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Zahhar: Those who fired projectiles are "collaborators with Israel"

Aug. 12, 2008 2:21 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 12, 2008 2:21 P.M.)
Gaza - Ma'an - Those who launched homemade projectiles at Sderot on Monday are "collaborators with Israel," senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar told Sawt Al-Quds radio station on Tuesday morning.

Zahhar was referring to the homemade rocket that struck the Israeli border town on Monday afternoon, triggering Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak's decision to lock down the Gaza Strip's borders. The projectile caused no injuries or physical damage.

"With regards to firing projectiles, I think those who were behind it are traitors because all Palestinian factions agreed to the ceasefire, and those who did that have contacts with Israel who wants to use that as a pretext to exert pressure on the Palestinian people," said Zahhar.

"The Israelis want to combine this issue with the prisoners swap, and we refused that from the beginning. However, the Israelis are trying to maintain this policy, and that is serious because once it continues, people might be pushed out of the ceasefire agreement." Zahhar added.

Asked about his evaluation of the ceasefire, he said: "First, It does not meet the minimum that our people want. Second, it was agreed that crossing points be open completely, and we rejected gradual opening except in two stages, the first of which was after three days, and the second was to start after ten days of the ceasefire. Third, there should be daily evaluation of goods shipment. "

According to Zahhar, Egypt, the mediator in the ceasefire, informed Israel on Monday that the closure is "unacceptable." Hamas was last in contact with Egypt on Monday.

"The Egyptians have so far being playing an active role, as they deliver messages from both sides, and they place pressure on the Israelis. However, Israel has its own pressures on the Egyptians as well as other sides," Zahhar explained.

Asked whether there was any new information about the Rafah crossing especially after what the spokesperson of the Egyptian foreign ministry said yesterday, Zahhar said, "Hamas had a clear vision on the participation of all sides in managing that crossing point, however, Ramallah still uses the Rafah crossing as means to place pressure thinking that will lead to a collapse in the Gaza Strip."

He went on to say that despite all the success achieved in Gaza, some "devils" still believe that people's hunger and deprivation can be beneficial for them.

As for partially opening the Rafah crossing, he said, "The Egyptians say they are arranging something, but some troubles impede that, such as chaos which occurred last time. We gave them a list of 2000 people, and they approved 450 patients only. We don't agree that they only let patients pass, because there are special cases, students and many others."

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