Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas’ political division, has exressed willingness to engage in talks to bring an end to the conflict with Israel. However, he emphasized that any resolution must result in the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state.
During a broadcasted address on Wednesday, Haniyeh expressed that Hamas is ready for discussions with Israel, with the aspiration that these forthcoming negotiations could help to bring stability and unity to both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
“We are open to discuss any arrangement or initiative that could end the aggression” and lead to a “political path that secures the right of the Palestinian people to their independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.”
However, the official went on to warn that any attempt to exclude Hamas and other armed groups from a post-war settlement would be a “delusion,” saying the “resistance factions” must be involved in the process.
Haniyeh made these remarks only a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated that the possibility of a Palestinian state was not on the table, promising to never make the same error as the Oslo Agreement, a peace treaty from 1993 that established a plan for an independent Palestinian country.
While Israel previously accepted the idea in principle, the process established by the Oslo Accords has long since broken down, all but freezing the decades-long conflict. More than 30 years later, Israeli troops continue to occupy the West Bank, where Jewish settlement outposts have rapidly grown in recent years, while the government maintains a tight blockade over the Gaza Strip.
On Wednesday, Netanyahu asserted that Israel would persist in its military actions in Gaza until Hamas is completely eliminated, emphasizing that neither international pressure nor any other factor would hinder their efforts.
Although a previous resolution recommending a ceasefire was unsuccessful in the United Nations Security Council due to the United States’ veto, despite significant backing from other members, the UN General Assembly subsequently approved a comparable motion with an immense majority in support. The resolution, which does not have a legally binding effect, requested an immediate halt to the conflict, the unconditional liberation of all captives, and the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Gaza.
President Joe Biden has expressed concerns over Israel’s “indiscriminate” bombing campaign during the ongoing conflict. While the United States continues to provide significant military support to Israel, it has advocated for temporary “pauses” in the fighting but opposes a longer ceasefire, citing potential benefits for Hamas. Biden has warned that Israel may face a loss of international support if its approach to the war persists.
Israel began its assault on Gaza following a surprise attack by Hamas on October 7, which claimed the lives of some 1,200 Israelis and saw more than 240 people taken hostage. In retaliation, the Israel Defense Forces has pounded the Palestinian enclave with heavy airstrikes and launched a major ground invasion, killing more than 18,600 people so far, according to local officials.
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