PEOPLE OF GAZA ‘ARE MAKERS OF HISTORY’ says Haniya

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‘The resistance of Gaza impressed the world’ – over 200,000 marched in London on August 9th in support of Palestine
‘The resistance of Gaza impressed the world’ – over 200,000 marched in London on August 9th in support of Palestine

ISMA’IL HANIYA, deputy head of the Hamas Political Bureau, in Gaza City began his speech in front of a large crowd of supporters citing several Koranic verses and then passionately addressed Palestinians everywhere and the people of Gaza.

In his speech on Wednesday, Haniya described ‘the people of pride and manliness’, saying the Palestinians could not observe Eid al-Fitr as the fighting was ongoing, but Palestinians today are celebrating the ‘Eid of victory’.

He heaped praise on the people of Gaza, saying that they are ‘makers of an epic’ and ‘writers of history’.

His speech was frequently interrupted by shouts from the crowd.

Haniya praised the ‘martyrs’ who fell in this battle, mentioning in particular Muhammad Abu-Shammalah, Ra’id al-Attar, and ‘the martyrs who are the symbols of victory in the Eaten Straw battle’.

He also praised the wounded and the prisoners. He saluted ‘all the brigades of the Palestinian resistance, led by Izz-al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades’.

He said: ‘Brothers and sisters: God Almighty has honoured us with this victory after a battle that lasted 51 days. It is a war that is unprecedented in the history of the conflict with the enemy. It is a war that witnessed valiant resistance, which impressed the world.

‘It also witnessed a great people who impressed the world with their steadfastness. There was cohesion between the people and the resistance. Thus, victory was created in this war. This victory, brothers and sisters, cannot be described by words, speeches, and articles.

‘This victory goes beyond the boundaries of time and place. However, we want to consider some of the significant aspects of this battle and this great victory.’

He added that the first point has to do with ‘the development of the resistance in Palestine, ‘this battle has revealed the curve of the development of the resistance in blessed Palestine. Over the course of eight years only, this resistance has developed.’

He noted that the victory achieved in the current battle was much greater than in previous battles, ‘the whole world has testified to this development in resistance on all levels – on land, at sea, and in the air. This is what the whole world has seen.’

He attributed the victory to the accumulation of hard work over long years, saying that this work was not only for the current battle in Gaza, but for ‘the battle of comprehensive liberation of Palestine, Jerusalem, and Al-Aqsa.’

Haniya said that the resistance developed in its ‘plans of offence, as well as plans of defence’. The second point is that Gaza, which has been besieged for eight years and which suffered three wars, has been ‘an incubator of the resistance’.

‘The evidence of this is what our Palestinian people and the world saw in terms of the performance of all the factions and brigades of the Palestinian resistance. Gaza was not an incubator of Al-Qassam alone; it was an incubator of the resistance and its factions and arms.’

Haniya said: ‘We in Gaza take pride that we embraced the resistance and its factions. Even during the years when we assumed government, this did not make us too busy to embrace the forces of the resistance.

‘We legitimised its weapon, provided it with logistical and strategic scope, provided it with security, and pursued the agents who carry a dagger to stab the resistance in the back. This is why Gaza should be proud of embracing the resistance,’ he said, saluting all the brigades and forces in Gaza.

He added that the third point is ‘the steadfastness of our people and the coalescence of the Palestinian people in Gaza, the West Bank.’

He added that the 1.8 million people in Gaza ‘were heroes’. He praised the people of Gaza, saying that ‘the mujahidin broke the hands of the army of the enemy’ at the borders of Gaza.

Haniya said Gaza in its entirety took to the streets in joy after the announcement of the cease-fire, contrary to Israeli expectations after 51 days of bombardment.

He added that the Palestinian ‘steadfastness’ will be rewarded by ‘victory’. He said the fourth point is that ‘this battle has rehabilitated the Palestine question and revived the sentiments of the sons of the Arab and Islamic nation.’

He concluded that ‘there is plenty to be said. Victory is not bound by words. We will proceed with you to victory in Jerusalem.’

In Ramallah, Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki called for the investigation of the possible involvement of foreign volunteers who serve in the Israeli occupation army and took part in the latest Israeli aggression on Gaza, in the perpetration of war crimes.

Thousands of soldiers with dual nationality are conscripted in the Israeli occupation army under the Machal and Sar-El programmes.

The Mahal programme enables young Jews aged 18 to 24 years from around the world who don’t have Israeli citizenship to volunteer for the Israeli occupation army. They serve in full combat and support roles for one-and-a-half years in order to get temporary residency status.

Al-Malki wrote to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and to the governments of other states, urging them to assume their responsibilities and reminding them of their obligations with regard to implementing the international humanitarian law, human rights law, four Geneva Conventions along with their protocols.

In his letter, Al-Malki pointed out that after cooperating with human rights organisations, it has become apparent that foreign nationals have served in the Israeli occupation army, participated in the recent military aggression and committed war crimes in the Gaza Strip.

He urged these states to prosecute their nationals conscripted in the Israeli army and hold them accountable. Sar-El is a programme jointly implemented by the Jewish Agency and the Israeli occupation army.

It enables Jewish volunteers from around the world to volunteer for the Israeli army for a period of one week to one month. Al-Malki demanded in his letter that foreign states identify their nationals serving in the Israeli occupation army, including those serving under Machal and Sar-El programmes and notify them of Israeli war crimes and violations of international law committed during the recent aggression on Gaza as well as of the criminal liability that they might bear for that.

Al-Malki urged these states to hold an investigation into crimes committed by their nationals and prosecute them within their jurisdiction. He urged them to investigate allegations that their nationals were involved in the commission and abetting of war crimes during the recent Israeli onslaught on Gaza Strip, and prosecuting these individuals where appropriate.

Al-Malki urged a prompt convening of the contracting parties to the four Geneva Conventions in order to oblige Israel to implement these conventions on the Occupied Palestinian Territories and to fully respect them.

He concluded that his ministry would seek to prosecute all those who participated in the last onslaught and committed war crimes against the Palestinian people and would press charges and indict Israel.

Also, PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi stressed that the status quo cannot be maintained during a meeting with an advanced delegation from the Elders at the PLO Headquarters in Ramallah.

In the meeting, Ashrawi stressed, the status quo cannot be maintained, and we will never accept for Gaza to be severed from the West Bank (including occupied East Jerusalem). ‘Now is the time to move forward with reconciliation, reconstruction and independence’.

Both parties discussed the work of The Elders and its future projects and initiatives, national unity, the need for reconstruction in Gaza, future Palestinian steps and measures to reach a binding solution, and the need for immediate international intervention to hold Israel accountable and to provide an international system of protection for the Palestinian people.

‘If members of the international community are unable to bring Israel to abide by signed agreements, international law and conventions, and the global rule of law, we will press ahead and hold Israel accountable for its war crimes and human rights atrocities, and resort to the international legal system.

‘The real solution lies in ending the occupation and recognising the independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital,’ concluded Ashrawi.