Hamas Top Official: Ongoing Negotiations Are Not Part of ‘Deal of the Century’

Member of the political bureau of Hamas Husam Badran near the Israel-Gaza border on August 3, 2018

Hamas Politburo member Husam Badran revealed details of the recent talks in Cairo between Palestinian factions and Egyptian intelligence officials regarding the truce, intra-reconciliation and Hamas’ weapons.

Badran, a member of the delegation to Egypt, said that Cairo moved to achieve the implementation of the ceasefire agreement reached on August 27, 2014, in the wake of the 51-day Israeli offensive against Gaza, and that Hamas positively received the Egyptian initiative.

Badran explained that Hamas called for establishing the 2014 agreement and its terms, namely lifting the siege on Gaza. He pointed out that all Palestinian factions had been contacted and several meetings were held to determine a unified stance.

Fatah was the only party that opposed the move and linked establishing the truce with reconciliation, which Badran considered an attempts to fail the truce.

He indicated that this in fact intends to “perpetuate the siege of Gaza Strip and launch a campaign of defamation against the factions by claiming that the negotiations are part of the US ‘deal of the century’, which Hamas rejects.”

The reconciliation is not advancing, according to Badran, who added that Fatah’s position pushed Hamas to pursue the talks within a broad Palestinian consensus.

Asharq Al-Awsat asked Badran about his organization’s request to build an airport in Eilat, which he denied saying it was a “lie and a fabrication”. He asserted that Hamas did not offer any alternative to Gaza Airport. Badran denied that the efforts to achieve the truce had stopped, stressing Egypt’s commitment as a guarantor of the truce agreement.

Discussing the “deal to exchange prisoners”, Badran asserted it runs a different course independent of other issues, adding that they are handling this issue in a “mature way”, hoping to reach a new honorable prisoners’ exchange deal at the nearest opportunity.

Badran accused Fatah movement of trying to use some of the issues in the Strip to achieve gains and not reach a reconciliation, noting that Hamas was hoping to reach “a realistic and logical formula to achieve national consensus.”

Hamas official considered the US-Israeli rejection of reconciliation the biggest obstacle and accused both sides of seeking the disarmament of the resistance, which is rejected by his organization.

Asharq Al-Awsat asked Badran about Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s statements on the weapons of Palestinian factions. He indicated the movement is aware of the President and the world’s position on the issue, and that it does not matter much, adding that the President believes that weapons and revolution are both ways of destruction.

“But we know for certain that what is taken by force can only be recovered by force and that the resistance is the only force capable of defending our people,” reiterated Badran. However, he admitted Hamas was ready to reach an understanding on how weapons should be managed, in a way that would keep it a guarantor of Palestinian people’s rights.

Badran concluded that, since its establishment, Hamas has not been part of the authority and that it participated in the elections to prevent another disaster of concessions. He indicated that an authority that coordinates with the occupation is not worth it.

(Source / 14.09.2018)

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