Hamas warned Wednesday that it would resume its attacks on Israel unless Jerusalem accepts all Palestinian demands, first and foremost the lifting of the siege and release of prisoners who were rearrested in the West Bank.
The warning came as representatives of the two groups held additional talks in Cairo with Egyptian officials on ways of solidifying the 72-hour cease-fire, which began Tuesday morning.
Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official, said that the Palestinian delegation to the Cairo discussions, which also consisted of representatives of Fatah and other Palestinian factions, claimed that the US was exerting pressure on the Palestinians to agree to the extension of the cease-fire “in order to save Israel’s reputation.”
Hamdan told the Al Jazeera TV network that the “options of the Palestinian resistance groups are open if there is no progress” in the talks.
He said that the Palestinian groups have sent a message to Israel that “our finger is still on the trigger” if the Palestinian demands are not met.
“Our rockets are still ready to hit all areas [inside Israel],” he added.
According to senior official Musa Abu Marzouk, "There is no agreement to extend the 72-hour cease-fire."
Another top Hamas official, Izzat al-Rishq, said that his movement was determined to exert as much pressure as possible to see all its demands met.
“There is no need for any agreement that is not an honorable one for the Palestinians,” he said. “We won’t accept any attempt to deny our people the right to pick the fruits of their victory and heroism.”
Ziad al-Nakhaleh, deputy head of Islamic Jihad who is participating in the Cairo talks, expressed optimism regarding Egypt’s compliance with the Palestinian demands.
“Our demands are now in the hands of the Egyptians, who are discussing them with the Israelis,” Nakhaleh told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency. “Our demands include an airport and seaport in the Gaza Strip.”
He dismissed talk about disarming the Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip as part of any cease-fire deal, saying this issue was “nonnegotiable.”
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