Hamas eyes truce with Israel in return for end of siege

By Mostafa Haboosh

GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – Ismail Haniyeh, political chief of Palestinian resistance group Hamas, says his movement is seeking a truce with Israel in exchange for an end to the latter’s 12-year blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

Haniyeh made the assertion in a taped address played during the opening session of an international conference on Jerusalem held Friday in Istanbul.

The event is being attended by more than 700 Arab and Muslim figures who will discuss recent developments pertaining to Jerusalem and the Palestinian national project.

“Today we are seeking — along with Egypt, Qatar and the UN — to reach an understanding that could yield a truce [with Israel] in exchange for an end to the siege,” Haniyeh said in the pre-recorded address.

He stressed, however, that the sought-for truce would not have any political strings attached; would not be part of the so-called “Deal of the Century” (a backchannel peace plan proposed by the U.S. administration); and would not lead to Gaza’s separation from the West Bank.

Friday’s conference was organized by the International Coalition for the Support of Jerusalem and Palestine and the Center for Turkish-Islamic Relations.

The two-day event aims to raise awareness about the Palestinian national cause in response to Washington’s recent diplomatic maneuvering in the region and rising authoritarianism in the Arab world, according to organizers.

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