Hamas: We'll accept truce for removing siege

Haniyeh says although Israel's position on Egyptian initiative is totally unclear, Hamas wants cease-fire.

haniyeh 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
haniyeh 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Israel's position regarding the Egyptian initiative for achieving a truce with the Palestinians is totally unclear, but that does not mean that Hamas does not want a cease-fire, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said Tuesday. He said that despite the difficulties in reaching an agreement, the Egyptians were making efforts to achieve a truce between the Palestinians and Israel. "Hamas's position toward the Egyptian initiative is very clear," said Haniyeh. "We have said that we will accept a truce in return for the lifting of the siege, the reopening of the border crossings and an end to the Israeli aggression on our people." Haniyeh said that in spite of his movement's clear position, Israel still hasn't come up with clear answers. "The Israeli position remains very obscure," he said. "We don't know what their real position is. However, the door has not been closed and the Egyptian efforts in this regard are continuing." Hamas parliamentarian Salah Bardaweel also talked Tuesday about "contradictions" in the Israeli stance toward the Egyptian initiative. "Recently we have seen contradictory statements come out of the Israelis," he said. "This reflects the state of confusion and uncertainty they are in after failing to break the will of the Palestinian people." Bardaweel admitted that Israel did want a truce, but said "the truce they want is one that would strengthen the Israeli position without having to make concessions." He warned that if Israel continued to insist on its current position, "the day would come when the Israelis would start pleading for a cease-fire. Then they would have to accept a cease-fire under Palestinian conditions." Bardaweel denied reports of a secret understanding between Hamas and Israel regarding a truce. "Until now there is no truce with the Israeli enemy," he said, adding "The only dialogue between us now is through the rifles." He said that Hamas views the truce as one of many "tactics" in managing the conflict with Israel and not as a final solution. In any case, he went on to say, "It's not in Hamas's interest to declare the failure of the truce talks. If the Israeli enemy does not accept our conditions, we will have to continue the resistance."