More demands; more threats. “Hamas, Islamic Jihad threaten to end Gaza Strip cease-fire,” by Khaled Abu Toameh, for the Jerusalem Post, July 19:
One month after the cease-fire agreement in the Gaza Strip came into effect, Hamas said over the weekend that it might end the truce because of Israel’s “continued failure to honor the agreement.”
Hamas also said that it was convinced that “sooner or later, Israel would give in to our conditions” regarding the case of kidnapped IDF St-Sgt. Gilad Schalit.
Abu Obaidah, a spokesman for Hamas’s armed wing, Izaddin Kassam, the group that is holding the IDF soldier, claimed that Israel’s “intransigence” was behind the delay in achieving an agreement over a prisoner release.
Referring to the recent deal between Israel and Hizbullah, Abu Obaidah expressed hope that it would serve as an incentive for a new agreement between Israel and Hamas.
“Hamas considers the deal with Hizbullah an honorable achievement for the Lebanese resistance,” he said. “This deal also proves that Israel’s criterion for releasing [security] prisoners has been shattered. In the past, Israel refused to free prisoners serving lengthy sentences.”
He expressed confidence that Israel would eventually succumb on the case of Schalit.
“Sooner or later Israel will have to accept our conditions,” he added. “Unless Israel accepts all of our demands, there will be no agreement.”
Such as wearing distinctive, yellow clothing, and non-matching shoes, perhaps?
He said that the problem until now was Israel’s “reluctance” to accept Hamas’s demands. “Israel is continuing with its stubbornness,” he charged. “But following the deal with Hizbullah, there are growing calls inside Israel for striking a deal with Hamas at any price.”
Abu Obaidah warned that failure to comply with Hamas’s demands would prompt the movement to kidnap more IDF soldiers in the future to release Palestinian prisoners. Accusing Israel of failing to abide by the cease-fire agreement by refusing to reopen the border crossings into the Gaza Strip, Abu Obaidah said he did not rule out the possibility that Hamas and the rest of the Palestinian factions would end the truce.
“We will end the truce and resume our operations against Israel to force it to reopen the border crossings,” he said. He also warned Israel against invading the Gaza Strip, saying that the Palestinians were prepared more than ever to thwart such an offensive.
The Islamic Jihad organization also threatened to end the truce. Nafez Azzam, a senior Jihad official in the Gaza Strip, accused Israel of failing to live up to its commitments under the terms of the cease-fire accord.