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Hamas Leader Sinwar: March of Return Orchestrated to Divert Attention from Internal Crisis

Hamas’s Gaza-based leader said that the violent riots at Israel’s border, known as the Great March of Return, that began in late March were orchestrated to shift attention away from the failure of the main Palestinians political factions to arrive at a power-sharing agreement, Ynet reported Tuesday.

“After the reconciliation efforts (between Hamas and Fatah) reached an impasse, a number of factions planned to cause an internal explosion in the Gaza Strip, but the Marches of Return thwarted the plan,” Yahya Sinwar told a conference of the terror group, which exercises complete political and military control over the Gaza Strip.

Sinwar blamed the failure of the reconciliation agreement on an alliance of unnamed Palestinian officials and Israeli intelligence. He offered no proof for his charge.

“Gaza did not want to stand idly by when the American Embassy was transferred to Jerusalem,” Sinwar added. “The Palestinian people succeeded in turning this provocation into an opportunity to confront the Israeli enemy.”

The Hamas leader also said that there is not currently a formal ceasefire agreement between the terror group and Israel, despite reports of a ceasefire agreement having been reached several weeks ago. He also said that Hamas had an interest in maintaining the ceasefire reached with Israel in the wake of its 2014 war with Israel.

Sinwar praised residents of Gaza for creating “means of pressure, like the incendiary balloons, and they write the history of those under siege in Gaza, who have nothing, and they cause Israel to think again.”

He also spoke of a “maritime route” to Cyprus to help alleviate the poverty of Gaza, but rejected rumors of an airport being built in the Sinai. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected the idea of building a seaport in Cyprus to facilitate the transfer of goods to Gaza, having said that it would be “destructive to the Palestinian cause and would kill the Palestinian dream of establishing a Palestinian state.”

Addressing United Nations Mideast Envoy Nikolay Mladenov, Sinwar said, “Your role has changed from the United Nations envoy for the peace process to the UN envoy to prevent war.” He also lamented that Mladenov didn’t visit Gaza frequently, but that when Hamas escalated attacks against Israel the envoy “came to Gaza twice a day.”

[Photo: AP Archive / YouTube ]