GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM – Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh claimed on Monday that his movement turned down offers for carrying out various economic projects in the Gaza Strip in return for dismantling its armed wing and changing its policy toward Israel.
Haniyeh, in an interview with a Qatari news site, said that the offer was made in the context of US President Donald Trump’s plan for Mideast peace, also known as the Deal of the Century which, he claimed, aims to establish a separate Palestinian entity in the Gaza Strip.
“Some parties came to us and made the offer,” Haniyeh said, without elaborating. “We know that these parties were sent by superpowers. They proposed new projects of up to $15 billion.”
Hamas will not “give up Palestine, its weapons, the resistance, the right of return, and Jerusalem in return for money. We refused to deal with these projects.”
“We were offered $15 billion to build an airport, a sea port and other economic projects in the Gaza Strip,” he said. “We told them this is excellent, we want an airport and a sea port, and we want an end to the blockade on the Gaza Strip, but in return for what? They said that we must dismantle the military groups of the factions and merge them with the Palestinian Authority security forces and get rid of all our weapons, especially the long-range missiles that can reach Tel Aviv.”
Haniyeh said that the most significant part of the offer was to “end the Palestinian resistance and keep the Gaza Strip away from the Palestinian national movement.”
Hamas, he added, “categorically rejected the offer. We want to end the siege on the Gaza Strip; we want economic projects; we want an airport; we want a sea port, but only because we are entitled to all these and not in return for anything, including our political positions and weapons.”
Haniyeh explained that Hamas remains opposed to recognizing Israel’s right to exist and continues to demand all of Palestine, “from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river, as well as the right of return [for Palestinians to their former homes inside Israel] and the release of all Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.”
Haniyeh accused Israel of adopting a “policy of strangulation” against the Gaza Strip. “That’s why the Israelis prevent major and effective projects in the Gaza Strip,” he said.
The PA also does not feel convenient about carrying out projects in the Gaza Strip, the Hamas leader added.
“Some parties that are close to us don’t want to see projects in the Gaza Strip,” Haniyeh said. “For example, we demanded a waterway connecting the Gaza Strip with Cyprus and an airport and sea port as part of ceasefire understandings. Sometimes Israel complied with these demands because it wanted to stop the fighting, but other parties, including the Palestinian Authority, were opposed. They claimed that such a move would constitute the beginning of separation between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”
Haniyeh revealed that Qatar has provided the Gaza Strip with $1.5 billion in aid during the past 10 years.
Source: The Jerusalem Post