Hamas Official In Interview With Lebanese Hizbullah Outlet: Israel 'Will Not Be Able To Last Long In This Conflict'; The Freedom Of Detained Palestinians 'Is The Most Important Goal Of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood'

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December 6, 2023

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On December 6, 2023, Lebanese Hizbullah's Al-Ahed News released an exclusive interview with Hamas national relations official Ali Barakah.[1] In the interview, Barakah asserted that Hamas is "doing well" against the Israeli counterattack and that it is fighting in accordance with its predetermined "defensive plan" of action. He also said that Hamas continues to aim to free all Palestinian prisoners from Israeli detention and will use Israeli hostages to that end.

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"Fronts In Lebanon, Yemen, And Iraq Represent A New Danger To The Zionist Enemy"

Barakah opened by denigrating Israel's counteroffensive: "The Zionist Enemy has not achieved any military accomplishment on the ground in the face of the men of the resistance since it launched its war on the Palestinian people on October 7. Its forces besieging the Gaza Strip have stalled, forcing it to take revenge on Palestinian civilians to save face."

"The resolve of the Palestinian people," he noted, "and the bravery of the resistance, its countering of occupation forces, killing of large numbers of its soldiers, and destruction of large numbers of its vehicles, in addition to shifting global public opinion – to which reality has been revealed and to which it has been shown that Netanyahu and Joe Biden are lying – was not in the occupation's plan."

Barakah also highlighted the role of the Iran-led Axis of Resistance, saying: "The maneuvers of more than one front outside of Palestine have assisted the resistance in its resolve and in bewildering the Zionist enemy, especially the fronts of Lebanon, Yemen, and Iraq. The enemy is now depleted in southern Lebanon, as well as before the Armed Forces of Yemen, which are prohibiting Israeli ships from crossing the Bab Al-Mandab [The "Gate of Grief," or the strait connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden], which represents a new danger to the Zionist enemy."

"All these factors together forced the enemy to submit to the conditions of the resistance and enter into a truce for seven days," Barakah noted. "Then it breached [the truce] to return to the military option – since Friday morning [December 1] – but it has not achieved anything. To the contrary, until now the resistance has destroyed more than 50 [Israeli military] vehicles in the second round [of fighting] and caused casualties to the ranks of the enemy's army."

"Israel Will Not Be Able To Last Long In This Conflict"; "We Are Reassured We Will Be Victorious"

In view of renewed war, Barakah aimed to reassure public opinion about Hamas's will and ability to fight: "The resistance is doing well. It implemented a defensive plan before the moment of attack which occurred on October 7, is fighting in accordance with it, and [as a result] the enemy has sustained severe losses."

Barakah also speculated on Israeli political dynamics, which – in his view – are favorable for Hamas's ability to "outlast" Israel in the conflict. "[Israel] will not be able to last long in this conflict because its losses have mounted," he said, continuing, "In response, the [Israeli] army's leadership will pressure Netanyahu toward a ceasefire. For it is clear to everyone that [Netanyahu] is fighting for his personal goals, such that he wants to extend the length of the conflict out of fear of being prosecuted after a ceasefire and having to bear responsibility for the failure that has happened during this conflict. Therefore, we are reassured that we will be victorious in this conflict. The resistance fights with bravery and has plans and surprises."

"The Freedom Of [Palestinian] Sons Is The Most Important Aim Of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood"

Barakah addressed the issue of Israeli hostages, reiterating that Hamas views them as a means to secure the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israel. "We have the ability to release all the detainees – whether alive or martyred – because we possess a large number of them, alive and dead. Therefore, we reassure the families of the detainees and say to them that the freedom of your sons is the most important aim of operation Al-Aqsa Flood," he stated.

In conclusion, Barakah also claimed that Hamas advanced a prisoner swap deal with Israel prior to October 7, but Israel refused: "Before October 7, we proposed to the Egyptian side an exchange. We have had four Zionist prisoners since 2014, but Netanyahu refused the exchange deal. So, the response of [Hamas] leadership was: If Netanyahu believes that the prisoners we have are a small number, then he should wait until we increase the yield. And it has already increased, and we have begun releasing prisoners, especially women and children, despite the occupation. [But] we will not negotiate under fire. We have said to everyone, and to the mediators, that the enemy must stop its aggression against our people, and then we will enter into negotiations to clear the Israeli prisons to release all the detainees in exchange for all [our Israeli detainees]."

 

[1] Al-Ahed News, December 6, 2023.

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