Haniyeh calls for 'big Al Aqsa intifada,' demands Israel release prisoners

Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza marks two-year anniversary of Schalit swap with speech urging Abbas to halt peace talks.

October 19, 2013 12:33
2 minute read.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh gestures during an interview with Reuters in Gaza City May 10, 2012.

Ismail Haniyeh on a chair, looking expressive 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has called on Arabs and Muslims to prepare for the "big Al Aqsa intifada" against Israel and hailing the recent terror attacks in the West Bank.

In a speech marking the two-year anniversary of the Gilad Schalit prisoner exchange, he also called for an end to peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel in the Gaza Strip on Saturday.

Haniyeh accused Israel of taking advantage of the peace talks, security coordination with the PA, divisions among the Palestinians and the turmoil in a number of Arab countries to "Judaize" Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque.

"The Aqsa Mosque is part of the Muslims' faith and it will always be purely Islamic," Haniyeh said, referring to visits by Jewish groups to the Temple Mount. He warned Israel that it would not be able to bear the "fire and rage" that could erupt as a result of its "crimes" against Jerusalem and the mosque.

Haniyeh added that Israel was using the peace talks to "improve its image" in the international arena, and urged the PA leadership to search for a new national strategy to achieve Palestinian aspirations.

He blamed the US and Israel for the recent failure of reconciliation agreements with Fatah. He reiterated Hamas's keenness to end its dispute with Fatah and achieve Palestinian unity.

Haniyeh criticized the Ramallah-based PA for maintaining security cooperation with Israel, the result of which is "harming the cause of resistance."

He also slammed the Egyptian media for inciting against Hamas. "We direct our weapons only against the Zionist enemy," Haniyeh said. "We want to see unity, stability and security in Egypt."

Haniyeh stressed that his government would not accept anything less than the "restoration of all Jerusalem and the establishment of a Palestinian state on the entire Palestinian soil, with the return of the refugees to their homeland."

Marking the two-year anniversary of the Gilad Schalit prisoner exchange, he said that the swap, which saw Israel free over 1,000 Palestinians in exchange for the IDF soldier who was taken captive, was "a historic victory, since it canceled all of the Zionist entity's red lines."

A senior Hamas official said Friday that the abduction of Schalit was not the first, and he will not be the last Israeli soldier to be abducted so long as there are Palestinian in the "enemy's" jails.

Haniyeh told the assembled crowd that "the prisoner file remains open and will not close until all of the prisoners are released."

"Thousands of fighters above ground and underground are ready for the big campaign in which all of Palestine will be liberated," Haniyeh said.

Fatah responded to Haniyeh's speech by accusing him of "carrying out American instructions to disrupt national reconciliation."

Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf said that Haniyeh's speech did not carry anything new and was disappointing to most Palestinians.

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