In his first public appearance in several weeks, Palestinian prime minister of the ruling Hamas party in Gaza, Ismail Haniya, reiterated his party’s acceptance of a ‘ comprehensive and mutual’ ceasefire with Israel on Wednesday.
Haniya, who was speaking at an inauguration ceremony of a childrens’ hospital in Gaza city, told reporters that any truce or ceasefire deal with Israel should be conditioned on the halt of all Israeli actions, including lifting the Gaza blockade and reopening crossing points.
He also said that a Palestinian national consensus should be secured in order for this ceasefire to come into effect, signaling necessary backing by Palestinian factions.
‘our response to the Egyptians today will put the ball in the Israeli court, with respect to the ceasefire’, Haniya made clear.
Cairo has been relentlessly involved in ceasefire mediation efforts between Hamas and Israel. Israel has yet to officially respond to all reports on possible ceasefire between the two sides.
As for the party’s willingness to accept a Palestinian state on 1967 borders, including the West Bank , the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, Haniya maintained that such a state should not be accompanied with recognition of Israel, but rather based on a ten-year-long truce.
Regarding a possible public referendum on such a future state, the Hamas prime minister said that such a referendum should include Palestinian citizens of Israel and in the Diaspora.
The democratically-elected Hamas party took over Gaza in June 2007 amidst a power struggle with President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party. Since then Israel has imposed a crippling closure on Gaza, pressuring Hamas to stop homemade shells fired into its nearby territories.