by: Elior Levy ~ Ynet
Tuesday, 7 December 2021 | A senior Hamas source said on Monday that the Palestinian terror outfit was weighing escalating violence against Israel after weeks of relative calm while launching an unusual attack against Egypt for its mediation between the parties.
In an interview with Al-Jazeera, the source claimed that Cairo did not keep its promise to rehabilitate the Gaza Strip after the May war with Israel and ease the blockade on the Palestinian enclave, and continues to put hurdles for Gazans who wish to leave the territory through the Rafah border crossing [with Egypt].
“The Egyptian behavior violates its promises to oblige Israel to fulfill all its obligations in exchange for the opposition being bound to calm down,” the source said. “We express great dissatisfaction with the conduct of the Egyptian mediators and their withdrawal from their promises to the Gaza Strip. We will not allow the current situation to continue, and we will prove the credibility of our words.
“We are examining the possibilities for escalation with Israel against the background of the continuation of the blockade and the delay in the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli attacks on al-Aqsa Mosque and on [Palestinian] prisoners will lead to a renewed explosion of the situation.”
Shortly after, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) issued its own threat, warning of delays in lifting the siege on the Strip, in what appears to be a planned media campaign.
“The resistance will not allow the blockade on the Palestinians to continue,” said Ahmed al-Mudalal, a senior PIJ official in the Gaza Strip, calling to open all border crossings.
Al-Mudalal called on the Egyptian mediators to apply pressure on Israel to follow through with the terms of the cease-fire agreed upon in May.
The Lebanese al-Mayadin network quoted sources as saying that Hamas and other Gaza Strip factions had issued an ultimatum to meet their demands by the end of 2021.
According to the sources, Gaza militants are set to begin to gradually put pressure on Israel starting next week. They stated that also Egypt did not respond to a Hamas situational assessment the group’s leadership recently submitted to it.
The sources reiterated the claim that Egypt failed to follow through on its promises about the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip and easing the blockade on the enclave.
The threats come after long weeks of calm in the Gaza Strip, which stem from the progress in Egyptian-mediated negotiations between Israel and Gaza factions and the import of goods into the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom border crossing.
In addition, Israel has significantly increased the number of work permits it issues to Palestinian traders, which are used in effect for Palestinians to work in Israeli agriculture and construction, to ten thousand permits—a record number since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2007.
The threats come ahead of [Israeli] Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s visit to Egypt this week for discussions with several top Egyptian officials regarding the Palestinians and the Gaza Strip, [which] are expected to focus particularly on the issue of prisoners and missing persons.
The Egyptian parties did not confirm whether Lapid will meet with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi during his visit.
Egypt has historically played an important role in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and helped mediate an agreement on the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who was held captive by Hamas in Gaza for five years until his release in 2011.
Posted on December 7, 2021
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