Ismail Haniyeh makes first appearance since start of Gaza operation

Head of Hamas's political wing speaks in front of thousands as Gaza celebrates what it says is a victory over Israel.

Hamas Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh in rally, August 27 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Hamas Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh in rally, August 27
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian leaders who met in Ramallah on Tuesday night called for the implantation of a “national plan to end Israeli occupation,” with the help of the international community and the UN Security Council.
Meanwhile in Gaza City, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who on Wednesday made his first public appearance since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, declared victory over Israel.
The meeting in Ramallah was chaired by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who briefed the leaders on his intention to present a new political initiative for solving the Israeli-Arab conflict.
Abbas said last weekend that he would first present the initiative to US Secretary of State John Kerry before going to the Security Council.
Sources close to Abbas warned that if the US vetoes his initiative at the Security Council, he would consider dissolving the PA.
In an interview with an Egyptian TV station, Abbas said he did not expect the Americans to like his “unconventional solution,” which envisages the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital on the pre-1967 lines. He said that he wanted the Security Council to issue a resolution setting a timeline for Israel’s withdrawal from all the territories captured in the Six Day War.
At the meeting in Ramallah, which was attended by leaders and representatives of various Palestinian factions, Abbas said he saw no point in pursuing “nebulous negotiations” with Israel.
“The vision must be clear, known and defined from the beginning to the end,” he said.
Following the meeting, the Palestinian leaders issued a call for the implementation of a “national plan” that would achieve Palestinian goals with the help of the international community and the Security Council.
The statement called on Palestinians to display more unity and solidarity and to continue the “popular struggle against settlements.”
The Palestinian leadership would continue working to secure the release of all prisoners held in Israeli jails, including those who were detained during Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip, it said.
In Gaza City, meanwhile, Haniyeh told a pro-Hamas rally outside the offices of the Palestinian Legislative Council that the war showed that the “resistance has become much more developed than the past.”
This time the movement was prepared for the battle with Israel, he said.
“We managed to crush the myth of the enemy army that can’t be defeated,” Haniyeh said. “The Palestinian people did not celebrate Id al-Fitr [on July 28], but today they are celebrating the holiday of victory.”
Abu Obaida, spokesman for Hamas’s armed wing, Izzadin Kassam, held a press conference together with representatives of other Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip where he too declared victory.
The “resistance won because it was able to strike at the heart” of Israel, he said. “We told the enemy: You are not safe on any piece of our land.”
Hamas and the other armed groups managed to drive tens of thousands of Israelis out of their homes during the war, Abu Obaida boasted.
“Gaza has exposed the Zionist entity and its security and military leadership,” he continued.
“We have exposed them as murderers who target innocent civilians after failing to face our fighters.”