Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hamas to Fight On if Israel Ceases Fire Unilaterally

Al-Manar reports: This unilateral ceasefire does not foresee a withdrawal" by the Israeli army,” Hamas’s representative in Lebanon Oussama Hamdan said Saturday. He stressed the resistance group will fight on if Israel orders a unilateral ceasefire in Gaza. "As long as it remains in Gaza, resistance and confrontation will continue," he said.

Speaking at a conference in Beirut, also attended by European representatives supporting the Palestinians, Hamdan added that Israel's proposal for a unilateral ceasefire, which was to be put to a vote of the security cabinet later on Saturday, was an "attempt to derail the Egyptian plan" for a reciprocal truce. “The different initiatives for a ceasefire were aimed at getting the Palestinians to concede things "which the enemy failed to achieve through the fighting,” he said.

Hamas would only agree to a ceasefire if the conditions set by the organization are met. "I would like to suggest to all the mediators to focus in their initiatives on halting the offensive and lifting the blockade and not to touch anything else."

He called on regional elements to stand by the resistance and warned Israel that “if we don't hear what we want, we'll return to the fighting arena."

'Don't suggest that we surrender because we haven't been defeated and we won't be defeated. Our determination grows stronger every day, because our debt to the martyrs whose blood has been spilled is bigger. We shall continue fighting, so don't suggest that we surrender,” Hamdan stressed.

The senior Hamas official called on the Palestinian people to continue the struggle and addressed resistance fighters in Gaza.

"Just like the resistance was victorious in Lebanon in 2006, you will win in January 2009."

"There are elements in the region which believe that the enemy treats them as a partner. They don’t understand that the enemy treats them like servants or like an improved image of the ancient slaves, but this is the 21st century," he said signaling several leaders dubbed by the US as so called ‘moderate Arabs.’

He also criticized Mahmoud Abbas, whose term as PA leader ended in January 9, for not showing up at the Arab summit in Qatar.

Hamdan stressed that Israel's leaders should be put on trial for committing war crimes in the Gaza Strip. He told the Europeans that "the Zionist entity enjoys a special status in the European Union."

He also congratulated the presidents of Venezuela and Bolivia for severing their diplomatic ties with Israel, and ridiculed Arab leaders who he said were letting Israel act without disturbances.