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Iran holds the key to ending Israel's fight with Hamas, PIJ - analysis



I Iranian flag waves in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters, before the beginning of a board of governors meeting, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Vienna, Austria, March 1, 2021.
(photo credit: REUTERS/LISI NIESNER/FILE PHOTO)

Hamas and PIJ officials have told Egyptian, Qatari and other mediators that they would be ready to stop their attacks on Israel once Israel stops its military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

 Despite the belligerent statements of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)over the past three days, the two groups are nevertheless believed to be looking for a way to end the fighting with Israel.

But Hamas and PIJ know that they can’t reach any deal with Israel without the blessing of their patrons in Iran.
In the past few days, Hamas and PIJ leaders spoke to Iranian officials about the latest flare-up of violence. It is unclear, however, whether Tehran is interested at this stage in a ceasefire.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who is based in Qatar, told Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during a phone call on Monday that efforts were being made “on the diplomatic and field levels to halt Israeli assaults on our people in Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
Haniyeh was referring to Egyptian and Qatari mediation efforts to reach a ceasefire with Israel.
Haniyeh was obviously seeking Iran’s approval of a possible truce agreement that could be reached under the auspices of Egypt and Qatar.
Hamas and PIJ officials have told Egyptian, Qatari and other mediators that they would be ready to stop their attacks on Israel once Israel stops its military offensive in the Gaza Strip.
Musa Abu Marzouk, deputy head of the Hamas politburo, said on Wednesday that Egyptian and Qatari mediation efforts have thus far been unsuccessful.
Abu Marzouk’s statement came amid unconfirmed reports that Egypt was planning to send an Egyptian security delegation to the Gaza Strip to hold talks with leaders of Hamas and PIJ about ways of reaching a new ceasefire with Israel.
Abu Marzouk told the Khaleej Online news website that Hamas was holding contacts with several Arab and Islamic countries about the situation in the Gaza Strip.
“There was talk about mediation efforts that are appreciated by our brothers in Egypt and Qatar,” he said. “We appreciate their care for our Palestinian people, but these mediation efforts have not culminated in a return to calm until now.”
Abu Marzouk accused Israel of “igniting” the fighting. Israel, he said, “must stop and retreated from its steps, as it is the only party that bears full responsibility.”
The Hamas leadership told the mediators that its message was clear, which is to “strengthen the position of the Palestinian people in Jerusalem and at the al-Aqsa Mosque, and the steadfastness of families threatened with expulsion from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah,” Abu Marzouk added.
The Hamas official was later quoted by Palestinian news websites as saying that the Europeans have also contacted his group to explore the possibility of reaching a ceasefire with Israel.
“The Europeans contacted us and asked us to stop firing short-range missiles [at Israel or else they will not participate in the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip,” Abu Marzouk said. “I told them we will stop our short-range missiles and use long-range missiles.”
Abu Marzouk did not provide details about the identity of the Europeans who reportedly contacted Hamas.
Meanwhile, Hamas on Wednesday admitted for the first time that a number of its senior military commanders were killed in Israeli air strikes.
In a statement, Hamas’s military wing, Izaddin al-Qassam Brigades, named Bassem Issa as one the commanders killed by Israel. It said that Issa and “a group of his brothers, the leaders and mujahideen (warriors) were martyred during the occupation’s aggression.”
Abu Hamza, a spokesperson for PIJ’s military wing, al-Quds Brigades, said on Wednesday that the Gaza-based terror groups will “continue the jihad and will not retreat, regardless of the price and sacrifices.”
He said that his group fired 100 missiles toward Tel Aviv at 5.00 am.
“We were able to respond to the continuation of the aggression and the targeting of civilians and mujahideen,” Abu Hamza said in a statement.
Hamas and PIJ leaders in the Gaza Strip, meanwhile, have gone into hiding, leaving the task of securing a new truce with Israel to their representatives in Qatar and Lebanon. The Gaza-based leaders, who are afraid of being targeted by Israel, know that their fate is now in the hands of the mullahs in Tehran.

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