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Hamas sets 2-month deadline for Israel to end Gaza siege

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Palestinian children are pictured outside shacks in Gaza City’s Shati refugee camp on May 15, 2020. (File photo by AFP)

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has set a deadline of two months for Israel to end more than 12 years of its siege on the Gaza Strip.

Khalil al-Hayya, a member of the political bureau of Hamas, said Israel has blocked humanitarian assistance from entering Gaza over the past few months of the coronavirus pandemic.

If Israel does not end the siege willingly, he warned, Hamas is militarily capable of forcing Israelis into shelters.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov visited Gaza on September 16 and held talks with Hamas officials regarding the Israeli blockade.

Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the political bureau of Hamas, has said the movement and the people in Gaza are determined to confront the unjust blockade until it is lifted entirely.

Hamas has already turned down a $15-billion development aid offer conditioned on disarming.

Haniyeh says the hefty offer has been made in the context of US President Donald Trump’s highly provocative ‘peace' plan, which would allocate billions to Gaza for development if implemented.

Trump had given Tel Aviv the green light to annex large parts of the West Bank and Jordan Valley in his self-proclaimed “deal of the century,” which was unveiled in January with the aim of legitimizing Israel’s occupation and re-drawing the Middle East map.

The scheme has drawn global condemnation. Still, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is determined to carry on with it.

Trump’s plan largely gives in to Israel’s demands while carving out a Palestinian state with limited control over its own security and borders, enshrining the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital.”

Gaza has been under an inhumane Israeli land, air and sea siege since 2007 and witnessed three wars since 2008. Israeli forces conduct regular air raids on Palestinians in Gaza under the pretext of hitting Hamas targets.

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