Despite being pummeled for nearly a month by a relentless Israeli air and ground campaign in Gaza, on Thursday a defiant Hamas vowed to restart rocket launches into Israel within hours unless all their demands at the peace table are met.
Talks to extend a 72-hour ceasefire between Israelis and Palestinians in Cairo balanced on a knife edge Thursday, after Hamas negotiators rejected an Israeli demand to disarm in return for a partial lifting of the Gaza blockade. CBS News reports that Egyptian mediators blame Hamas and other radical groups for rejecting any compromise.
“If the Israelis don’t agree, we will go back and fight through the tunnels,” an anonymous Palestinian delegate vowed, according to The Guardian. The Israeli military destroyed dozens of tunnels leading into their nation during the conflict, pulling out earlier this week after expressing confidence most had been found and neutralized.
Top Hamas official Mushir al-Masri held a public rally in Gaza City on Thursday, drawing several thousand Palestinians.
“The war is not over yet,” he told the crowd. “Our men are still in the field, manning forward positions. our fingers are on the trigger, and our rockets are trained on Tel Aviv, Lod and beyond.”
“It is out of the question that the weapons of the resistance should be on the negotiating table,” he declared. “They have not been put on the table and, God willing, they will never be.”