Speaking to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency on Friday during a visit to the Tunisian capital, Tunis, Sami Abu Zuhri, said Israel “does not respect agreements and carries out daily incursions into the cities of the West Bank, and the threat of displacement of the residents of Jerusalem [al-Quds] is still present.”
It is likely that “another round of confrontation” will occur if the Israeli regime continues such violations, he added.
Abu Zuhri said a “fragile” Egypt-mediated ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is still holding since May 21 but its future depends on Tel Aviv, adding that his movement will respect the agreement as long as Israel does.
“If Israel does not comply, it is natural for us to confront it,” the Hamas official said.
He emphasized that the sides reached “a mutual and simultaneous ceasefire agreement, not a truce,” which was “fragile, due to the bloody and criminal nature of the occupation.”
Tel Aviv launched the bombing campaign against the besieged Gaza Strip on May 10, following Palestinian retaliation against violent raids on worshipers at al-Aqsa Mosque and the regime’s plans to force a number of Palestinian families out of their homes at the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem al-Quds.
Apparently caught off guard by the unprecedented barrage of rockets from Gaza, Israel announced a unilateral ceasefire on May 21, which Palestinian resistance movements accepted with Egyptian mediation.
According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, 260 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli offensive, including 66 children, 40 women and 16 elderly while 1,948 others were wounded.
In response, Palestinian resistance factions fired more than 4,000 rockets and missiles into the occupied territories, killing 12 people.
Abu Zuhri further welcomed recent talks between Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel and Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar in Gaza about a possible Hamas-Israel prisoner swap deal.
Kamel visit’s to the Gaza Strip demonstrates Egypt’s interest in the Palestinian cause and its support for the Palestinians following the latest Israeli aggression.
The Hamas spokesman stressed the importance of the reconstruction of the besieged Gaza Strip which was an “essential part of the dialogue that paved the way for the ceasefire.
He, however, emphasized that Hamas would refuse to link the issue of prisoners to the reconstruction aid.
“The file of Gaza’s reconstruction is linked to the outcomes of the Israeli aggression. As for the prisoner exchange deal, its context is related to the release of Palestinian prisoners,” Abu Zuhri pointed out.
Israel keeps thousands of Palestinians behind bars in dire conditions even despite the new coronavirus outbreak, which has seen many international rights organizations campaigning for the release of the inmates amid the pandemic.
More than 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in some 17 Israeli jails, with dozens of them serving multiple life sentences.
Over 350 detainees, including women and minors, are under Israel’s “administrative detention”.
Abu Zuhri warned against “any slowdown or delay in the reconstruction of Gaza” and suggested Egypt to lead the reconstruction project given the North African country’s “experience and competence.”
Hamas stance towards Iran
Elsewhere in his remarks, Abu Zuhri said Hamas leaders have praised Iran for supporting the resistance.
“What is issued by the leaders of the movement is a reflection of its official position, but it is natural that this position corresponds to the moods of others or contradicts them, but we are committed to what is issued by the institutions of the movement,” the spokesman said.
He added, “Iran has given a lot for the resistance, and we appreciate its stance on serving the Palestinian cause.”
Hamas is keen to maintain relations with all Arab and Muslim states and not to foster a relationship with one country at the expense of another, he said.
“We welcome anyone who wants to get close to us.”