Saturday, June 30, 2007
"Gaza – Ma'an - In a statement issued late on Friday, the Al-Qassam Brigades of the Hamas movement have declared that they will not allow the deployment of international forces in the Gaza Strip, claiming that any international military force would not be impartial within the Strip. "We will deal with any such forces as an occupation force, and they will be received with projectiles and rockets," read the statement.
The statement called on all Arab and international parties, "to reject this offer which aims to damage the national unity of the Palestinians, a clear interference in internal affairs and would be adding another occupation to the Israeli occupation."
The prominent Hamas member, Sami Abu Zuhri, stated that "[President] Abbas' insistence on refusing dialogue with Hamas is due to Israeli and American pressure, despite the Arab and Palestinian calls for dialogue."
In a statement issued by Abu Zuhri, he declared "Any proposals to return the [Gaza] Strip [to the control of the PA], while reinforced on the back of Israeli tanks is something we reject. We hope that the recent experience will be a lesson to everyone. [President] Abbas is requested to return to dialogue if he wishes, so if it is a matter of challenge, we can advise Abbas to learn from what happened in the strip. Hamas is not only a faction or a movement; it is the whole of the people of Palestine."
Abu Zuhri also denied reports of the Egyptian intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, requesting [former Prime Minister] Haniyeh to return all documents seized by the Hamas movement when they took over the Strip, saying, "No one has asked us to do so. All the contacts we have had were about returning to dialogue. We can assure that contacts between Hamas and many of Arab parties continue, including with Egypt and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Anyway, we are interested in keeping our Arab relations."
He revealed that relations with Egyptian authorities have not cooled, despite the recent crisis, "their main goal was to know the position of the movement, the rejection of the creation of an independent entity in the strip and to confirm the refusal of the [Hamas] movement to separate the [Gaza] Strip from the West Bank"."