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Hamas says it does 'not expect' a war with Israel

Yahya Sinwar et le nouveau chef du Hamas Ismaïl Haniyeh (d) lors des funérailles de Mazen Faqha à Gaza, le 25 mars 2017
MAHMUD HAMS (AFP/Archives)
Tensions between Hamas and Israel have ratcheted up over Gaza's electricity crisis

A senior Hamas official said on Sunday that the Islamist militant group does not expect a war with Israel.

“We in Hamas do not initiate wars and we do not expect one, this is our political assessment,” Khalil al-Hayya, a deputy leader of Hamas, was quoted by Reuters as saying in a press briefing.

“We do not expect war because we are not interested and the occupation [Israel] also say they are not interested,” the quote continued.

It was not clear if he was speaking about the short or medium term, however tensions between Hamas and the outside world have ratcheted up over the past few weeks amid a spat between the group and its intra-Palestinian rivals Fatah over electricity supply to the Strip.

Last week Israel agreed to comply with a Palestinian Authority demand to slash the flow of power to Gaza by 40%.

Hayya added that the group’s recently elected leader in the territory, Yehya al-Sinwar, has held talks in Cairo on the subject of the Gaza-Egypt border.

In addition to an Israeli blockade of the Strip, Egypt has maintained strict control on the movement of goods and people through the southern border crossing.

“Securing borders is a joint interest,” the news agency quoted Hayya as saying. “We are keen and we have the determination and the ability to prevent any harm to reach out for Egypt from Gaza,” he adds.

In April, the Palestinian Authority informed Israel that it will immediately cease paying for electricity supplies to the Gaza Strip. Israel supplies the coastal enclave with about 30% of its electricity at a cost of around 40 million shekels per month (around US$10 million), which it deducts from the taxes of the Palestinian Authority.

Hamas has also been under pressure due to the political isolation of Qatar, one of its main backers, by several Sunni states in the region.

The Gulf monarchy bowed to external pressure last week and arranged the exit of a bevvy of senior Hamas leaders who were based in the Qatari capital, Doha.

Hamas is also facing mounting internal criticism stemming from its rigid Islamist rule and the worsening humanitarian situation. 

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What these depraved homicidal madmen say is of no consequence except as data points in predictions of what they'll try next. My hope is that Israel will take every opportunity to deliver them a crippling if not mortal blow!

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