Hamas ‘backs’ effort of Egypt, Qatar to end Israeli ‘blockade’ on Gaza

The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) on Saturday said that it backs the efforts of Egypt and Qatar to end the Israeli blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2007.

Hamas made the remarks in a statement issued at the conclusion of its leadership meetings held in the Egyptian capital Cairo for three days, which discussed the Israeli blockade, the issue of Palestinian prisoners, and the situation in Jerusalem, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Hamas will keep working on defying the unfair siege imposed on our people in Gaza,” Hamas said, adding its welcomes the efforts of Egypt and Qatar for starting the reconstruction plan and breaking the Israeli siege.

Before the leadership meetings, the delegation headed by Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh met with senior Egyptian intelligence officials in Cairo, and discussed the possibility of reaching a cease-fire between the movement and Israel in the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas delegation explained to the Egyptian officials that the movement is committed to maintaining calm in the Gaza Strip as long as Israel adheres to it, a Palestinian source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Xinhua.

The source said that during the dialogue with the Egyptian side, Hamas demanded that Israel should not enter the border area in eastern Gaza and ensure safety of the Palestinian farmers near the border.

Israel imposed a blockade right after Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip following weeks of infighting with the security forces of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Nazzal, a member of the movement’s delegation in Cairo, told reporters that Hamas had presented a clear vision to the Egyptian side about reaching a prisoners’ exchange deal with Israel.

“Haniyeh pledged to the Egyptian side that Hamas is determined to finalise the deal and there is no step back to reach an agreement in this respect,” Nazzal said.

In 2017, Hamas’ military wing announced that it held four missing Israelis, including two Israeli soldiers, without giving details on their fate, and said it wanted to exchange them for the Palestinians imprisoned in Israel.