The leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar, said Monday that if Israel doesn't ease up the blockade on the coastal enclave, the current situation will "lead to an explosion."
In a meeting with young Palestinians in the Strip, Sinwar said that the different Palestinian factions are ready for any kind of confrontation, and that they have substantial military capabilities that could attack Tel Aviv for at least six consecutive months.
Sinwar threatened Israeli leaders, saying: "Prepare for something big. We won't let the crisis continue and we won't tolerate this situation forever." He added that Hamas has a network of attack tunnels stretching out for hundreds of kilometers, anti-tank ammunition and an array of rockets manufactured in Gaza.
The Hamas leader issued a direct threat against Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz, responding to previous declarations by the former army chief of staff that he would attack in Gaza if he is nominated to be Israel's next prime minister. "We will get you the point that you curse the day you were born," he said.
Pushing for Palestinian elections
Earlier Monday, senior Hamas officials – among them politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh – met with the UN special representative to the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov.
According to a statement released by Hamas, Mladenov discussed with Haniyeh the humanitarian situation in Gaza, and focused on an initiative to hold elections in the Strip and in the West Bank.
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The Palestinian factions are currently trying to hold the elections earlier, in order to bring an end to an ongoing intra-Palestinian dispute.
According to the statement by Hamas, Mladenov had promised the Palestinian officials that the UN will push for the Palestinian elections to happen soon, and will oversee the process.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Fatah organization in the West Bank have expressed willingness to hold the elections, and so have Hamas leaders. Nonetheless, Palestinians are doubtful that the elections will take place soon; they are concerned that Israel will pose hurdles to Palestinians wishing to participate in the ballot in East Jerusalem. Another concern is that it will be difficult to ensure the integrity of the election process in the West Bank and in Gaza.