Hamas’s chief in Gaza Yahya al-Sinwar on Thursday confirmed that the peaceful Great March of Return will continue with the same goal of breaking the siege and demanding the right of return.
Al-Sinwar said during an exclusive meeting with foreign journalists at his office in Gaza that the Palestinian people want to restore their rights and solve their problems by peaceful means, noting that armed resistance is still a legitimate right guaranteed by international law.
He said that the Great March of Return will continue like the previous Palestinian Intifadas, adding that the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, which has resulted from the decade-long blockade, can no longer be tolerated by the Palestinian people living there.
He continued to say that the Gazan people have a strong will, young and old, and it is no possible that they give up their rights despite the harsh circumstances besetting their lives.
On the protests expected to flare up on 14th May to mark the anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, al-Sinwar said, “No one can predict what exactly is going to happen, but we can guarantee one thing: this movement is peaceful. The protesting masses will never pose a threat to anyone.”
“We refuse to die slowly, and I hope we do not get to the stage of thinking about other options,” he added.
The Hamas official said that resistance is a legitimate right of the Palestinian people who over the past years have been subjected to humiliation and expulsion.
Al-Sinwar refuted the allegations about using the taxis collected from the Palestinian citizens in the Gaza Strip and the funds channeled to support humanitarian sectors in the besieged enclave to develop the military institutions.
He affirmed that the Palestinians prefer to solve their problems by peaceful means as much as possible. “We are not warmongers,” he stressed, “Hamas emerged in 1987 as a peaceful movement. Armed resistance was adopted later because of the Israeli violence against peaceful demonstrators.”
Al-Sinwar explained that the internal division has been a major reason for the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, noting that Hamas spared no effort to bring the reconciliation agreement into force.
He said that there are many parties working against the reconciliation. For example, he continued, the assassination attempt that targeted the undersecretary of Gaza’s Ministry of Interior Major General Tawfiq Abu Naim was the first obstacle, but it was overcome despite the state of reluctance witnessed among Fatah officials.
He added that the same party that tried to undermine the reconciliation efforts through the first obstacle succeeded in the second try through the alleged attack on the Palestinian Authority government’s premier Rami Hamdallah during his visit to Gaza.
“The hostile media statements that followed that incident killed all remaining chances for reconciliation. However, we say that the door is still open, and we are convinced that the Great March of Return will have a major role in achieving national unity,” al-Sinwar stated.
Prisoner exchange deals
Al-Sinwar said that there will never be direct negotiations between Hamas and Israel, adding that there is no possibility for a long-term truce.
He stressed that the Great March of Return protests will continue and escalate until they achieve their goals.
As for the Israeli soldiers captured in the Gaza Strip, al-Sinwar explained that they have no chance to see the light except through a prisoner swap deal.
He affirmed that all captive soldiers will enjoy their full rights with taking into account the security constraints. He added, “If you want to get assured ask Gilad Shalit about the good treatment he received by the resistance in Gaza.”