Hamas Official Blames Rockets On Collaborators
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
SIEGEL: Now, we are going to hear from Ahmed Yusuf, who is an adviser to Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister in Gaza. Welcome to the program, Mr. Yusuf.
Mr. AHMED YUSUF (Adviser, Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza): You're welcome.
SIEGEL: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in Cairo that Hamas brought this Israel attack on by failing to extend the truce that Egypt had brokered. The Israelis say that. Why wouldn't Hamas agree to extend that truce?
Mr. YUSUF: You know, actually, we have said we are willing to extend the cease-fire. But the terms that we have agreed upon in Cairo, the Israelis never fulfilled their promises. They're suppose to have these crossings open for humanitarian aid. Unfortunately, 50 percent of the time, these crossing never been opened, and the number of the trucks that's suppose to come daily to Gaza - there is no cement, no asphalt, no plastic, or everything. Many items of medical supplies not allowed to cross to Gaza.
SIEGEL: But, wasn't the response of firing rockets into Israel…
Mr. YUSUF: There is no - actually, when we…
SIEGEL: Wasn't that guaranteed to bring on this retaliation by the Israelis?
Mr. YUSUF: No. No. This has nothing to do with firing rockets because there is no rockets fired. There are collaborators, sometimes they fire based on the Israeli asking them maybe to fire some of these home-made projectiles. They know that Hamas did their best to protect the border and not to let anybody firing rockets.
SIEGEL: But you're saying that when rockets have been fired out of Gaza, you're saying that those are being fired by Israeli collaborators whom the Israelis are arranging for them to do that, so that…
Mr. YUSUF: Actually, we all - let me try me to check if there is anybody actually - we check with those political and militant group who are really showing their commitment. And when we check, well, they - all them denied any of them been firing rockets. So, who been firing these rockets? We don't have an explanation except from those Israeli collaborators. So, we told them, we would like to keep this cease-fire and keep the - stop their aggression and also opening the gate. Hamas is willing to keep the cease-fire, and we are willing to extend it to another six months, but we need a commitment from the Israeli side.
Unfortunately, all the time they deceive the world community by claiming many things, and unfortunately, we are the people who really suffering, and this air strike they targeting everything, universities, mosques, schools, civilian home, residential areas, and also all the governmental building, which has nothing to do with these firing rockets as they keep claiming.
SIEGEL: The United Nations reported that, out of more than 300 Palestinian deaths, there were a little bit over 50 civilians. Does that mean that many Hamas gunmen and many Hamas officials have been killed in these Israeli strikes?
Mr. YUSUF: There are many people, actually, from the police force, because they targeting all the police station, which has nothing to do with all what they claim the firing rockets or anything of this. This is the police force who tried to keep the state of security, enforcing the state of law. And this kind of aggression is against international law. It is a crime against humanity.
SIEGEL: Mr. Yusuf, thank you very much for talking with us today.
Mr. YUSUF: You're welcome.
SIEGEL: That's Ahmed Yusuf, who is an adviser to Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister. He spoke to us from Gaza. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.