The Gaza-based terror group reiterated its commitment to “armed struggle” as the sole means of solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Hamas is “not in a hurry” to engage in another war with Israel but remains committed to “armed struggle” as the only means to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it said Sunday.
In a statement on the 12th anniversary of Operation Cast Lead, Hamas warned that Israel would be surprised and defeated if it was considering launching another war on the Gaza Strip.
Operation Cast Lead, referred to by Hamas as the Ma’raqet al-Furqan (Battle of the Criterion), began on December 27, 2008, in response to the indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel and weapons smuggling into the Gaza Strip.
Hostilities began with massive Israeli air strikes on Hamas police stations and military targets throughout the Gaza Strip.
“There is no future for the entity state [Israel] on our land,” the statement said.
The release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails will “remain a sacred goal, and we will not rest until they are freed,” Hamas said. “The release of the prisoners remains at the top of our list of priorities.”
Hamas reiterated its condemnation of Arab countries for establishing relations with Israel. “Normalization will remain a stigma for all those who compromised their dignity for the sake of the Zionist enemy,” it said.
Boasting that Palestinian terrorist groups fired more than 1,500 rockets and mortars against Israeli targets during the war, Hamas said it lost two of its senior officials, Said Siam and Nizar Rayyan, who were killed by Israel.
“The Palestinian people, 12 years ago, faced the most violent Zionist air strike since 1967,” Hamas spokesman Abdel Latif Qanou said, referring to the Six Day War, during which the Israel Air Force reportedly destroyed hundreds of aircraft belonging to Egypt, Jordan and Syria. “After 12 years, the Palestinian resistance has become stronger, more solid and more resilient.”
Ismail Radwan, a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, said the Israeli “aggression” against the coastal enclave was a message to Arabs who normalize their relations with Israel.
“They [the Arabs] encourage this occupation to commit more crimes against our people,” he said.
“The Battle of al-Furqan was a victory for the resistance and a defeat for the occupation, as [Israel] did not achieve any of its goals, including stopping the firing of rockets and missiles, overthrowing the Hamas government or finding the Israeli captive Gilad Shalit,” Radwan said,
He vowed to continue the “resistance” against Israel and foil its normalization agreements with Arab countries.
“We say to the Zionist enemy that your massacres and your crimes will not break our will, and your threats will not intimidate us and will not stop the march of resistance,” Radwan said.