GAZA CITY (Dispatches) – Palestinian resistance movement Hamas said on Tuesday refused to back down amid escalation by the Zionist regime in the occupied East Al-Quds.
“Mediators are seeking to get pledges from Hamas on avoiding escalation, but this is rejected,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem told Anadolu Agency.
“We can’t speak about calm at a time when the occupation is continuing its aggressive behavior,” he added.
The Hamas spokesman said his movement told mediators that “it can’t tolerate any aggression on holy sites.”
Tension has been running high across the Palestinian territories in the wake of a controversial flag march by Zionist settlers through East Al-Quds and daily settler incursions into the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex.
On Sunday, Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh said he refused to give guarantees to mediators regarding the situation in the Palestinian territories.
The Zionist regime occupied East Al-Quds, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Zionist war. It annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move never recognized by the international community.
Between 600,000 and 750,000 Zionists occupy over 250 illegal settlements built since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territory of the West Bank.
Palestinians want the West Bank to serve as part of a future independent Palestinian state, with East Al-Quds as its capital.
IN a latest development, Zionist settlers have reportedly begun construction of a new settlement to the south of the city of Nablus in the northern part of the occupied West Bank.
Work on the new settlement began upon land belonging to the Palestinian village of Jalud, which is situated 30 kilometers south of Nablus, on Monday, various Palestinian media outlets reported.
Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian activist who monitors the regime’s violations in the area, announced on Tuesday that the regime had completed the excavation part of the project and were in the process of transferring prefabricated houses to the site.
The new settlement is just meters away from Palestinian-populated neighborhoods, he said.
Also on Tuesday, the Palestinian Wafa news agency reported that settlers had set fire to large tracts of Palestinian-owned land in the village of Burin south of Nablus.
“A number of settlers set fire to agricultural land planted with olive trees to the south of the village of Burin, destroying a large number of trees,” the agency reported, citing Daghlas.