| 23 February 2024, Friday |

Hamas will not give up its weapons, insists official

Mahmoud Al-Zahar, senior Hamas official said that the movement will never give up its weapons and resort to the style of “begging” that the Israeli government is seeking. Zahar made his comment in response to a proposal by Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid for an “advanced humanitarian rehabilitation plan for the Gaza Strip.”

The proposal includes economic rehabilitation, security and the rebuilding of infrastructure “subject to Hamas’s commitment to a long-term lull.” Al-Zahar explained that the suggestion has been “rejected” because it is an attempt “to barter Israel’s security in exchange for basic essentials such as food and medicine for the people of Gaza.”

Lapid pointed out that Israel’s intention is not to negotiate with Hamas. “The Palestinian Authority is the only representative body for the Palestinians,” he added.