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Hamas: Border Protests Will Continue Until Gaza Blockade Lifted

Hamas boss Ismael Haniyeh stressed that his Gaza-based terrorist group will continue spearheading “March of Return” protests that for six months have descended into weekly clashes between Palestinians and Israeli troops. Haniyeh, who was speaking at the funeral of one of at least six Gazans reportedly killed on Friday after approaching or breaching the border fence, claimed, however, that Hamas would agree to a long-term cease-fire deal with Israel in exchange for the lifting of the blockade. To this end, Egyptian, Qatari and United Nations officials are continuing with efforts to forge a truce that would include major international investment and infrastructure projects in order to alleviate the humanitarian plight in Gaza. Despite the diplomatic initiative, tensions along the frontier have increased over the past two weeks—this, after a period of relative calm following months of chaos—prompting Israel to temporarily reverse a decision to allow Qatari-purchased fuel into the Palestinian territory. Further complicating matters is the ongoing feud between Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas’ West Bank-based government, with the latter maintaining sanctions on Gaza in an effort to pressure its terrorist rulers to cede control over the enclave. On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned that, “Hamas has apparently not internalized the message—if they don’t stop the violent attacks against us, they will be stopped in a different way and it will be painful, very painful.”