Hamas looks set to end a fragile truce with Israel when the current ceasefire runs out on
December 19. The announcement comes as tens of thousands of Hamas supporters gathered in Gaza City to mark the 21st anniversary of the Islamist movement which seized control of the Gaza Strip last year.
The head of Hamas in Gaza, Ismail Haniya said: “There is no peace, there is no settlement, there is a mirage. This is farce, a political mascarade.” It remains unclear if this will lead to an immediate surge in violence.
Israel has claimed it is ready to prolong the peace deal, under the right conditions. A spokesperson for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said: “It is clear there can’t be a one-sided ceasefire and Israel cannot unilaterally accept a situation where rockets are everyday coming from the Gaza Strip targeting Israeli civilians.”
Speaking in Damascus, where he lives in exile, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said Israel had not eased its blockade of the Strip. The truce has been sorely tested by renewed militant attacks and harsher Israeli economic sanctions over the past six weeks.