'Open a seaport by Friday or we start shooting again'
Hamas is threatening to start shooting again on Friday morning if we don't give them a seaport to import weapons. There's no way that's going to happen tomorrow - or a year from now either.
"We appeal to the Palestinian delegation to not accept a ceasefire, unless it satisfies the demands of our people," a spokesman using the nom-de-guerre Abu Obeida said in a televised address, adding that Hamas fighters were "ready to return to battle."
The three-day truce ending four weeks of bloodshed between Israel and Hamas is due to end at 0500 GMT Friday.
The sides have so far failed to negotiate an agreement to extend the truce, with the Palestinians accusing Israel of "procrastinating". But Israel has insisted it will not give up on its key demand for the demilitarization of Gaza in order to end any future threats against the Jewish state.
Abu Obeida said the main demand of Hamas was the opening of a sea port for the blockaded enclave.
"We will not agree to stop the battle without a real end to the (Israeli) aggression and a real lifting of the siege," he said.
"If there is an agreement, it will be possible to extend the truce, but if there is not, we will ask the delegation to withdraw from the talks."JPost adds:
Palestinian sources said that the Egyptians are hoping to persuade the two groups to agree to another 72-hour cease-fire.By the way, the map at the top is old. It's way more than 100 rockets.
According to the sources, the cease-fire discussions in Cairo have thus far failed to achieve real progress.
The sources attributed the lack of progress to Israel’s refusal to comply with the demands of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, including the release of West Bank Palestinians who were rearrested over the past two months and the construction of a seaport in the Gaza Strip.
The sources said that Hamas and Islamic Jihad have also rejected Israel’s demand that they be disarmed as part of a cease-fire agreement.
Representatives of the two groups reiterated Thursday their strong opposition to surrendering their weapons and threatened to resume attacks on Israel when the current cease-fire expires at 8.00am Friday.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad are part of a Palestinian delegation headed by Fatah’s Azzam al-Ahmed that arrived in Cairo earlier this week for talks aimed at ending the fighting in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzouk dismissed the possibility that the US would provide assurances regarding any deal between Israel and the Palestinians. “The only guarantee is the weapons of the resistance,” he wrote in a posting on Facebook. “America can’t act as a guarantor since it decided on the blockade and its weapons were used for destruction.”
In Israel, senior security sources warned on Thursday evening that the Jewish state will respond with force if Hamas renews attacks.
The sources said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon have instructed the military to be prepared for all scenarios.
An army source added that Hamas has many reasons to want to end the current conflict, but that the army was not dismissing Hamas's belligerent declarations. "We are preparing. As an army we must take into account the possibility that at 8 am they will begin firing. We are ready for this."
What could go wrong?