Photo: Reuters
Palestinian delegation to Cairo
Photo: Reuters
Hamas official: All topics still on the table, including ports
In press conference, Palestinian delegation members vow to punish Israel for the destruction in Gaza: 'One day we'll go after Israel for that.'

Members of the Palestinian delegation that returned to the Gaza Strip from Cairo on Tuesday insisted all issues remain on the table, including that of building a seaport and rebuilding Gaza's airport.



"There is a real opportunity to reach an agreement, but (Israel) must stop the maneuvers and playing with words. All of the issues are on the table, and that's why we agreed to the ceasefire," said senior Hamas official Khalil al-Haya, whose son was killed in Operation Protective Edge.


Turning to the residents of Gaza, al-Haya promised to rebuild all of the houses that were destroyed from Israeli bombardments, and vowed to punish Israel for that.


"One day we'll go after Israel for that," he said.


The destruction in Saja'iyya (Photo: MCT) (Photo: MCT)
The destruction in Saja'iyya (Photo: MCT)


"We are not interested in more destruction for our people. We are not interested in more bloodshed. This war has been forced on us. We do not want a confrontation but if we are forced - we'll renew the conflict with all means," al-Haya added during a press conference.


While the ceasefire negotiations with Israel were hard, al-Haya said the Palestinian delegation was united in its demands.


The negotiations, he said, had three main objectives: the first - ending the Israeli aggression against all of the targets that were attacked, the second - ending the siege on the Gaza Strip once and for all, and the third - the Palestinian demand for Israel to be committed to giving the Palestinians their rights.


The Palestinian delegation in Cairo (Photo: Reuters) (Photo: Reuters)
The Palestinian delegation in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)


"Israel has no right to take our rights from us," al-Haya said.


Al-Haya, the Hamas negotiator, told reporters in Cairo that Hamas would seek international guarantees to enforce any agreements reached with Israel. He said that together with the Palestinian Authority, which runs the West Bank and with which Hamas formed a unity government earlier this year, the militant group would expect to play an important role in any Gaza reconstruction program.


The "national unity government is required to carry out its duty with regard to reconstruction," he said.


Hamas official Izzat al-Rishq said that "throughout the talks, we've thwarted the attempts to hurt the resistance and its weapons."


One Palestinian faction headed for Ramallah, the main city in the West Bank, to meet Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, while some representatives of the Islamist group Hamas flew to Qatar to see Khaled Mashal, their leader in exile, and others returned to Gaza.


It was the first time that Hamas figures were allowed to fly directly from the Cairo airport since a military-backed government took over in Egypt last year, replacing an Islamist president whose Muslim Brotherhood group was closely allied with Hamas. That appeared to reflect a recognition on Egypt's part of Qatar's importance in the talks.


Few precise details of the indirect negotiations have emerged, but the broad outlines are well known: the Palestinians want an end to Israel's blockade of Gaza, an extension of the strip's maritime and security boundaries and the building of a sea port and reopening of an airport in the enclave.


For their part, the Israelis want an end to rocket fire from Gaza, the full demilitarisation of the territory, and for Abbas's PA to take over responsibility for managing Gaza's 12 km (7.5 mile) border with Egypt at Rafah, an effort to prevent the smuggling of weapons and other military-use equipment.


The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.


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