IN A speech in Gaza to mark on the second anniversary of the prisoner swap deal between Hamas and Israel, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya, declared: ‘This deal cancelled the red lines of the Zionist entity; it was described by Zionist officials as the most painful blow to the entity.’
Addressing today’s Palestinian prisoners, he said: ‘Oh heroic prisoners, Oh glorious female prisoners: We will not accept the continuation of your suffering.
‘There shall be no going back on the decision to secure your release. You will reap the fruit of your legendary steadfastness, God willing.’
Haniya went on to express ‘our confidence in the support of the free people of the world who reject the occupation and injustice inflicted by the Zionists on our people.
‘The shores of Gaza bore witness to the true solidarity of those free people in their effective participation in the ships that broke the blockade.
‘Here, we remember the US activist Rachel Corrie. We salute Rachel Corrie. (applause) She died on the soil of Gaza under one of the Zionist bulldozers.
‘We salute all the committees, personalities, civil society organizations, and human rights organisations that worked for breaking the blockade on Gaza and resisting the wall and settlement activity.
‘We also recall many free people of the world, who sided by our just cause and against the Zionist war on our land.
‘This reflects the awareness of peoples of the justice of our cause and the extent of injustice and racism that the Zionist entity represents against our people.’
Haniya went on to comment on calls for new Al-Aqsa Intifada.
He said: ‘We are following, with great interest and with feelings of concern, pain, and anger what is happening in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa and what is taking place around them in terms of plotting, Judaization, conspiracies, appeasement, bargaining, and concessions.
‘Al-Aqsa is facing a systematic plan, which aims at controlling it and changing its features. Jerusalem is suffering today from Judaization, eviction, expulsion, deportation of deputies and ministers, changing the demographic structure, house demolition, prevention of construction, desecration and targeting of Islamic and Christian holy sites, and the usurpation of thousands of donums in favour of the Zionist project or what is called Greater Jerusalem, which will end in 2020, according to their plan. . . .
‘This fierce attack coincides with the practices of the enemy in the valiant West Bank.
‘These are not less dangerous and hostile and they are manifested in speeding up settlement activity, land theft, building the wall, Judaization, dismemberment of the West Bank, settler attacks, killing, suppression, roadblocks, and ongoing arrests.
‘We are aware that the enemy is speeding up its steps against Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa, and Palestinian land, taking advantage of the negotiations, which are not about to end, and benefiting from the security coordination and our painful reality, manifested in Palestinian division and the ummah being busy with its local concerns and wounds, as well as the state of sharp polarization and absenting of resistance and the security pursuit of it and chasing it through the so-called security coordination.
‘The enemy is using the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations as a cover for these practices and attacks and to beautify its image in front of the world. . . .
‘If the occupation succeeds temporarily in distorting features, confiscating rights, falsifying facts, and Judaizing Islamic and Christian holy sites, it will not succeed in removing these from our hearts and minds.
‘It will also not succeed in removing its prestige and sacredness. Jerusalem will not fall as long as there is a heart that is beating in us and there are proud protectors stationed at Al-Aqsa. (applause). . .
‘O sons of our stationed people, we call on our Palestinian people to travel to Al-Aqsa Mosque and to station themselves there. This is a practice established by people before us, and the masses of our Palestinian people are still carrying out this practice in Jerusalem and its environs as an act of worship, protection, and confrontation of the crimes of the occupation.
‘We salute those who are stationed at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and its protectors, led by Shaykh Ra’id Salah. (applause)
‘We call for renewing the intifada of the masses in the West Bank and the launch of effective resistance in it.
‘Here, we have to express full pride in the Palestinian resistance in the West Bank, with all its manifestations – popular and armed. We reject all forms of pursuing it within the context of the so-called security cooperation. Praise be to God, our people in the West Bank are successively defeating suspicious projects.
‘Resistance in the beloved West Bank has proven once again that it can absorb blows, overcome difficulties, and emerge from under the rubble to run the battle with the occupier by sniping and surprise, dealing quality strikes that leave the occupation leaders stunned and confused.
‘From the land of proud Gaza, we send greetings to the heroes of the West Bank, the heroes and martyrs of the recent operation in the lofty West Bank. (applause)
‘From here, we call on the sons of our people and valiant resistance to rise every moment in light of the dangers around our blessed Al-Aqsa and precious Jerusalem. From Palestine and from Bayt al-Maqdis (Jerusalem) and its vicinity, we will prove that there will be no security and stability as long as Al-Aqsa is in danger.
‘Here, we should not forget to express our pride in the youth initiatives to champion Al-Aqsa and Palestine in Gaza and the West Bank, which reflect the status of Palestinian youth in the battle of liberation and construction.
‘Those young people, who love their homeland, are the partners of the present and the leaders of the future who decided to go beyond the state of division to the skies of the vast homeland and redirect the compass correctly towards Jerusalem and Palestine.
‘They have taken advantage of every gap to weaken the occupation, including the arena of electronic warfare, in which they achieved a magnificent success that deserves praise. We salute the youth of Palestine. (applause)
‘We also call on the peoples of our Arab and Islamic ummah to start preparing for the great intifada of Al-Aqsa from Tangiers to Jakarta and to determine joint activities on the level of the whole ummah to champion Jerusalem and Palestine.
‘I say that the enemy should stop harming Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa, and the Islamic and Christian holy sites because the fires that will break out and the anger of the people and leadership are stronger than what it can bear.’ (applause)
On the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, Haniya warned: ‘The current negotiations are taking place based on a unilateral political decision. The majority of the sons of our people and its forces and factions stand against the negotiations.
‘Besides, they constitute a departure from national consensus. These negotiations have been held under US pressure, blackmail, and coercion and in light of a balance of powers that tilts in favour of the enemy and in the full absence of the elements of power and bargaining chips that force the enemy to acknowledge our rights.
‘Thus, these are futile negotiations. In fact, they pose a real threat to our cause and the rights of our people, especially Jerusalem, land, and return.
‘Brothers and sisters, it has become clear that the enemy is taking advantage of these negotiations to enhance its public relations with the international community to polish its image and deplete the positions of the Palestinian negotiator and his political ceilings.
‘It is also using these negotiations as a cover for its aggressive practices and measures, especially Judaization, settlement activity, and desecration of Al-Aqsa and seeking to divide it.’
The Gaza prime minister appealed ‘in the name of the constants of our people, strengthened by the blood of thousands of martyrs, injured, and prisoners; in the name of thousands of martyrs who fell for the sake of Palestine and Jerusalem, in the name of the martyred leader Abu-Ammar (Yasir Arafat) (applause),. . . we call for preserving Jerusalem and not relinquishing rights, chief of which is the right of return.
‘This requires halting the negotiations and bypassing the Oslo approach and looking, along with the political forces, for a new national strategy based on the integration of political visions and means.
‘This vision should be more effective in facing the occupation and achieving national ambitions. We also call on the Palestinian forces, factions, and figures to declare national mobilization in the face of the dangers of the negotiations with the enemy and any possible settlements with it and to build a Palestinian national strategy to include all the available options and possible methods, including armed resistance, popular resistance, and political, diplomatic, media, mass, and legal confrontation, as well as academic and diplomatic boycott, and through the various regional and international arenas and platforms.
‘We also call on the Arab countries, despite their being busy with their internal files, to protect the fixed positions of our ummah on Jerusalem and Palestine and to intensify work to confront the policies of the Zionists.
‘Here, we would like to reiterate that we will not accept anything short of the return of Jerusalem in full and the establishment of the Palestinian state on all the Palestinian soil on the basis of a fully sovereign state with the return of the refugees and their right. (applause).
‘We reject all projects of resettlement and the substitute homeland. . . .
‘Let the world bear witness, we tell all our Arab brothers, including our brothers in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and all our Arab countries, and let the whole world bear witness, that Palestine has been, and will remain, Palestine. There is no land that can be a replacement for Palestine.’ (applause)