Hamas Voices Unwillingness to Escalate against Israel in Gaza
Well-informed Palestinian sources in the Gaza Strip said that Hamas reaffirmed that it is “not concerned” with any escalation against the backdrop of the US killing of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Qassem Soleimani.
Sources, speaking under the conditions of anonymity, told Asharq Al-Awsat that Hamas had agreed with Egypt to maintain the current state of calm and move forward with truce deliberations.
Hamas had informed all of its contacts that it would not allow Gaza to be turned into an arena for external conflicts or to be used to settle scores, sources added.
This stance, according to sources, stems from the harsh realities the Gaza Strip endures and which leaves Hamas reluctant from undertaking any escalatory action.
It also follows predictions made by pro-Iran outlets that say the retaliation to Soleimani’s death will be mobilized through its regional proxies and affiliated militias.
Iranian Rear-Admiral Ali Fadavi had also told state television that the revenge for Soleimani’s death is not only related to Iran, but to the axis of resistance entirely.
Iran counts Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) as part of the axis of resistance alongside Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia and other similar groups in Iraq, Yemen and Syria.
It is worth noting that Iran shares closer ties to the PIJ compared to Hamas.
Hamas' reluctant position followed leaks about an Israeli threat to the Gaza Strip.
Israeli media published reports about the arrival of a high-level Israeli security delegation on a private plane to Cairo to meet the head of the Egyptian intelligence.
The meeting discussed interfering with the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip, especially Hamas and the PIJ, to discourage them from attacking Israel if Iran asks them to do so in retaliation to Soleimani’s death.
Israel fears that Gaza would be dragged into the Soleimani revenge quest. It does not want to engage in the Gaza Strip front now, given that it is preoccupied with its northern front with Syria and Lebanon.