Hamas will not cease resisting Israel until all its demands are met, the group's overall leader Khaled Meshaal said on Thursday, adding the latest Gaza conflict was only "a milestone to reaching our objective".
Speaking at a news conference in Doha, where he lives in exile, Meshaal said the group would never give up its arms as part of any deal. He also said the group's military commander, caught earlier this month in an Israeli air strike, was "fine".
"You cannot contain the resistance, because the resistance is in our thoughts and in our souls ... our resistance will continue until all our demands are met and we are getting closer to victory and al-Quds (Jerusalem)," he said.
"This is not the end. This is just a milestone to reaching our objective. We know that Israel is strong and is aided by the international community. We will not restrict our dreams or make compromises to our demands," Meshaal said.
Israel launched its assault on the Gaza strip with the declared aim of stopping rocket attacks against Israel and destroying tunnels it said Hamas, which refuses to recognise Israel's right to exist, was using to infiltrate the country.
Hamas also called on Egypt to open the Rafah border crossing, as "a brotherly action".
"The weapons of the resistance are sacred and we will not accept that it be up for negotiation," Meshaal said. "There is no politics with out resistance and there is no resistance without arms."
Both Israel and Egypt view Hamas as a security threat and are seeking guarantees that weapons will not enter Gaza, a narrow, densely populated territory of 1.8 million people.
Speaking next to a large billboard with the slogan "A nation constructing its victory", Meshaal presented the current Gaza truce as a victory for the Palestinian people.
"Our enemy only comes under pressure when they are under fire," he said. "As our rockets hit them, they were forced to hold talks with us."
Palestinian health officials say 2,139 people, most of them civilians, including more than 490 children, have been killed in the enclave since July 8, when Israel launched an offensive.
Israel's death toll stood at 64 soldiers and six civilians.