The Jerusalem Post

Hamas UN Gaza talks break down as Sinwar calls for popular resistance

Hamas leader Yehya Al-Sinwar speaks to the media following a meeting with U.N. mediators, in Gaza City June 21, 2021. (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)
Hamas leader Yehya Al-Sinwar speaks to the media following a meeting with U.N. mediators, in Gaza City June 21, 2021.

Hamas talks with the UN held Monday failed, its Gaza leader told reporters as he rejected Israeli provocations.

Hamas talks with the United Nations held on Monday have failed, its Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar told reporters yesterday as he accused Israel of blackmail, calling for popular resistance and a meeting of all the Palestinian factions.
“This was a bad meeting and it was totally not positive,” Sinwar said. “The meeting with the UN delegation was thorough and they listened to us. But unfortunately, there are no indications of intentions to solve the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.
“We informed the UN that we won’t accept this,” Sinwar said of the meeting that had included UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland.
“It seems the occupation did not understand our message. We will practice popular resistance,” the Gaza leader said.
Sinwar’s comments came as tension remains high on Israel’s southern border with Gaza, despite Egyptian and United Nations efforts to broker a formal ceasefire arrangement to halt Hamas rocket attacks. Even the terms of an informal agreement to prevent a renewal of last month’s 11-day war have not been worked out.
Israel has not fully reopened its commercial crossings with Gaza, which includes preventing the passage of fuel needed for Gaza’s power plant to produce electricity. The fishing zones have not been fully extended and an understanding has not been reached by which Qatari cash for needy Gaza families would enter the Strip.
Israel has tried to link some of these issues with a Hamas agreement to return the remains of two soldiers killed in the coastal enclave during the 2014 war and to release two Israeli citizens it is still holding captive.
According to Arab media outlets, Egypt has suspended its third-party mediation efforts to secure the release of the captives, which could have included the release of Hamas prisoners from Israeli jails.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz issued a stern warning to Hamas on Monday.
“What was, will not be. If Hamas has not yet understood this, we will make sure they do understand. Without the return of the boys and security stability, Gaza will not be economically revitalized,” Gantz told reporters in the Knesset.
In Gaza, Sinwar spoke of the basic humanitarian gestures that Israel had prevented such as “closing the border crossings and preventing the entry of fuel for the power plant.
“The occupation is also preventing fishermen from working to support their families. This occupation is preventing the entry of international grants, including the Qatari grant, to impoverished families in the Gaza Strip,” he said.
“Israel is punishing every Palestinian in the Gaza Strip. It is clear that our people need to put pressure on this occupation,” Sinwar said.
He called for a “meeting with leaders of national and Islamic factions to brief them on the results of the [UN] meeting and to take the appropriate decision to exert more pressure through popular resistance.”
On Monday, the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories allowed a small amount of agricultural exports to leave Gaza for the first time since the May war, known as Operation Guardian of the Walls.
“This civilian measure, which was approved by the political echelon, is conditional upon the preservation of security stability,” COGAT said.
On Sunday at an event marking the start of the 2014 Gaza war, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned Hamas: “We will not tolerate violence.”
“[We] will not tolerate even a few rockets. We will not show forbearance nor exercise containment toward splinter factions,” he said, alluding to past attacks by terrorists other than Hamas.
“Our patience has run out,” he added.
Reuters contributed to this report.