An official in the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Mahmoud Al-Zahar, has said that the factions in the Gaza Strip have established a certain “deterrence” which is making the Israeli occupation army hesitant about carrying out any major aggression or assassinations of resistance leaders, Anadolu has reported.

The Hamas official added that regional and international mediation with the movement has increased in order to avoid any escalation. He noted that such mediation has conveyed Israel’s desire to preserve calm and not escalate to war.

Al-Zahar threatened Israel with a “decisive response” if it assassinates the movement’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar. Some Israelis are calling for him to be killed.

“These calls have not gone beyond threats and intimidation,” he explained, “and no previous assassination attempts against Palestinian figures were preceded by any warning. This does not mean that the resistance leadership is not being cautious, though.”

The Hamas leader explained that there is “constant movement from Arab, foreign and European mediators to preserve the calm in Gaza. Moreover, everyone in the region is concerned that things in Gaza should not develop into a war.” Such mediation, he insisted, is pushed by Israel, which knows that a war will not be in its favour.

Al-Zahar reiterated that Hamas and the other Palestinian factions insist on Gaza having a port on the Mediterranean that is not subject to Israel’s authority and which meets the needs of Gaza residents. “Such a port is a right for the Palestinians.”

On a related issue, Al-Zahar said that the reconstruction of Gaza has made little progress, despite promises received from mediators and governments, including Egypt. “What has been reconstructed in the Gaza Strip, after a year, is absolutely not commensurate with the extent of destruction that has occurred.” The only way to reconstruct Gaza and meet the population’s needs is through a safe sea corridor, sponsored by countries that are acceptable to the Palestinian factions, he added.