The 13-storey Hanadi Tower in the occupied Gaza Strip was destroyed by an Israeli air strike on 11 May, 2021. (Photo credit: Reuters)
On 20 December, Arabic media reported that Palestinian resistance faction Hamas has rejected any proposal to link the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip with a long-awaited prisoner swap deal with Israel.
According to unnamed sources who spoke with Al Mayadeen “Hamas informed the Egyptians of its rejection of attempts to link reconstruction to the prisoner deal.”
At the end of the 11-day Sayf al Quds battle last May between Israeli occupation troops and Palestinian resistance factions in Gaza, Qatar and Egypt pledged $500 million each to help with reconstruction in the besieged enclave.
However, since these announcements were made, Israel has been unwilling to allow reconstruction to commence in full, mainly by limiting the entry of construction materials, as Tel Aviv claims Hamas uses them to build weapons to wage attacks.
Furthermore, as of late, Tel Aviv has been pushing for the reconstruction to be linked to the prisoner exchange deal, holding hostage the Egyptian and Qatari aid until Hamas releases Israeli prisoners of war.
But according to the new reports, Hamas has warned Cairo that “the continuation of the policy of procrastination will lead to an explosion of the situation.”
According to an exclusive investigation by The Cradle, Palestinian resistance factions have given mediators in the truce agreement, especially the Qataris and Egyptians, an end of year deadline for the Israelis to implement their post-war promises from six months ago.
If the deadline is not met, the resistance factions have warned that preemptive preparations for a future confrontation are “in rapid progress.”
During a speech delivered on the 34th founding anniversary of Hamas on 16 December the deputy head of the movement’s political bureau, Saleh al-Aruri, warned that a prisoner swap deal was the only way the Israelis had to get back their prisoners.
“They will not see the light of day except through an exchange deal that guarantees the freedom of Palestinian prisoners,” the official said.
Israel’s 11-day May offensive against what many consider to be the world’s largest open-air prison in May killed more than 260 Palestinians, including 66 children, and was marked by its intensity and the targeting of civilian homes and infrastructure.
In total, close to 2,000 homes were destroyed, in addition to 22,000 other units that were partially damaged, all this leading to the displacement of tens of thousands of Palestinians.