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Hamas Official Says Group Would Lay Down Its Arms If An Independent Palestinian State Is Established

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ISTANBUL (AP) — A senior Hamas leader informed The Associated Press that the Islamic extremist organization is prepared to accept a ceasefire lasting five years or more with Israel. Additionally, Hamas would disarm and transform into a political party on the condition that an independent Palestinian state be established based on the borders that existed before 1967.

Khalil al-Hayya’s remarks in a Wednesday interview occurred during a deadlock in the ongoing negotiations for a cessation of hostilities in Gaza. The proposition that Hamas would disarm seemed to be a substantial concession by the militant group that is publicly dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

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Hamas Official Says Group Would Lay Down Its Arms If An Independent Palestinian State Is Established

However, it is improbable that Israel would entertain such a possibility. The Israeli government has made a firm commitment to eliminate Hamas after the devastating Oct. 7 strikes that sparked the conflict. Furthermore, the current leadership of Israel strongly opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state on the territories that Israel gained control of during the 1967 Middle East war.

Al-Hayya, a prominent Hamas official who has been involved in discussions for a ceasefire and hostage exchange on behalf of the Palestinian militants, expressed a combination of defiance and conciliation.

Al-Hayya expressed Hamas’ desire to join the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), led by the Fatah side, in order to establish a consolidated government for both Gaza and the West Bank during an interview with the AP in Istanbul.

He stated that Hamas would agree to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with full sovereignty, and the repatriation of Palestinian refugees in compliance with international agreements. This would be based on Israel’s borders before the 1967 war.

He stated that Should that occur, the group’s military faction would disband.

“What actions have these forces taken after gaining independence and securing their rights and state, considering the experiences of individuals who fought against occupying forces?” “They have transformed into political parties, and their defensive combat units have transformed into the national army,” he stated.

Throughout the years, Hamas has occasionally adjusted its public stance about the potential establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. However, its political agenda publicly refuses to consider any other option but the complete liberation of Palestine, encompassing the territory extending from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, which includes the regions currently occupied by Israel.

Al-Hayya did not clarify if his seeming acceptance of a two-state solution would lead to a resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli issue or serve as a temporary measure toward the group’s ultimate objective of annihilating Israel.

Ophir Falk, a foreign policy adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, refrained from providing a response to Al-Hayya’s remarks, categorizing him as a “prominent terrorist.” However, he stated that Hamas had violated a previous ceasefire by launching an onslaught on southern Israel on Oct. 7, resulting in the deaths of over 1,200 individuals, primarily civilians. Approximately 250 hostages were forcibly taken by militants into the enclave.

According to local health experts, Israel’s subsequent intense bombing and ground attack have resulted in the deaths of over 34,000 Palestinians, with the majority being women and children. Additionally, this has led to the displacement of almost 80% of Gaza’s population, which amounts to 2.3 million people.

“The government led by Prime Minister Netanyahu has undertaken a mission to completely eliminate Hamas’ military and governing abilities in Gaza, liberate the hostages, and guarantee that Gaza will not pose a danger to Israel and the rest of the civilized world in the coming times,” he stated. “The attainment of those objectives is assured.”

The PLO and the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, which is the internationally recognized self-governing body that Hamas expelled from Gaza in 2007, did not respond immediately. This happened a year after Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections. Following the Hamas takeover of Gaza, the Palestinian Authority was tasked with governing semi-autonomous areas of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority aspires to build a sovereign state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem, and Gaza, which Israel seized during the 1967 Mideast conflict. Although most of the world community strongly backs a two-state solution, Netanyahu’s uncompromising administration opposes it.

The ceasefire discussions in Gaza have reached an impasse after almost seven months of conflict. Israel is currently making arrangements for a military operation in the southern city of Rafah, which has become a refuge for over 1 million Palestinians.

Israel claims to have dissolved the majority of the original twenty-four Hamas battalions since the beginning of the conflict. However, it states that four battalions are still surviving and are currently located in Rafah. Israel contends that launching a Rafah attack is vital to secure a decisive triumph over Hamas.

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AP – VOR News Image

Hamas Official Says Group Would Lay Down Its Arms If An Independent Palestinian State Is Established

Al-Hayya expressed that such a military operation would not be successful in completely eradicating Hamas. According to him, there is continuous communication between the political leadership outside of Gaza and the military leadership inside Gaza during the conflict. They consult with each other to make decisions and give directives.

The Israeli troops had only managed to incapacitate less than 20% of Hamas’ capabilities, both in terms of personnel and equipment, according to his statement. “If they are unable to completely defeat Hamas, what is the resolution?” The resolution lies in reaching an agreement.

In November, a seven-day period of temporary cessation of hostilities resulted in the liberation of over 100 captives in return for the release of 240 Palestinian detainees detained in Israel. However, negotiations for a lasting ceasefire and the liberation of the remaining captives are currently at a standstill, as both parties are accusing each other of being uncompromising. The primary participant, Qatar, has recently stated that it is thoroughly evaluating its position as a mediator.

The majority of Hamas’ prominent political figures, who were previously situated in Qatar, left the Gulf nation last week and journeyed to Turkey. In Turkey, Hamas’ political leader Ismail Haniyeh met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday. Al-Hayya refuted the possibility of relocating the group’s primary political office permanently and expressed Hamas’ desire for Qatar to continue serving as a mediator in the negotiations.

Israeli and U.S. officials have alleged that Hamas lacks sincerity in pursuing a compromise.

Al-Hayya refuted this claim, asserting that Hamas has indeed made compromises about the desired quantity of Palestinian detainees to be released in return for the remaining Israeli captives. According to him, the gang lacks precise information regarding the number of hostages that are now in Gaza and are still alive.

However, he stated that Hamas will not yield on its demands for a lasting cessation of hostilities and complete departure of Israeli forces, both of which Israel has refused to accept. Israel has declared its intention to persist with military operations until Hamas is decisively vanquished and will maintain a security presence in Gaza after that.

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AP – VOR News Image

Hamas Official Says Group Would Lay Down Its Arms If An Independent Palestinian State Is Established

“Given the lack of guarantee regarding the termination of the war, I see no reason to surrender the prisoners,” stated the Hamas commander in reference to the hostages who are still being held.

Al-Hayya further insinuated that Hamas might launch an attack against Israeli or other forces that may be stationed near a floating dock, which the U.S. is hastily constructing along Gaza’s coastline to provide relief via water.“We firmly refuse any presence in Gaza that is not Palestinian, whether it be at sea or on land, and we will treat any military force in these areas, whether Israeli or from another country, as an occupying force,” he stated.

Al-Hayya stated that Hamas does not feel remorse for the Oct. 7 attacks despite the immense devastation it has inflicted upon Gaza and its inhabitants. He refuted the claim that Hamas terrorists deliberately attacked people during the assaults despite the abundance of compelling evidence suggesting otherwise. Additionally, he asserted that the operation achieved its objective of refocusing global attention on the Palestinian issue.

According to him, Israeli efforts to eliminate Hamas will ultimately prove ineffective in preventing future armed uprisings by Palestinians.

“Suppose they have eradicated Hamas.” “Have the Palestinian people disappeared?” he inquired.

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Taiwan Scrambles Jets And Puts Missile, Naval And Land Units On Alert Over China’s Military Drills

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TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan scrambled jets and placed missile, navy, and ground forces on notice Thursday in response to Chinese military maneuvers near the self-governing island democracy, whose new president took office this week.

The Chinese military claimed its two-day operations around Taiwan were punishment for separatist forces seeking independence. Beijing claims the island is part of China’s national territory, and the People’s Liberation Army sends navy ships and warplanes into the Taiwan Strait and other areas around the island daily to wear down Taiwan’s defenses and intimidate its people, who strongly support their de facto independence

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China | AP News Image

Taiwan Scrambles Jets And Puts Missile, Naval And Land Units On Alert Over China’s Military Drills

China’s “irrational provocation has jeopardized regional peace and stability,” according to the island’s Defense Ministry. It stated that Taiwan will not seek confrontations but “will not shy away from one.”

“This pretext for conducting military exercises not only does not contribute to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, but also shows its hegemonic nature at heart,” said the ministry.

In his inauguration speech on Monday, Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te urged Beijing to end its military intimidation and promised to “neither yield nor provoke” the mainland Communist Party leadership.

“Faced with external challenges and threats, we will continue to uphold the values of freedom and democracy,” Lai told sailors and top security officials Thursday while visiting a naval facility in Taoyuan, just south of Taipei.

While not directly referring to China’s actions, he stated that international society was concerned about Taiwan’s security. This is likely due to its critical role in supply chains for the most advanced computer chips and its democratic bulwark against Chinese attempts to assert control over the Asia-Pacific.

Lai has stated that he seeks engagement with Beijing while retaining Taiwan’s existing status and avoiding disputes that may involve the island’s principal ally, the United States, and other regional partners such as Japan and Australia

The main opposition, the Nationalist Party, widely regarded as pro-China, also criticized Beijing’s activities.

The Nationalists, sometimes called the KMT, “the opposite side of the (Taiwan Strait) to exercise restraint, cease unnecessary maneuvers, avoid a conflict in the Taiwan Strait and maintain the cherish the results of peace and development between the sides.

Thursday’s tensions arose amid protests outside Taiwan’s legislature over plans by the Nationalists and their allies to utilize their small majority to ram through legislation that might alter military expenditures and critical judicial and administrative appointments.

The People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command stated on its official Weibo account that the land, navy, and air exercises around Taiwan are intended to test PLA units’ navy and air capabilities and joint strike abilities to hit targets and take control of the battlefield.

“This is also a powerful punishment for the separatist forces seeking ‘independence’ and a serious warning to external forces for interference and provocation,” stated the statement.

The PLA also released a map of the anticipated training region, which includes five distinct spots around Taiwan’s main island and neighboring islands, such as Matsu and Kinmen, which are closer to the Chinese mainland than Taiwan.

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China | AP news Image

Taiwan Scrambles Jets And Puts Missile, Naval And Land Units On Alert Over China’s Military Drills

In a statement, China’s coast guard also said that it had organized a fleet to conduct law enforcement drills around two islands near the Taiwanese-controlled island groupings of Kinmen and Matsu, which are just off the Chinese coast.

While China has labeled the exercises as retribution for Taiwan’s election results, the Democratic Progressive Party has now dominated the island’s administration for more than a decade, despite the pro-China Nationalist Party gaining a one-seat majority in parliament

Speaking in Australia, Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Stephen Sklenka, the deputy commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command, urged Asia-Pacific nations to criticize China’s military exercises.

“There’s no surprise whenever there’s an action that highlights Taiwan in the international sphere, the Chinese feel compelled to make some kind of form of statement,” Sklenka told the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra, referring to Monday’s presidential inauguration.

“Just because we expect that behavior doesn’t mean we shouldn’t denounce it, and we must do it openly. And it must come not only from us, but also, I believe, from other nations in the region. It’s one thing for the US to denounce China, but I feel it has a considerably greater impact when it comes from countries in this region,” Sklenka remarked.

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China | AP News Image

Taiwan Scrambles Jets And Puts Missile, Naval And Land Units On Alert Over China’s Military Drills

While visiting the United States, Japan’s top ambassador declared that Japan and Taiwan share values and principles such as freedom, democracy, basic rights, and the rule of law.

“(Taiwan) is an extremely important partner with whom we have close economic relations and people exchanges, as well as a precious friend,” Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa told reporters in Washington after meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

She stated that the two ministers discussed Taiwan and the significance of keeping the Taiwan Strait, one of the world’s most significant maritime routes, peaceful.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Harvard Holding Commencement After Weekslong Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

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Harvard | Harvard.com Image

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts – Harvard University planned to host its commencement ceremony on Thursday, following a weeks-long pro-Palestinian encampment that closed off Harvard Yard to save individuals with university links and heightened campus tensions.

Those tensions were heightened on Wednesday when school authorities revealed that 13 Harvard students who participated in the encampment would not be permitted to graduate alongside their classmates.

Those in the encampment demanded a cease-fire in Gaza and Harvard’s divestment from firms that support the war.

Also on Thursday, Northwestern and Rutgers University presidents are scheduled to speak before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on concessions they made to pro-Palestinian protesters to cease campus rallies. The Chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles, was also due to attend the most recent hearings looking into how universities have responded to the protests and charges of antisemitism.

Harvard

Harvard | AP News Image

Harvard Holding Commencement After Weekslong Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

The decision by the school’s top governing board comes after faculty members recommended on Monday that the 13 students be allowed to graduate despite their participation in the encampment.

However, Harvard’s governing board, the Harvard Corporation, stated that each 13 had been determined to have violated university standards during the camping protest.

“In coming to this determination, we note that the express provisions of the Harvard College Student Handbook state that students who are not in good standing are not eligible for degrees,” the company stated in a written statement.

The statement did not rule out the possibility of an appeals procedure, stating that the corporation knows “that the inability to graduate is consequential for students and their families” and supports the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ goal to accelerate the examination of appeal requests.

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Harvard | The Forward Image

Harvard Holding Commencement After Weekslong Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

“We care deeply about every member of our community — students, faculty, staff, researchers, and alumni — and we have chosen a path forward that accords with our responsibilities and reaffirms a process for our students to receive prompt and fair review,” said the statement.

Protesters packed up their things and departed a pro-Palestinian campsite at Drexel University in Philadelphia on Thursday after the school announced a decision to have police clear the area

Supporters of the students said that the decision not to allow them to earn degrees at commencement violated a May 14 agreement between interim President Alan Garber and the Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine alliance, which would have allowed them to graduate.

Protesters opposing Israel’s war with Hamas willingly demolished their tents after university administrators agreed to hear their concerns over the endowment, bringing a peaceful end to the types of demonstrations that were broken up by police on other campuses.

The group issued a statement late Wednesday, claiming that the decision jeopardizes the 13 students’ post-graduate careers.

“By rejecting a democratic faculty vote, the Corporation has proved itself to be a wholly illegitimate body, and Garber an illegitimate president, accountable to no one at the university,” claimed the organization.

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Harvard | Harvard Crimson Image

Harvard Holding Commencement After Weekslong Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

“Today’s actions have plunged the university even further into a crisis of legitimacy and governance, which will have major repercussions for Harvard in the coming months and years,” claimed the organization.

Supporters of the protestors planned a vigil outside Harvard Yard on Thursday to support the 13 and urge for a cease-fire in Gaza.

Protesters packed up their things and departed a pro-Palestinian campsite at Drexel University in Philadelphia on Thursday after the school announced a decision to have police clear the area. A wave of pro-Palestinian tent encampments on college campuses has resulted in over 3,000 arrests nationally.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Biden Is Honoring Kenya With State Visit As The East African Nation Prepares To Send Police To Haiti

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Biden | NBC Image

Washington — President Joe Biden is greeting Kenyan President William Ruto to the White House for a three-day state visit as the East African country prepares to send troops to Haiti as part of a United Nations-led effort to calm a deteriorating security situation in the Caribbean.

Some 1,000 Kenyan police personnel will soon arrive in Haiti as part of a multilateral security support operation aimed at reducing gang violence. Other countries anticipated to assist the Kenyan military include the Bahamas, Barbados, Benin, Chad, and Bangladesh.

For years, the United States has worked with Kenya on counterterrorism initiatives in Africa, notably the fight against the extremist group al-Shabab. Kenya has joined the Ukraine Defense Contact Group and an international maritime task force established by the Biden administration in December in response to Houthi attacks on shipping in the Red Sea.

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Biden | AP News Image

Biden Is Honoring Kenya With State Visit As The East African Nation Prepares To Send Police To Haiti

A top Biden administration official praised Ruto’s decision to send police personnel to Haiti, calling it an “unprecedented undertaking” and demonstrating Kenya’s international leadership.

Kenya is the first African nation to have a state visit from the United States since 2008.

“This is a deep and broad partnership,” White House principal deputy national security adviser Jon Finer said last week. He said it begins with combatting terrorism in Kenya’s region of Africa and progresses to “becoming a net security provider in our own hemisphere” with the upcoming deployment to Haiti.

The state visit begins with the two leaders meeting with CEOs at the White House in the afternoon. The goal is to increase relations between the American and Kenyan IT industries. The White House predicts that Teneo, Alphabet, and Semiconductor Technologies Limited executives will attend.

On Thursday, Biden and Ruto will hold formal talks and a joint press conference before attending a state dinner. Ruto is also scheduled to attend a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event with Vice President Kamala Harris this Friday.

Ruto began his journey to the United States in Atlanta, where he visited The King Center, met NBA icon Shaquille O’Neal, and dropped by Tyler Perry Studios.

The United States and Kenya are commemorating their 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations. According to White House officials, the leaders’ agenda will include trade and investment, technological innovation, climate and sustainable energy, as well as health and security.

Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell stated that the two countries would make “substantial commitments” to strengthen Kenya’s technical industry. Kenya hosts Google and Microsoft headquarters and established itself as East Africa’s technology hub, the Silicon Savannah.

In December 2022, Biden gathered dozens of African leaders in Washington to make the case that the United States was “all in” on Africa’s future, promising billions of dollars in government and private investment in health, infrastructure, business, and technology. The Democrat also promised to visit Sub-Saharan Africa in 2023.

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Biden | AP news Image

Biden Is Honoring Kenya With State Visit As The East African Nation Prepares To Send Police To Haiti

But other issues got in the way last year, notably the Israel-Hamas conflict and Biden’s lengthy battle with Republicans to renew financing for Ukraine’s war with Russia. Biden’s projected journey to Africa never occurred.

All the while, Russia has attempted to strengthen its economic and military influence in Africa. The junta in the West African nation recently ordered the withdrawal of US troops from Niger, which should be complete by mid-September. Meanwhile, Russia sent military trainers to Niger.

In addition, the United States needs to catch up to rival China in terms of investment in Africa, which has emerged as a vital battleground in the rivalry between great powers.

Biden and his advisers foresee fierce economic competition with Beijing in Africa but have attempted to argue that Washington is a far more stable partner in the long run

To that purpose, Biden took steps early in his presidency to prioritize Africa over his predecessors, including hosting over 50 leaders for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Conference in December 2022. However, analysts think the administration’s involvement has waned since the summit.

Cameron Hudson, a senior scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Africa Program, highlighted that Biden has only hosted one African leader, Angola President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, for meetings at the White House since the conference.

“This visit today feels a bit like a fig leaf, not just for the Kenyans but for Africa in general, and a kind of a placeholder for the administration to say: All of those things that we said early on in the administration, they all remain true,” Hudson stated.

According to Macharia Munene, a professor of international relations at the United States International University in Africa, Ruto hopes to use the visit to boost his international reputation. He feels that deploying Kenyan police to Haiti will help him achieve that aim.

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Biden | AP news Image

Biden Is Honoring Kenya With State Visit As The East African Nation Prepares To Send Police To Haiti

“Ruto wishes to be known as the African leader, particularly in the West. “And this kind of recognition fuels that desire,” Munene explained.

Ruto has stated that Kenya’s mission to Haiti aims to “formulate actionable strategies that will lead to long-term solutions” in the poorest Western Hemisphere country. For decades, Haiti has suffered from poverty, political instability, and natural calamities. The United States has agreed to offer direct financial assistance to the United Nations-backed mission and training, logistics, and material support.

However, Ruto’s decision to involve Kenyan police in a crisis hundreds of miles abroad has sparked criticism in Nairobi, including legal challenges to prevent police troops from being deployed.

International intervention in Haiti has a complex history. A sexual abuse scandal and the arrival of cholera, which claimed over 10,000 lives, hindered a U.N.-approved stabilization operation in Haiti that started in June 2004. The mission concluded in October 2017.

SOURCE – (AP)

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