Palestinian Hamas militants take part in a protest against the Israeli police raid on Jerusalem's al-Aksa mosque in Khan Yunis.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hamas is not interested in another war with Israel, but is prepared to fight if a military confrontation is imposed on it, a Hamas official in the Gaza Strip said on Sunday.
Mushir al-Masri, a top Hamas official, dismissed recent Israeli threats against his movement, saying they were intended for “local consumption.” The threats reflect the state of security hysteria that has plagued Israeli mentality, he added.
“Israel’s threats don’t scare or intimidate us because we are prepared to defend ourselves,” al-Masri said. “Hamas is not interested in initiating a war at this phase, but if it’s imposed on us the resistance is prepared for it.”
The Hamas official called on Israeli leaders to stop issuing threats against the Gaza Strip. “They must stop this mingled rhetoric, which won’t affect our readiness to defend ourselves,” he said.
On the same day as al-Masri's somewhat passive remarks, Abu Obeidah, spokesman for Hamas’s military wing, Ezaddin al-Qassam, announced that his group has enough to force Israel to agree to an “honorable” prisoner exchange.
In a speech on the occasion of Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, Abu Obeidah said that his group would fulfill its promise to release Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prison.
Just days earlier, senior Hamas figure Ismail Haniyeh had pledged that the current 'intifada' against Israel will continue, as it is the will of the Palestinian people.
"There are those who try to bury the al-Quds (Jerusalem) intifada, but this intifada will continue and it is the option of the people, the nation and the entire generation," he said at a rally in Gaza ahead of the Palestinian Prisoners' Day.