Hamas offers 5-year ceasefire in exchange for Palestinian statehood

“If we are not assured the war will end, why would we hand over the prisoners?” says Hamas of potential hostage exchange.

By World Israel News Staff

A senior Hamas official said the terror group is open to a five-year ceasefire and would be willing to lay down its weapons should an independent Palestinian state be established along the borders of pre-1967 Israel.

Khalil al-Hayya told the Associated Press in Istanbul that Hamas would disarm should a two-state solution come to a fruition, but added that the terror group would become part of a Palestinian army.

“All the experiences of people who fought against occupiers, when they became independent and obtained their rights and their state, what have these forces done? They have turned into political parties and their defending fighting forces have turned into the national army,” al-Hayya said.

Referencing stalled negotiations aimed at bringing about an end to the fighting in the Gaza Strip, al-Hayya doubled down on Hamas’ refusal to release hostages without a long-term ceasefire.

“If we are not assured the war will end, why would I hand over the prisoners?” he said.

Al-Hayya also claimed that Israel’s offensive in the Strip had left the majority of the terror group’s fighters and weapons stockpiles intact.

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The Israeli army has “not destroyed more than 20% of [Hamas’] capabilities, neither human nor in the field,” al-Hayya told AP. “If they can’t finish [Hamas] off, what is the solution?”

The Hamas representative said that the terror group would partner with the Palestinian Authority, its longtime political rival, in order to form a government for a newly-established Palestinian state.

Notably, al-Hayya said that said state would encompass both the Gaza Strip and Judea and Samaria – meaning that the Israeli government would need to conceding that territory.

Israeli officials have long held that transferring Judea and Samaria to the Palestinians, and presumably evacuating the some 500,000 Israeli citizens in that region, is a non-starter.