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Hamas does not call for war, but won't tolerate Israeli incursions into Gaza

May 6, 2016 4:05 P.M. (Updated: May 8, 2016 9:24 P.M.)
GAZA (Ma'an) -- Deputy head of Hamas’ politburo Ismail Haniyeh said on Friday that while the movement was not calling for a new war in the Gaza Strip, it would not tolerate incursions by Israel nor accept a buffer zone.

Haniyeh said during Friday prayers at the Abu Salim mosque in the central Gaza Strip district of Deir al-Balah that Israel’s recent incursions into the border areas in search of tunnels were responsible for the latest escalation of violence in the besieged coastal enclave.

“We do not call for a new war, but we will not allow these incursions or for new realities to be imposed on our people in Gaza. We call for lifting the siege. Enough of this historical injustice suffered by two million of our people."

Israeli military incursions inside the besieged Gaza Strip and near the “buffer zone” have long been a near-daily occurrence, marked by Israeli bulldozers leveling lands inside Gaza territory while accompanied by Israeli military vehicles.

Haniyeh said incursions inside Gaza territory were a grave violation of the Egypt-sponsored ceasefire reached in the summer of 2014.

Haniyah highlighted efforts underway by Egypt, Qatar, UN envoy Nikolay Mladenov, and Turkey to curb the aggression in the Gaza Strip.

"I hope that statements by the PA (Palestinian Authority) regarding limiting relations with the (Israeli) occupation are implemented on the ground, and that security coordination with occupation must be stopped,” Haniyeh added.

The PA has repeatedly threatened to put an end to the security coordination with Israel over the years. However, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated his commitment to security coordination with Israel in an interview in March, arguing that it was a major factor in curbing Palestinian attacks against Israeli targets.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s (PFLP) military wing also released a statement Friday regarding the recent Israeli hostilities, saying it would “not stand idly by while Israel continues its crimes against Palestinian people.”

“We affirm that this escalation by the (Israeli) occupation in Gaza is an attempt to test the patience of resistance. [...] They have two choices: either to die or leave our lands.”

Israeli airstrikes continued Friday morning for a third consecutive day, in response to alleged mortar rounds being fired by Hamas and other Palestinian resistance groups on Israeli army targets.

Israeli shelling east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip killed a Palestinian woman on Wednesday.

The Israeli army accused Palestinian resistance groups of launching mortar attacks in an attempt to disrupt the army’s “operational activity” in search for Hamas-built tunnels leading into Israel.

Israeli outlet Haaretz quoted Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon as saying: "We will not be deterred by these threats by Hamas and will continue operations in light of the violation of our sovereignty, until we find and expose every last tunnel."

One such tunnel was allegedly discovered Thursday, the second of its kind to be uncovered since Israel’s devastating 2014 offensive on the Gaza Strip.

The Gaza Strip has been under a severe economic blockade imposed by Israel for decade. The blockade was imposed following the victory of Hamas in the 2006 Palestinian elections and the subsequent 2007 clashes between Fatah and Hamas, which left Hamas in control of the Gaze Strip and Fatah in control of the occupied West Bank.

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