|Gaza tunnel.(Photo by: REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)|
Hamas: Ending arms smuggling not part of truce
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH AND HERB KEINON
Hamas official Risheq says deal with Israel to end fighting doesn't include Egyptian commitment to stop flow of weapons into Gaza.
The Egyptian-brokered cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas does not
call for stopping the flow of weapons into the Gaza Strip, a top Hamas leader
Ezat Risheq, a member of the Hamas “political
bureau,” said reports claiming that the agreement calls for an end to the
smuggling of weapons were untrue.
Risheq was commenting on reports that
claimed special US army units would be deployed along the border between the
Gaza Strip and Egypt to stop the flow of weapons to Hamas and other armed
The Hamas official claimed that Israel was behind the
reports “to cover up for its defeat.”
An Israeli official, however,
referred anyone making this claim to the statement the White House issued after
the cease-fire was announced on Wednesday. He quoted US President Barack Obama
as telling Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that the US “would use the
opportunity offered by a cease-fire to intensify efforts to help Israel address
its security needs, especially the issue of the smuggling of weapons and
explosives into Gaza.”
The official said it was clear that Hamas and
other terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip were committed to re-arming, and that
Iran was eager to help them do so.
The official added that “it was equally clear” that there will be a US-led
international effort to combat it.
“We hope the Egyptians will be a
partner in this. We think they have an interest to do so.”
said that no sovereign country wants arms running through its borders which
could be siphoned off by other elements for other purposes. In addition, he
said, Egypt has an interest in preserving the quiet in the South and preventing
an escalation similar to what was witnessed last week.
The key challenge
for the international community, the source said, was to stop the arms before
they reached Sinai’s tunnels to be smuggled into Gaza.
In a related
development, Ziad Nakhalah, deputy head of Islamic Jihad, told the London-based
Al-Hayat newspaper that the cease-fire agreement was “temporary and
He said that Islamic Jihad would not be able to live with the
agreement forever “as if matters were normal.”
The agreement, Nakhalah
explained, “is part of our struggle with Israel because it is the aggressor.
Israel has assaulted our lands and holy sites and people in Gaza, the West Bank
and the territories of 1948.”
He said that Islamic Jihad would never lay
down its arms.
“The cease-fire must be mutual,” Nakhalah
“According to the agreement, Israel must end the blockade and
facilitate the movement of Palestinians in the sea and on the land. If this is
not implemented, we will return to the previous situation.”