Saleh al-Arouri .
(photo credit: ARAB MEDIA)
The recent Egyptian-sponsored ceasefire understandings between Israel and Hamas are not a peace or truce agreement, senior Hamas official Saleh Arouri said on Thursday.
Arouri, who was speaking by phone to supporters at a rally at Bir Zeit University, north of Ramallah, said his movement will not accept any solution that calls for recognizing Israel.
Late last year, the US State Department announced a $5 million reward for information that would lead to the capture of Arouri and two senior Hezbollah members. Born in the West Bank, Arouri is one of the founders of Hamas’s military wing, Izzadin al-Qassam, and is responsible for several terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers, including the 2014 kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank.
The ceasefire understandings, he said, are not a “political agreement or a truce” with Israel. He claimed that Hamas did not face any preconditions for being part of the understandings.
Hamas, Arouri said, has taken a decision to end the blockade on the Gaza Strip through its force and the weekly protests along the border with Israel, known as the Great March of Return.
Arouri, who is currently based in Lebanon, revealed that Hamas and Israel recently conducted indirect negotiations through Egypt concerning the conditions of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons. The reported negotiations apparently came after Hamas inmates stabbed and wounded two prison guards a few weeks ago.
“This was the first time that the leaders of the Palestinian resistance had intervened to negotiate with the occupation about the affairs of the prisoners,” Arouri said.
Referring to US President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-announced plan for peace in the Middle East, also known as the “deal of the century,” Arouri stressed that Hamas will not accept any solution that recognizes Israel’s right to exist. Hamas, he said, will be the “real wall blocking the deal of the century.”
Trump’s peace plan will not pass, Arouri said. “It’s an American-Israeli vision to liquidate the Palestinian cause in collaboration with some Arab regimes,” he charged. Addressing Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Arouri said: “Your decisions will not change the history and geography. It’s your business if you have been stupid in making your decisions.”
The Hamas leader also lashed out at Arab countries for their alleged normalization with Israel and accused Israel of working to impose a new reality on the ground so as to make Jerusalem its capital.
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