Musa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas official, said Saturday that his movement prefers Israeli reoccupation of the Gaza Strip to the blockade.
Abu Marzouk told the Rai al-Youm newspaper that Israeli reoccupation of the Gaza Strip would mean that Israel would have to provide the Palestinians with electricity, water and jobs.
“We prefer the reoccupation of the Gaza Strip by Israel to returning to the state of blockade that prevailed before the current aggression,” Abu Marzouk, who is based in Cairo, said. “Occupation means providing electricity, water and jobs. Providing these daily matters is the responsibility of the occupying state.”
Abu Marzouk said that he relayed this message to a Norwegian envoy, who met with him in Cairo a few days ago to discuss the situation in the Gaza Strip.
Abu Marzouk also held talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who has been seeking to persuade Hamas to accept the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire proposal that was announced last week.
Abu Marzouk said that Hamas and other Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip reject the proposal “because it encourages Israeli aggression.”
The Hamas official said that the formula of “calm for calm” means complying fully with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s conditions.
“Accepting this formula would be a victory for Netanyahu,” he added.
Abu Marzouk said that Hamas couldn’t accept Netanyahu’s demands to stop smuggling and manufacturing weapons.
He quoted Abbas as telling him during the meeting: “We can’t defeat Israel and we are powerless in front of America. Therefore, there should be a cease-fire and Hamas must accept the Egyptian proposal immediately and without any amendments.”
Abbas, meanwhile, repeated his hope that Hamas would accept the Egyptian proposal to spare Palestinian blood in the Gaza Strip.
Abbas, who is currently visiting Turkey as part of his efforts to end the fighting between Israel and Hamas, said that the Egyptian proposal is based on ending the fighting in line with the 2012 cease-fire agreement engineered by then-president Mohamed Morsi.
“What is important for us now is to stop the bloodshed,” Abbas said. “Afterward, we could make our demands. The number one demand is to stop the killings and massacres and this tragedy.”