad told Al Mayadeen.

According to Hamad, this agreement, which must be reached, should not be based on the Israeli occupation’s conditions. He explained that the Resistance requested regional and international guarantees in order to ensure “Israel’s” commitment.

The Hamas official mentioned that the Palestinian Resistance presented “realistic and not exaggerated” demands, thanking all those who stood with the Palestinian people, especially in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and around the world.

Priority for Resistance factions was a ceasefire: Al-Taher

On his part, the head of international relations in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Maher al-Taher, confirmed that “discussions have taken place with the brothers in Hamas and PIJ regarding the response to the agreement.”

Al-Taher confirmed the role the Front had in the formulation of the response.

Moreover, the top official pointed to the US and its allies attempts to “strike” the Palestinian Resistance, adding that the Palestinian Authority (PA), headed by Mahmoud Abbas, has expressed its readiness to take over the governance of Gaza, but it requested that Gaza be “clean” first.

He indicated that the intensive American maneuvering is due to the fear of the growing role and strength of the Resistance in the region, adding that America wants to weaken the Palestinian Resistance because it interferes with regional projects and agreements it seeks to implement in later stages.

Furthermore, he revealed that the Resistance factions had agreed that the implementation of a ceasefire is their top priority in any deal, adding that there is a large possibility that “Israel” carries on its aggression on the Gaza Strip once all the captives are released. 

Read more: Hamas responds to mediators proposal, insists on full ceasefire

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