HAMAS LEADER, Ismail Haniyeh warned the Palestinian resistance has many ‘powerful cards’ it can use in the fight to put an end to the Israeli occupation.
Ismail Haniyeh made the remarks on Wednesday in Lebanon, where he arrived four days ago at the head of a delegation hailing from the Gaza Strip-headquartered resistance movement.
The Hamas’ official has taken the trip to hold meetings with senior Lebanese officials and others.
He addressed the issue of the resistance groups’ Operation Sword of al-Quds.
The groups launched the defensive campaign on May 11, days after the Israeli regime turned a deaf ear to their earlier ultimatum and kept assaulting their compatriots and their sanctities in the occupied Palestinian territory of the West Bank.
Upwards of 4,000 rockets were fired towards the occupied territories during the operation, killing 11 Israelis and causing millions of dollars in damage to the occupying regime’s various structures and facilities.
The rockets flew throughout the entire expanse of the territories, reaching as far as Tel Aviv, the holy occupied city of al-Quds, and even northern-lying cities such as Haifa and Nazareth, forcing the regime to desperately demand a ceasefire.
The Palestinian factions had so far fended off several wholesale Israeli wars, but the recent victory marked the most decisive one to ever be scored by them given its grand scale and manner of achievement.
Haniyeh said the operation united the entire Palestinian nation whether inside or outside the Palestinian territories around the option of resistance.
To Israel’s outrage, he added, Gaza would eventually recover from the damage that the Israeli military has afflicted on it during the war.
The official, meanwhile, underlined, ‘The right of seven million Palestinian refugees to return to their original cities and villages in Palestine is a legitimate right’ that is not subject to any haggling process.
‘We do not back down from this right whatever be the price,’ Haniyeh said.
Separately, the official met with Ziad al-Nakhalah, secretary-general of Hamas’ fellow Gaza-based resistance group of the Islamic Jihad, in the Lebanese capital Beirut.
The two discussed the available mechanisms that could be used towards drawing further benefit from the resistance’s successful recent battle against the Israeli regime.
They also laid emphasis on the need for preservation of unity within the Palestinian nation concerning the issue of al-Quds.
The city hosts al-Aqsa Mosque’s compound – Islam’s third holiest site.
Israel occupied the western part of the city in 1948. It occupied the eastern part while overrunning the West Bank in 1967.
Palestinians want the eastern section to serve as the capital of their future state, but Tel Aviv lays bogus claims on the entire city as its so-called ‘capital.’
Ever since their occupation, the regime has been building hundreds of illegal settlements across al-Quds and the rest of the West Bank.
It also regularly assaults the Palestinian worshippers on the al-Aqsa Mosque’s compound and provides heavy protection for provocative measures by illegal settlers on the holy site.
Haniyeh and Nakhalah said the Palestinians had to confront the challenges that they faced on the basis of fixed positions.
On Tuesday, Haniyeh met with the Lebanese resistance movement of Hezbollah’s Secretary-General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.
The two exchanged views on the latest Palestinian military gains against the Israeli regime and ways to achieve ‘ultimate victory’ against the occupier.
So far, Haniyeh has also met with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, and caretaker prime minister Hassan Diab.
Haniyeh arrived in Lebanon after travelling to Egypt, Morocco, and Mauritania. Some reports say he is going to travel to Iran and Turkey after concluding his current trip.
Meanwhile, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad has told the United Nations that the Damascus government reserves the right to wrest back control of the Israeli-occupied side of the Golan Heights, and that the deployment of the world body’s peacekeeping forces in the territory cannot replace an optimal solution to the problem.
During a meeting with visiting UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix and Assistant Secretary-General for the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific Mohamed Khaled Khiari in Damascus on Tuesday, Mekdad stressed ‘the need for the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) to stand committed to its mandate as stipulated in UN Security Council Resolution 242.’
UNDOF is a United Nations peacekeeping mission tasked with maintaining the ceasefire between Israel and Syria in the aftermath of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War.
‘The presence of peacekeeping forces can’t by any means substitute a final solution to the problem of (Israeli) occupation. Syria has an inalienable right to return the occupied Syrian Golan Heights to the motherland,’ the Syrian foreign minister said.
He said, ‘The Syrian government’s principled position is to provide support for the work of the UNDOF in order to fully implement its mandate, and specifically monitor Israeli violations of Separation of Forces Agreement – an agreement between Israel and Syria which seeks to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 338 (1973) – and Israel’s repeated attacks on Syrian sovereignty.’
Mekdad categorically rejected remarks by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken about the Golan Heights, stating they ignore the UN resolutions which recognise the region as an occupied Syrian territory.
Blinken told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on June 7 that the United States accepts that Israel controls the Golan regardless of legality.
‘As a practical matter, Israel has control of the Golan Heights, irrespective of its legal status, and that will have to remain unless and until things get to a point where Syria and everything operating out from Syria no longer poses a threat to Israel, and we are not anywhere near that,’ he said.
Lacroix, for his part, hailed the Syrian government’s assistance to and support for peacekeeping forces.
Khiari noted that UN peacekeeping forces have established an environment of stability and tranquillity in the Golan Heights in order to find a just solution to the conflict.
Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria in the closing stages of its 1967 Six-Day War with Arab countries, which also saw the regime occupy the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem al-Quds and the Gaza Strip.
Tel Aviv unilaterally annexed the Golan Heights in 1981 in a move not recognised internationally.
Syria has repeatedly reaffirmed its sovereignty over the Golan Heights, saying the territory must be completely restored to its control.
In March 2019, former president US Donald Trump signed a decree recognising Israeli ‘sovereignty’ over the occupied Golan during a meeting with the then Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Washington.
- The United States has dispatched two convoys of trucks carrying arms and logistics supplies to Syria’s oil-rich province of Hasakah, following its deadly airstrikes on Iraqi resistance groups on the Iraq-Syria border, which triggered warnings of revenge.
Syria’s official news agency SANA, citing local sources, reported that a US military convoy of 40 vehicles, including refrigerator trucks and tankers, entered the Jazira region of Hasakah through the al-Walid border crossing earlier in the day
The sources said the convoy, which had come from Iraq, headed toward military bases run by US forces in Rmelan town.
Another US military convoy of 20 vehicles, loaded with logistic reinforcement, arrived in Rmelan hours later.
US warplanes attacked three targets belonging to Iraqi resistance groups along the border between Iraq and Syria in the early hours of Monday.
Sabereen News, a Telegram news channel associated with the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU), better known as Hashd al-Sha’abi, reported that four Iraqi fighters had been killed in the attack on the headquarters of PMU’s 14th Brigade.
Iraqi resistance factions, in a statement issued on Monday, pledged to ‘avenge the blood of our righteous martyrs and wreak vengeance on the perpetrators of this heinous crime’.
They also warned the US against repeating its aggression.
Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada Battalions, which operate under the command of Hashd al-Sha’abi, warned of severe retaliation.
‘From now on, we will enter an open war with the American occupation. The first of which is targeting its hostile aircraft in the sky over our beloved Iraq,’ the group said.
The group stressed that the US bases in Iraq are ‘within the range of our missiles and we would avenge the blood of our martyrs’.