Hamas refuses $15 bn for dismantling arms: Official

A top official of the Islamic Hamas Movement said that it rejected $15 billion for dismantling arms, according to a news report.

“Hamas rejected a proposal of carrying out several economic projects, including an airport and a seaport in Gaza for dismantling the arms of the movement and changing its strategies towards Israel,” Ismail Haniyeh said on Monday.

Haniyeh, who had left the Gaza Strip 10 months ago and is currently in Doha, made his remarks to the Qatari news website Lusail.

The top Hamas leader said that the US made the offer through a third mediator that he didn’t name, adding that the proposal was part of the President Donald Trump’s Mideast peace plan.

“The American plan is aiming at establishing an isolated Palestinian entity in the Gaza Strip,” Haniyeh said, adding that a third party “came to us and made the offer, but we rejected it”.

Hamas had seized control of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007 following weeks of internal fighting with the security forces of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

All mediations made between the Islamic movement and the Fatah movement of President Abbas to end more than 13 years of internal division have so far failed.

In March 2018, then Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah survived an explosion when his convoy entered Gaza, an incident that Abbas blamed on Hamas.

“Hamas will not give up the land of Palestine and will never hand over its arms or stop the resistance or abandon the right of return,” said Haniyeh, adding that it will never sell Jerusalem for money.

In the interview, Haniyeh said that more than 13 years of an Israeli blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip caused more than 45 per cent of unemployed and high rates of poverty.