(JTA) – Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar in an interview with the Israeli newspaper Yediot Acharonot said that a “new war is in no one’s interest.”
Sinwar later claimed that he was unaware that Italian journalist Francesca Borri was going to publish his interview in an Israeli newspaper, asserting that she had tricked him into violating a Hamas policy banning contact with the Israeli media.
He asked rhetorically “who really wants to confront a nuclear superpower with four slingshots? War doesn’t achieve anything.”
However, he added, a cease-fire would require “quiet for quiet and for the end of the siege,” a reference to Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. “It’s important to make it clear: If we’re attacked, we’ll defend ourselves. As always. And we will have another war. But then, in a year, you’ll be here again; and I’ll again tell you that with war you achieve nothing.”
In a statement quoted by The Washington Post, Hamas claimed that it had looked into Borri’s background and determined that she was “not Jewish or Israeli, and that she had no previous work published in the Israeli press.”
Meanwhile, the Israeli army increased its troop presence on the Gaza border on Thursday following weeks of violent riots by Palestinians from the Hamas-controlled coastal enclave. Hurling firebombs and grenades, Palestinians have tried to break through the security fence.
While the riots have been ongoing since March, it had appeared that Israel and Hamas were close to a cease-fire deal and the frequency and severity of the attacks had appeared to be decreasing.
“The Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot & senior IDF & ISA [Israeli Security Agency] officials decided to implement wide-scale reinforcements in the Southern Command & to continue acting to thwart terror & infiltrations from Gaza,” the Israeli army tweeted. “Hamas is responsible for Gaza and all that emanates from it.”
“The IDF is prepared and ready for a variety of scenarios and sees the Hamas terror group as responsible for everything that happens in the Gaza Strip and that emanates from it,” the army said in a statement reported by The Times of Israel.