Middle East Eye / September 14, 2020
A senior Hamas official has revealed the details of an offer made by US President Donald Trump’s advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, encouraging the group to hold talks with Israel.
According to Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas political bureau, Kushner’s office had asked some Arab parties to contact Hamas’s leadership, and told them that they (the US Administration) were ready to sit with the movement at any time, whether in an Arab or European country.
“We rejected an offer from Kushner’s office, mediated by other parties, to hold meetings for the sake of engaging in dialogue with Israel,” Haniyeh said in a televised interview aired by Al-Jazeera Arabic.
“We decided not to participate in any dialogue that discusses the establishment of the Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and the implementation of the ‘Deal of the Century’,” Haniyeh said, referring to Trump’s long-touted plan to address the Israel-Palestine conflict.
The revelation comes after Israel and the United Arab Emirates signed an accord last month, which Trump helped to broker, to normalise diplomatic ties and forge a broad new relationship. Last week Bahrain also agreed to follow suit, becoming the first Arab country to emulate the UAE’s decision to do so.
The deal has been denounced by Palestinians from across the political spectrum, who dismissed it as tantamount to “treason” and “a stab in the back”.
Haniyeh told the investigative programme there were signs that Hamas was “expanding and getting stronger”, citing Israel’s failure to “disarm the resistance despite all the normalisation moves that took place recently, and demonise the movement as well as list it as a terrorist organisation”.
While Hamas was not looking for a war in the Gaza Strip, he stated, the Palestinian group “will not be afraid to wage one” if Israel makes a belligerent move.
“If the occupation thinks about launching new aggression against Gaza, the battle will be different this time, and the factions, especially the Qassam Brigades (the military wing of Hamas), will surprise the enemy,” Haniyeh said.