Hamas is not interested in starting a war with Israel, deputy Hamas chief in Gaza Khalil al-Hayya said on Tuesday.“We are not trying to start a war. We don’t want one and we don’t hope for one,” Hayya told a press conference in Gaza. “We are committed to the cease-fire that Egypt brokered as long as the occupation is committed to it.”
Egypt brokered the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas that ended Operation Protective Edge in 2014.Tensions between Hamas and Israel have been on the rise since the mysterious assassination last month of Mazen Fuqaha, who was a senior member of the Hamas’s military wing—the Izzeldin Kassam Brigades.Hamas blamed Israel for the assassination and vowed to exact revenge.“The occupation knows that the blood of those struggling in the way of God will not be wasted,” Hamas said immediately after Fuqaha’s assassination.Israeli officials have not commented on the assassination, except for Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who suggested Israel did not take part in it.Instead of starting a war, Hayya said that Hamas prefers “to rebuild Gaza, lessen the pains of our people, and restore its forces to liberate Palestine.” Maintaining a long-term cease-fire, Hayya added, is “beneficial for our people.”Hamas leaders have previously stated that while its ultimate goal is “to liberate the entirety of historic Palestine” through armed conflict, they are open to maintaining a long-term cease-fire.Hayya warned, however, that if Israel initiates a new war, Hamas will not hesitate to enter into a new round of conflict with it.“Hamas and the Kassam do not want a war. But if [Israel] announces a war…it will find, in our resistance, including first and foremost the Kassam, that which will cause it pain and destabilize its general command,” Hayya declared.The Gaza Strip is still struggling with the consequences of 2014 conflict. According to the Palestinian Authority, only 34% of the 11,000 homes totally destroyed during the war have been reconstructed.
Hamas threatens top Israeli officials over Gaza assassination , March 30, 2017 (PALESTINIAN MEDIA)