Hamas: We're Not Committed to Unilateral Israeli Moves
Hamas reacted on Saturday to Israel withdrawing some of its troops from Gaza, saying the group was not obligated by any move Israel makes.
According to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that a unilateral Israeli withdrawal would not "commit" the group to anything, stressing that Hamas was ready to continue fighting if necessary.
The comments come after top Israeli officials said that they were no longer willing to take part in negotiations, stressing that any decision on the assault on Gaza would be taken unilaterally.
Abu Zuhri, however, said in a statement that an Israeli unilateral retreat would not "commit" the group to anything, highlighting that the situation in the "field" would determine how Hamas responds to such a move.
"The resistance could fight on despite the fact that they have been fighting for 27 days," he added, according to Ma’an.
Abu Zuhri also said that Israel has to pay the price for its actions, adding, "They either stay in Gaza and pay the price, unilaterally retreat and pay, or negotiate and pay."
Israel turned down an invitation from Egypt to take part in planned ceasefire talks in Cairo, after a 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire collapsed within hours when Hamas killed two IDF soldiers and kidnapped a third.
On Saturday night, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu explained that while some troops are being distanced from civilian areas where the IDF has achieved its objectives to prevent unnecessary friction, Israel will continue Operation Protective Edge "for as much time as necessary".
Meanwhile, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Saturday that his country’s truce plan provides a "real chance" to end the Gaza conflict, stressing the need for its speedy implementation.