‘Gaza still patient and steadfast against massacres, slaughters, starvation and displacement, seeking freedom and dignity’ – Ismail Haneyya

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Hamas fighters on a captured Israeli tank on October 7th – ‘A day that brought the Palestinian issue back to the forefront of the international scene’ said Haneyya

The head of Hamas’s political bureau, Ismail Haneyya, made a televised speech on Sunday evening, to mark the beginning of Ramadan.

‘Ramadan is peace upon Gaza, which continues to paint the picture of freedom and honour for Palestine with the blood of its sons and daughters, the barricades of Al-Aqsa and Jerusalem with the souls of its youth, women, men, children, tents, displacement, and hunger.’

Haneyya went on: ‘The hateful criminal enemy who continues the crime of the century, in which he wrote his death certificate as an occupier, will be held accountable no matter how long it takes, whether it be long or short.

‘Gaza, you still stand patiently and steadfastly against massacres, slaughters, starvation, displacement, and Gaza says to them that we are seekers of freedom and dignity.

‘The seventh of October is a pivotal historical day in the life of the Palestinian cause and a strategic turning point in the conflict with the occupying Zionist enemy.

‘It has brought the Palestinian issue back to the forefront of the international scene, in line with its political and humanitarian dimensions and its sacred centrality after colonial forces tried to consign it to oblivion and the margins of history.’

He continued: ‘Our Movement over the past months, through the front line led by the factions of the resistance, foremost among them the Al-Qassam Brigades, has defended its people on all battlefronts, on every inch and every street of our beloved territory, and has recorded glorious pages in the history of this people’s resistance, uprisings, and successive revolutions.

‘I want to clarify to our people in general, our nation, and the free people of the world, but specifically to our people in Gaza, that since the beginning, in this negotiation process through the mediation of our brothers in Qatar and Egypt, we have set several conditions in order to reach an agreement, most importantly that we want an agreement that leads to a ceasefire and an end to the war.’

The Hamas leader emphasised: ‘We want to translate this legendary resilience, heroism, courage, and sacrifices into real achievements for our people on the same battlefield and on the national and general political level.’

He added: ‘We also want to thwart all suspicious schemes that target Gaza in its national, administrative, and political dimensions, what is now referred to as the aftermath of the war on Gaza.’

He continued: ‘We have insisted on the most important principle to reach an agreement, which is a comprehensive ceasefire and an end to the war on Gaza, the complete withdrawal of the occupation army from all the territory of the Strip, the full and unconditional return of the displaced to their homes, and all the humanitarian issues, such as relief, assistance, shelter, reconstruction, and the lifting of the blockade.’

Haneyya said: ‘We also seek to reach an honourable deal that includes the exchange of prisoners, and the Movement has shown high responsibility, positivity, and flexibility in all dialogue sessions and negotiations with our brothers in Egypt and Qatar.’

‘I say to you with clarity, responsibility, and impartiality that the enemy until now is evading giving clear guarantees and commitments, especially regarding the ceasefire, that is, the cessation of the aggressive war on the Strip.’

Haneyya explained: ‘Just a few hours before this speech, I was in contact with our brothers, the mediators, and we did not receive any commitment from the enemy to the ceasefire.

‘It means that they want to regain the prisoners and resume the war on our people and our Strip.’

The top Hamas official also pointed out that the enemy is refusing the mediators’ request for redeployment and repositioning of the occupying army forces inside the Gaza Strip, and has not made any commitment so far to the return of the displaced to their homes.

He noted that the enemy talks about the ‘gradual return’ of the displaced without specifying any clear guidelines and determinants, and insists on staying in central Gaza, dividing the Strip into two halves.

‘No agreement that does not end the war,’ Haneyya said.

‘We do not want to give an agreement that does not end the war on the Gaza Strip or that does not return our displaced people to their homes, or an agreement that does not guarantee the withdrawal of the Zionist enemy from the Gaza Strip, especially from the central part of the Strip to outside the Gaza Strip.’

He stressed: ‘We do not want to give an agreement that does not ensure the humanitarian issues for our people in the entire Gaza Strip, especially in the northern part of the Strip, which suffers from the policy of starvation, where children, the elderly, and women die due to this hunger imposed by the enemy through its military blockade on the city of Gaza and the northern part of the Strip.’

Haneyya added: ‘We have shown the highest levels of positivity and responsibility, and we said that in order to achieve these principles and reach an agreement, the agreement must be comprehensive in three interrelated stages, and it must also have international guarantees to compel the occupation to abide by what is agreed upon.’

He continued: ‘I tell you with clarity that the responsibility for not reaching an agreement lies with the occupation and the government of the Zionist enemy because they do not want to commit to the basic principles of the agreement.

‘Nevertheless, I say that we are open to continuing the negotiations, open to any formulas that achieve these principles and end this aggression.’

Haneyya pointed out that the enemy claims that Hamas and the resistance factions do not want to reach an agreement because they want to exploit the month of Ramadan in order to incite the West Bank – the 1948 occupied Palestine, the diaspora, and the nation.

‘We believe that the nation has obligations and commitments during Ramadan, before Ramadan, and after Ramadan towards Gaza, Jerusalem, and Al-Aqsa.’

He added: ‘But we certainly honour the holy month of Ramadan and what it carries of cultural, jihadist, and intellectual stock for our people and our nation. We do not exchange this occasion for any drop of blood of a child, a woman, an elderly person, a martyr, or a fighter from the sons of our people today.’

Regarding the condition of the resistance’s agreement to proceed with negotiations, Haneyya clarified: ‘Today, I say if we receive a clear position from the mediators about the occupation’s commitment to withdrawal, cessation of aggression, and the return of the displaced, we are ready to reach the completion of the stages of this agreement and to show flexibility in terms of the issue of exchange and prisoners.

‘Yes, the issue of prisoners is important, and the enemy must understand that it will pay a price in the issue of exchange.

‘But among the priorities is the protection of our people, the cessation of aggression, the cessation of massacres, the return of the displaced, and the opening of a political horizon for our cause and our people.’

He continued: ‘This is what I wanted to clarify to you, brothers and sisters, so that no one falls prey to rumours and biased media campaigns.

‘We know that there is a psychological war being waged by this occupation and attempts to sow discord and create chaos, but all of that will fail.’

Haneyya emphasised that the occupying regime ‘has not succeeded in any of the confrontation arenas with the Palestinian people throughout the decades of conflict, so how can it succeed in the face of this heroism, this might, and this great legendary resilience of the people in the Battle of the Aqsa Flood?’

He continued: ‘The battle is entering its sixth month, and the enemy has not achieved any of its military objectives.

‘It has not eliminated Hamas or the resistance despite everything our Palestinian people have been subjected to.

‘It has not recovered any of its captives, and it will not recover them except through an agreement.’

He pointed out that the enemy has failed to displace the people and divide the Gaza Strip despite all the massacres, genocides, and ethnic cleansing it has practiced against the Palestinian people.

‘But our people are deeply rooted in their land, their homeland, their tents, and under the rubble, despite thousands of wounded and missing.’

He added: ‘The enemy will not succeed at all in any of its projects, neither in creating chaos nor in sowing discord nor in changing the equations of our Palestinian people, who are the ones building the equation.’

The Hamas leader continued his speech: ‘And we say to our people that efforts are ongoing with all countries, institutions, and organisations to stop this savage inhuman aggression against our Palestinian people. Therefore, we support every step and every path that alleviates the suffering of our Palestinian people and eliminates the policy of starvation.’

He affirmed that there is no alternative at all to reopening all the land crossings to the Gaza Strip and allowing all humanitarian needs to enter the Gaza Strip through these crossings, in addition to all other roads and means.

Regarding the issue of Palestinian reconciliation, Haneyya stated that they want to organise the Palestinian house, which involves rebuilding the national consensus through the Palestine Liberation Organisation and reaching an agreement to form a national unity government with specific tasks and a temporary timeframe until the holding of general legislative and presidential elections.

Haneyya said: ‘We must agree on a political programme for our people in this stage. We have presented a political approach on this level, which entails ending the Zionist occupation of our land in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and establishing an independent Palestinian state with full sovereignty, with Jerusalem as its capital, along with the right of return and self-determination.’

Haneyya continued his speech by saying: ‘I send greetings to all the people of our nation, especially our people in Jerusalem and the West Bank, and I urge them to utilise the blessed month of Ramadan to support the Battle of the Aqsa Flood, to protect Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque, and to confront any conspiracies targeting our holy sites, both Islamic and Christian.’

He added: ‘I salute all the resistance fronts that support our people’s struggle and support the resistance. I salute the heroic Lebanese front, the wise and courageous Yemeni front, and the authentic Iraqi front, which is not far from these fronts that support the resistance.’

Haneyya continued: ‘I salute all the people of our nation and all the masses who come out in every capital of our Arab and Islamic countries, as well as the free people of the world who come out in the United States and European capitals (in support of Gaza).’

The Hamas leader concluded: ‘I salute South Africa, which brought this enemy, for the first time since its establishment as a usurping entity on our land, to the International Court of Justice. I salute all the countries that support this path, support our people, and support our legitimate right to our land and holy sites.’