Ismail Haniyeh, the Head of the Hamas Political Bureau, said in a July 26, 2020 interview on Lusail News (Qatar) that Israel has previously agreed to the establishment of an airport and seaport in the Gaza Strip in exchange for ceasefire, but that the Palestinian Authority and other Arab parties have blocked this from taking place under the pretext that it would constitute a separation between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. He said that under such an arrangement, Gaza would become like Singapore. He then claimed that a certain Arab country has offered as much as $15 billion for ports and economic projects in Gaza. Haniyeh explained, however, that Hamas completely rejected these offers because this would require it "to disband the military wings of the factions."
He said that Hamas is absolutely unwilling to relinquish its weapons, the resistance, Palestinian prisoners in Israel, or the Palestinian Right of Return. He also said that the Palestinians want an airport, a seaport, and other projects in Gaza because they are "entitled" to them. He emphasized that Hamas will not recognize the State of Israel, that Palestine must stretch from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, and that Jerusalem must be the capital of Palestine. He added that Hamas does not fear war, but that it is best to postpone it if possible.
Ismail Haniyeh: "Sometimes, when you engage in battles and wars, you manage to force the enemy to accept the rebuilding of an airport in Gaza, but there are foreign parties close to us who do not want it to be rebuilt. We also demanded that there be a seaport connecting Gaza to Cyprus. Whenever we are engaged in battles with the enemy, we say that prior to a ceasefire, they should accept the building of an airport and a seaport. Sometimes, Israel acquiesces to this because they want to bring an end to the fighting. However, it turns out that other parties are the obstacle."
Interviewer: "Arab parties?"
Ismail Haniyeh: "Arab parties or the Palestinian Authority, under the pretext that this would manifest the beginning of the separation of the Gaza Strip from the West Bank.
"The discussion about the Deal of the Century includes the establishment of a political entity in the Gaza Strip – a political entity that would be separate from the West Bank. The Gaza Strip would be considered the Palestinian state, while the West Bank would be dealt with through a policy of annexation, through settlements, or by declaring Jerusalem as the united capital of Israel. As for Gaza, it would become like Singapore. Parties, who we know are on the payroll of certain superpowers, came to us, and offered to establish new projects in the Gaza Strip to the tune of perhaps $15 billion."
Interviewer: "They made this offer to you?"
Ismail Haniyeh: "Yes. $15 billion. This includes the construction of an airport, a seaport, and economic projects in Gaza. We said to them: 'That's great. We want an airport and a seaport, and we want to break the siege on the Gaza Strip. This is a Palestinian demand, but what are we supposed to give in return?' Of course, in return, you will... Obviously, they want us to disband the military wings of the factions, and incorporate them in the police force.
"Naturally, we completely rejected that offer.
"We cannot, in exchange for money or projects, give up Palestine and our weapons. We will not give up the resistance, Jerusalem, our people in the West Bank, or our Right of Return to the land of Palestine. So we did not go along with those plans.
"We want to break the siege on the Gaza Strip. We want projects in the Gaza Strip. We want a seaport, We want an airport in the Gaza Strip. But we want these things because we are entitled to them and not in exchange for relinquishing our political principles, our resistance, or our weapons."
Interviewer: "What are your political principles?"
Ismail Haniyeh: "We will not recognize Israel, Palestine must stretch from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, the Right of Return [must be fulfilled], the prisoners must be set free, and a fully sovereign Palestinian state must be established with Jerusalem as its capital.
"Wars have rules and there are things that need to be taken into consideration. We do not fear a war, but postponing it as much as we can is for the best."