‘Gaza Siege Will be Lifted Soon,’ Declares Hamas Leader
JNS.org – 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.
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.