The Palestinian militant movement Hamas is threatening to renew fighting with Israel after Qatari relief aid to the Gaza Strip was held up by Israeli officials, Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar newspaper reported today.
Hamas officials reportedly informed Egyptian mediators that they would increase “pressure” along Gaza’s border with Israel and may choose to renew the conflict. The group reportedly proposed a deadline for the end of next week before making “a significant decision about the mutual cease-fire.”
Israel and Palestinian militants fought an intense 11-day battle that saw 12 Israelis killed amid barrages of thousands of rockets. More than 1,500 Israeli airstrikes killed some 250 Palestinians, a significant number of them women and children.
The conflict halted late last month when Israel finally accepted a cease-fire deal negotiated by Egyptian officials.
An international effort to rebuild the devastated Gaza Strip spearheaded by the United States has been slow to start, with Israeli officials attempting to link the aid’s delivery to demands that Hamas release Israeli prisoners, according to The National.
Hamas’ top official in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar, suggested recently that the group may restart fires near the Israeli border if the situation in Gaza is not resolved.
Both Qatar and Egypt have pledged $500 million each to Gaza so far. The Egyptian state-run press reported Friday that construction materials had already been sent to help rebuild the beleaguered enclave.
The Biden administration reportedly urged members of a senior-level Israeli delegation to Washington this week not to tie aid deliveries to negotiations with Hamas.
Israeli and Hamas officials both met with Egypt’s intelligence chief Abbas Kamel in Cairo this week to solidify last month’s cease-fire.