Hamas Official Signals Interest in Negotiating a Lasting Ceasefire With Israel

Ismail Haniyeh, who is based in Qatar, says Hamas is open to negotiating an arrangement to 'end the Israeli aggression'

Ismail Haniyeh, chief of Hamas’s political bureau who is based in Qatar, signaled on Wednesday that he was interested in negotiating a sustainable ceasefire with Israel.

“We are open to discuss any arrangement or initiative that could end the (Israeli) aggression,” Haniyeh said in a televised speech on the Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa TV.

Suggesting that he favored some sort of two-state solution, Haniyeh said he was open to “putting the Palestinian house in order both in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip” and entering talks that could lead to a “political path that secures the right of the Palestinian people to their independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.”

He also called the idea of a post-war Gaza without Hamas “delusional.” According to Al Mayadeen, Haniyeh also said the fight in Gaza was “approaching its honorable end” due to the resistance of Hamas fighters and other militant groups against the Israeli invasion.

Haniyeh’s deputy, Mousa Abu Marzouk, suggested Hamas might be willing to recognize Israel but later appeared to walk back the statement. Abu Marzouk told Al-Monitor, “You should follow the official stance” of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which recognized Israel as a state under the 1993 Oslo Accords.

The following day, Abu Marzouk said there was a “misunderstanding,” adding, “I therefore confirm that Hamas does not recognize the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation and does not concede any of the rights of our Palestinian people. We confirm that the resistance will continue to liberation and return.”

While Hamas leaders outside of Gaza are hinting at negotiations, it’s unclear if they are speaking for officials inside the Strip. There’s also no sign Israel is interested, as Haaretz reported on Wednesday that the Israeli war cabinet blocked Mossad chief David Barnea from traveling to Qatar to restart hostage negotiations.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.