Palestinian resistance movement Hamas leader Ismail Haniya on Sunday hailed an ‘historic and strategic victory’ in Gaza.
In his televised speech, he said: ‘We achieved victory by the resistance’s firmness, its position, and its ability to defend our people, and its cohesion and unity in the field.
‘They have proved that they are sincere sons and heroes, the descendants of the great men of Gaza, Palestine, and the (Arab) nation.
‘The (Hamas-led) government continued its work while in the eye of the storm.
‘The ministries and the civilian, police, and health departments continued to work.
‘The emergency departments, first aid sections, and the Civil Defence Department persevered and they offered martyrs.
‘They also continued to watch the crossings and the relief materials and kept pace with diplomatic and political moves.
‘Our people were calm and firm despite the harshness and ugliness of the war. There was no anarchy or lawlessness.
‘Cooperation, solidarity, compassion, and selflessness appeared in the most glorious form.
‘That was how our displaced people were treated. They moved and took refuge in the UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency) schools and the houses of their brothers and dear ones. Therefore, this was a divine and godly victory.’
He stressed: ‘It was not a victory for a faction, a party, or a region, but was a popular victory in which our splendid people took part.
‘Indeed, I say that it was an international victory because it was sponsored by our Arab and Islamic nations throughout the days of the war, and by all the free people of the world.
‘Thus it was truly a victory for mankind.
‘O brothers and sisters, we had stressed that confronting this aggression could be done along two courses: the first is steadfastness and firmness, rejection of capitulation, and refusal to retreat; and the second are political and diplomatic moves and intensifying contacts with the Arab, Islamic, regional, and international surroundings.
‘Through this, we reached the point on which our people and their leaderships at home and abroad were in agreement; namely, stopping the aggression and foiling its attempts to realise its aims, and achieving the victory of our people and the preservation of their dignity.
‘We have seen unprecedented official and popular sympathy.
‘We have followed with interest the Egyptian, Turkish, Qatari, and Syrian moves, and we viewed with appreciation the resolutions that were issued by the Gaza Emergency Summit in the blessed land of Doha.
‘We are now looking forward to the Arab summit in Kuwait and we hope that it will work towards realising the demands of our people and strengthening their steadfastness.
‘We also appreciate the emergency Gulf summit that was held in Riyadh and we value the decisions of Venezuela, Bolivia, Qatar, and Mauritania.
‘We highly appreciate the responses of the resistance factions to the latest Egyptian moves and their work to coordinate the Palestinian and Arab positions to repel this barbaric onslaught on our people, including the decision by the resistance factions to cease firing from Gaza in order to bring about the withdrawal of the enemy army in a definitive manner.
‘This decision demonstrated that the resistance is mature and responsible, that it moves in accordance with the interests of our people, allowing the involvement of all sides to complete the realisation of our people’s demands represented by stopping the aggression, effecting a final and absolute withdrawal from every inch of the Gaza Strip, opening the crossings, and lifting the siege.
‘At this historic movement, we emphasise a number of points:
‘1. We assume that our people’s martyrs are now with God, and we pay tribute to the great martyrs: the great scholar Dr Nizar Rayyan and the brother leader and Interior Minister Shaykh Sa’id Siyam. We pray to God to be pleased with our martyrs and have mercy on them.
‘We wish our injured recovery and good health. We tell all of them that we will continue on the same path.
‘We will not let this blood go in vain, will not make concessions, and will not retreat. We will be true to this blood with God’s help and we will realise for our people, and along with our people, all their aspirations.
‘2. We will extend fast and immediate relief and assistance to all the families and people whose houses and utilities were destroyed, damaged, or lost, thus allowing them to find an alternative refuge and as soon as possible.
‘We will rebuild what the occupation destroyed. Therefore, we ask our brothers in the Arab and Islamic states, as well as in the international community, to work for shouldering their responsibilities in this regard.
‘3. This victory opens the door for the inevitability of the greater victory, represented by adherence to our rights and firm principles, the liberation of our land, the establishment of the fully sovereign and independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, the release of all our men and women prisoners from the occupation jails, and the return of the refugees to their land and homes from which they were driven.
‘4. We will make of this victory a springboard to restore national unity and release domestic dialogue with the aim of reaching a genuine national and comprehensive reconciliation.
‘Here I call for preparing the necessary climate to make this dialogue a success and end internal differences.
‘5. We stress the need for the withdrawal of the Israeli army from the Gaza Strip, fully, totally and unconditionally; for opening the crossings, lifting the siege, and preventing the return of Gaza and the people of Gaza – after all these great sacrifices, this blood sacrifices, and this historic stand – to the abhorrent tragedies of the siege, and we emphasise efforts to complete the steps that we began today.
‘6. We highly value the efforts, the activities, the protest marches and the Arab movements all over the world, and we appreciate the role of the ulema, the elite, the leaderships, and the civic, non-governmental, and human rights organisations.
‘7. We affirm the need to send international investigation commissions to investigate the war crimes that the enemy perpetrated in the Gaza Strip, and we demand that the leaders of the occupation be referred to the International Criminal Court.
‘8. I send my greetings to all the media and the space channels, which broadcast to the world the size of the crime on the one hand and the level of the Palestinian heroism and steadfastness on the other.
‘I salute the Arab doctors and others who arrived in Gaza. I greet the UNRWA and its officials and the International Committee of the Red Cross, and we reiterate our solidarity with UNRWA because of the savage attacks perpetrated against their schools and headquarters in the Gaza Strip.
‘O our people, O our brothers, O our Palestinian people. Again and in conclusion, we are at an historic moment, an historic and strategic victory.
‘Let us continue our march towards Jerusalem, towards Al-Aqsa Mosque, and towards liberating the land and the holy places.
‘Greetings to our great martyrs, greetings to the injured of our great people, greetings to our heroic detainees.
‘Greetings to all our people everywhere, to all the peoples of our Arab and Islamic nation, to the millions that took to the streets in various capitals, and to all the free peoples the world cover. May the peace, mercy, and blessings of God be upon you.’