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August 22, 2018 11:47 am

‘Gaza Siege Will be Lifted Soon,’ Declares Hamas Leader

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Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh smiles after delivering a speech in Gaza City April 30, 2018. Photo: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem. – In a fiery speech that contradicted reports of ‎efforts to broker an Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire ‎in the Gaza Strip, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh ‎declared that the “Palestinian resistance will ‎continue in its efforts to crush the siege on Gaza.”

In an address delivered in Gaza City on the onset of ‎the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha (Festival of ‎Sacrifice), Haniyeh said “the criminal siege of the ‎Zionist occupation of Gaza will end very soon, but ‎Hamas will not make any political concessions to ‎have it removed. The resistance will break the siege ‎on Gaza. We will crush it and continue to fight ‎without relinquishing the principles and weapons of ‎the resistance.”‎

Israel imposed a maritime blockade on the Gaza Strip ‎‎after the Islamist terrorist group ‎seized ‎control of ‎the enclave in a military coup in 2007. ‎

‎Israel maintains the measure is ‎necessary to prevent ‎‎Hamas from smuggling weapons and terrorists into ‎‎Gaza.‎ ‎

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Haniyeh further demanded that the Ramallah-based ‎regime of Palestinian Authority leader ‎Mahmoud Abbas “immediately cease its security ‎collaboration with the Israeli occupation.”

The terrorist group’s leader also noted that the ‎regional peace plan the Trump administration is ‎promoting was doomed to fail, saying that “Trump’s ‎‎‘deal of the century’ and the ‘Gaza first plan’ are ‎clinically dead. We said from the start we will not ‎accept either one.”‎

Meanwhile, Palestinian media quoted a senior ‎Hamas official as saying the Egyptian-brokered ‎ceasefire deal with Israel depends on the ‎implementation of an internal Palestinian ‎reconciliation.‎

Hamas’s ouster of Abbas’s Fatah-led government in 2007 ‎effectively split the Palestinian Authority into two ‎entities. All efforts made over the past decade to ‎promote a Hamas-Fatah reconciliation—the latest ‎brokered by Egypt in late 2017—have failed. ‎

Hamas officials also said that ‎Egyptian mediators have delivered messages from ‎Israel, whereby any ceasefire deal must ‎include returning Israeli captives Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, as well as the bodies of IDF soldiers Hadar ‎Goldin and Oron Shaul, who were killed during the 2014 Gaza ‎war.

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