'We can cause sirens in central Israel for six months'

Hamas leader says truce in Gaza can still be achieved, but also threatens Israel.

Elad Benari ,

Yahya Sinwar
Yahya Sinwar

Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’ leader in Gaza, said on Wednesday evening that a truce in Gaza could be reached within two months, regardless of the internal Palestinian Arab reconciliation.

His remarks were made during a meeting with Palestinian Arab reporters and were quoted by various Israeli news outlets.

According to the reports, Sinwar said that Egypt is intent on reaching a truce, even if the efforts to achieve internal Palestinian reconciliation fail.

"Any punishment that the Palestinian Authority imposes on Gaza will violate the rules of the game and we will respond accordingly," the Hamas leader said. He added that there is still no final version of the ceasefire arrangement, and there are still proposals to be discussed. Among other things, Sinwar claimed, proposals were made on prisoner exchanges.

At the same time, Sinwar threatened Israel and said, “The Palestinians can fire in five minutes what they fired during the 51 days of fighting during Operation Protective Edge."

He also threatened that Hamas could cause sirens to go off in the Gush Dan region in central Israel for six months in a row, and clarified that the terrorist organization is not interested in a military confrontation, but is also not afraid of one.

Hamas, according to Sinwar, "has prepared itself well over the past few years and the results it will achieve in every confrontation will be impressive."

Finally, he said that Egyptian intelligence had handed to the Hamas delegation in Gaza the final answer of the Fatah movement to the latest Egyptian proposals, and that Fatah's response was worse than the answer it provided to the first proposal document.

Egypt continues to mediate talks on a long-term ceasefire between Hamas and Israel.

Senior Hamas officials recently claimed that negotiations have made significant progress, and that a ceasefire is expected to be reached next week, following the Eid al-Adha holiday.

Despite the progress with the negotiations, tensions remain high in the region following an upsurge in Hamas attacks on Israeli targets including the killing of an IDF soldier on the Gaza border by a Hamas sniper, and a wave of rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli towns and army positions in the Gaza border area.

In addition to the ceasefire efforts with Israel, Egypt has been trying to achieve reconciliation between Hamas and the Fatah faction, headed by Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

The sides have been at odds since 2007, when Hamas violently took control of Gaza in a bloody coup. A unity government between Hamas and Fatah collapsed in 2015 when Abbas decided to dissolve it amid a deepening rift between the sides.

In October 2017, Hamas and the PA signed a reconciliation agreement in Cairo, under which the PA was to resume full control of Gaza by December 1. However, the deal never completely implemented due what was described as “obstacles.”