Hamas: No truce before Israel stops attacks
Senior group leader Moussa Abu Marzouk says no negotiations on ceasefire can take place before Israel halts its strikes in Gaza, declares Hamas will face any Israeli ground invasion
A senior exiled Hamas official rejected Monday any talk of a new truce with Israel unless all attacks on Gaza cease and the border crossings are reopened, and promised to confront any ground invasion.
Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy head of Hamas' politburo, also told The Associated Press in an interview in Damascus that Palestinian militants have a right to strike everywhere in Israel in response to its deadly assault on Gaza.
He spoke as Israel continued three days of intensive air raids against Palestinian targets in the Gaza Strip. The number of casualties from the offensive rose Monday to at least 315.
Abu Marzouk pledged his group will not surrender and promised to face any Israeli ground invasion.
"We are going to defend ourselves, defend our people and defend our land," he said.
Abu Marzouk said there can be no talk of a new truce with Israel under the present conditions.
"Stop all kinds of aggression, open all (crossings), stop all the violence against the people in the West Bank," he said in English, listing Hamas' conditions for any future truce.
Egypt had brokered on June 19 a six-month truce between Hamas and Israel that expired earlier this month but Hamas refused to extend it saying that Israel had not abided by the truce conditions that should have obligated Israel to open border crossings with Gaza.
The Hamas deputy chief said any party interested in brokering a truce agreement should "take some responsibility" to see that it gets implemented by Israel - a reference to the Egyptian role in mediating.
'We have right to attack in Israel'
Abu Marzouk said the Israeli indiscriminate attacks and killing of civilians were "against any international law" and stressed Hamas has the right to attack everywhere inside Israel in response.
"This is their right to do so," he said.
He also renewed accusations against Hamas' rival, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, saying he was collaborating with Israel against Hamas and had provided "cover" to the Israeli aggression on Gaza. He slammed Abbas for his Sunday comments blaming Hamas for the attacks on Gaza, saying Hamas had the right to "resist."
"We need our liberty, we need our freedom and we need to be independent. If we don't accomplish this objective, then we have to resist. This is our right," he said.
Abu Marzouk also called on Arab countries who have peace treaties with Israel - Egypt and Jordan - to sever those ties.
He added he hoped Arab leaders meeting for an emergency summit meeting later this week to deal with the Gaza situation would send a very clear message to Israel to stop its aggression.