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Senior Hamas official: We would disarm in exchange for Palestinian state with ’67 borders’

Israeli analysts are not convinced the statements are a genuine expression of Hamas' intentions

Senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya, the Deputy Chairman of Hamas in Gaza, on April 24, 2024 (Photo: Screenshot).

Senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya, who is the deputy chairman of the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza, recently stated that the terror group is willing to agree to a five-year ceasefire with Israel. 

During an interview with the Associated Press, al-Hayya said that Israel is unable to defeat Hamas and that the terror group would agree to lay down its arms in exchange for a “fully sovereign” Palestinian state with the 1967 borders and the return of Palestinian refugees. 

“We have repeatedly offered the establishment of a fully sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and the return of refugees in accordance with international resolutions that have emerged in this regard,” al-Hayya told the AP. 

“We will live in a state and establish and agree on a ceasefire and a truce of five years or more in order to live in security,” the Hamas official continued. 

He appeared to claim that Hamas would dissolve its military wing if these conditions were met. 

“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 added. 

During the interview, al-Hayya stated that Hamas is interested in joining the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), which is governed by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and recognized as the legitimate representative of the Palestinians by the international community.

The two groups would then establish a unified Palestinian government for the West Bank and Gaza Strip, according to al-Hayya.

There have been many attempts to create a unity government between the PA and Hamas, including during meetings in Turkey, Russia and China since the war in Gaza began.

However, many experts are not convinced by al-Hayya’s declaration and have noted that the word al-Hayya used for truce (hudnah in Arabic), is often used to denote a temporary cessation of hostilities for the purpose of building strength in order to resume fighting. 

The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) research fellow Hussain Abdul-Hussain said that al-Hayya was only stating what Hamas has already declared, i.e. that it plans to use the creation of a Palestinian state within the '67 borders to create a stronger resistance movement.

Some commentators in Israeli media suggest that the timing of the interview, and al-Hayya’s statements, are intended to counter the image of Hamas rejecting recent ceasefire proposals. 

Al-Hayya’s comments also come amid growing signs of an impending IDF military incursion into Rafah and after the PA's failed attempt to gain recognition by the UN Security Council. 

Notably, al-Hayya refused to say whether accepting a sovereign Palestinian state would truly bring peace between Israel and Hamas. He refused to say whether the two-state solution would be the end of the conflict.

In an interview with Al-Jazeera, al-Hayya repeated his claims that Hamas is interested in a ceasefire and the release of the hostages, but only with a total ceasefire and a full IDF withdrawal from the entire Gaza Strip. 

“We are leading serious talks, and among our demands is a permanent ceasefire and a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza,” al-Hayya told Al Jazeera Arabic in a televised interview. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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