"Israel must realise that this is not an open-ended truce. If Israel continues to grab our land by this evil wall and refuses to free our prisoners, then the ceasefire will die a natural death," said Hasan Yusuf, Hamas' chief spokesman in the West Bank, during a speech at the Polytechnic College in Hebron on Monday.

 

Hamas rejected Friday's bombing in Tel Aviv, which killed five Israelis and injured many others, calling it, a "wrong move".

 

Yusuf said Hamas was still committed to the ceasefire and not looking for pretexts to breach it. He added, however, that "we can't pretend things are fine when 9000 political detainees and resistance activists are still languishing in Israeli prisons and detention camps".

 

Parliamentary elections

 

As for the resistance movement's political future, Yusuf said Hamas was "very likely" to contest the Palestinian parliamentary elections slated for 25 July. 

 

Hamas slammed Blair (R) for the
London conference on PA reform

Hamas could seek alliances with "nationalist and other forces" for the purpose of forming a "united Islamic-nationalist front" whose main goal and raison d'etre would be to preserve Palestinian nationalist interests, he said.

 

"I am against Hamas becoming the number one political force at this juncture of our struggle. This is not the most appropriate time for us, we don't want to be in the leadership's seat right now."

 

Yusuf also denounced "blind violence" against civilians, saying Hamas was forced to attack Israeli civilians only when the Israeli army and paramilitary Jewish settlers killed and maimed thousands of Palestinian civilians.

 

He insisted any people under a foreign military occupation had an inherent right to resist foreign occupiers by whatever means available.

 

London conference

 

Yusuf also criticised the upcoming London conference on political and economic reforms in the Palestinian Authority (PA).

 

He accused British Prime Minister Tony Blair of seeking to "expedite the Israeli agenda" by devoting the conference to political and economic reforms in Palestine while utterly ignoring the "mother of all evils" - an allusion to the Israeli occupation.

 

"If Blair is genuinely concerned about reforms, let him first pressure Israel to end its occupation. How can real reforms be put in place in the presence of Israeli tanks and roadblocks?

 

"Can there be real reforms in the absence of real freedom?"