Haniyeh: Hamas will not accept less than end to blockade

Gaza's Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh attends a meeting with his ministers in his office in Gaza City, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011. The relatives of Israelis killed in Palestinian attacks waged a charged debate Sunday over the planned release of militants this week in a deal to free an Israeli soldier held by Hamas for five years. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

Gaza’s Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh attends a meeting with his ministers in his office in Gaza City, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011. The relatives of Israelis killed in Palestinian attacks waged a charged debate Sunday over the planned release of militants this week in a deal to free an Israeli soldier held by Hamas for five years. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Friday said that the Palestinians would not accept anything less than an end to Israel’s blockade of Gaza, as Israeli forces continued to attack the besieged enclave.

Haniyeh accused Israel of using negotiations as a cover for their crimes and said it must accept the “fair demands” made by the Palestinian delegation, adding that Hamas would not accept anything less than an end to Israel’s assault and the seven-year blockade.

Palestinians have demanded in indirect negotiations in Cairo that Israel end its eight-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has crippled the tiny coastal enclave’s economy and led to widespread suffering, as well as re-open an airport and seaport, among other demands.

Haniyeh urged Egypt to hold Israel responsible for crimes committed against Palestinian civilians in Gaza, adding that Israel is responsible for the collapse of the indirect ceasefire talks in Cairo.

Haniyeh also paid condolences to the three Hamas military commanders killed by Israel on Thursday, adding: “History proves that Hamas only becomes stronger and tougher than Israel expects when they kill our leaders.”

Senior Hamas official Mushir al-Masri said Friday that a return to indirect ceasefire negotiations is conditional on Israel accepting Palestinians demands.

He said that Israel should accept what was discussed in indirect talks or prepare for a “long war.”

Israel has not responded to Palestinian truce offers, but has instead insisted that Palestinian militant groups in Gaza disarm.

Palestinian groups have refused this demand, pointing out that it was Palestinian military strength that repelled the Israeli assault and invasion that has so far left 2,090 Palestinians dead, more than 10,500 injured, and at least 100,000 homeless.

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