by Khaled Abu Toameh
Hamas said on Sunday that it was in contact with other groups in the Gaza Strip to reduce the recent attacks in the area so as to avoid another war with Israel.
Representatives of the Islamist movement said that they have urged the groups to abide by an unofficial ceasefire and to stop firing rockets and mortars at Israeli communities.
Hamas has even threatened any Palestinian who launches attacks on Israel.
Ayman Taha, a Hamas official, said that his movement did not want to give Israel an excuse to “wage a new war against the Gaza Strip.”
He warned, however, that Hamas reserved the right to “respond to Israeli crimes, but only within the frame of national consensus.”
Palestinians interpreted his remarks as a sign that Hamas does not believe that any group has the right to independently initiate a confrontation with Israel.
Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar was quoted on Sunday as saying that his movement was “only a few steps away from achieving a historic victory” over Israel.
He cautioned, however, that the Palestinians would pay a very heavy price for such a victory.
“The victory will cost us many of our sons,” Zahar told supporters in the Gaza Strip on the second anniversary of Operation Cast Lead. “But in the next confrontation with the Zionist entity, we will fulfill the dream of our fathers.”