‘Israel unlikely to launch new war against Hamas’

Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar says current Israeli government still faces risk of collapse.

‘Israel unlikely to launch new war against Hamas’

Israel’s new government is unlikely to launch a fresh war against Hamas, and Hamas has no intention for war, said a co-founder of the Palestinian resistance group. 

In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Mahmoud al-Zahar, who is also a medical doctor and served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Palestinian government established in 2006 and led by Prime Minister İsmail Haniyeh, commented on the current tensions on the Gaza border, the fight against Israel and a possible prisoner exchange.

"There is no new tension at the level of the people. Israel has intensified the blockade against the people of Gaza in the past few days in terms of food, medicine, water and electricity,” said al-Zahar, adding the Palestinian people reacted to the Israeli crime and demanded that the blockade be lifted.

On Saturday, 41 Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were wounded in demonstrations held on the border of the blockaded Gaza Strip on the 52nd anniversary of the burning of Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third-holiest site, by a fanatical Jew in 1969.

Israeli police said an Israeli soldier was seriously wounded by gunfire the same day.

Tensions rose in the region after the demonstrations on the Gaza-Israel border. The Israeli army announced that it had sent reinforcements to the border with Gaza while Palestinian resistance factions were also in a state of alarm.

In response, Israeli warplanes on Aug. 22 struck four targets belonging to the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas.

Hamas is project of resistance

Drawing attention to the distinction between resistance and war, al-Zahar said: “First of all, Hamas is a resistance project against the occupying state. Of course, there is a difference between resistance and war. War is one of the tools of resistance.”

"However, we do not want a random war. We want a war of liberation, as many countries were liberated from colonialism with resistance. That is why we are a resistance project, not a war movement.”

Emphasizing that Israel is equipped with the most powerful and modern weapons, he noted that Israel's attacks on Gaza in May and the response of the Palestinian resistance, especially Hamas, "presented a model for how to inflict pain on the enemy, which is also a model for the liberation of Palestine when the conditions are formed.”

'Israel will not embark on a new war adventure'

While emphasizing that they do not want to give Israel a sense of security, the Hamas leader noted that he believes that the current Tel Aviv administration will not enter a new war.

“I personally do not think that the Israeli government, which came to power by vote, will embark on an adventure and drag the region into a new war. They have not even been able to erase the traces of a possible collapse.”

He went on to say that the latest military escalation in May “did not actually happen to them in the history of Israel.”

He asserted that Israel is aware of the power of the Palestinian resistance, especially Hamas, which was not affected by the last escalation.

“As I said, I think the new government, which is only a few months old, will not embark on a new war adventure,” al-Zahar added.

Regarding a prisoner exchange with Israel, he said negotiations have been underway for some two years but without any results and it is not clear when will they reach a conclusion.