Hamas will continue to “defend” Jerusalem, head of the Hamas Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh said Friday hours after the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas came into effect.
Haniyeh suggested that Hamas’s current objective is to continue fueling the ongoing violence between Palestinians and security forces in the West Bank and in Jerusalem.
Haniyeh promised to continue “fighting for Jerusalem” and specifically mentioned “liberating al-Aqsa Mosque” in Jerusalem’s Old City and the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where several Palestinian families currently face eviction.
“Jerusalem remains the center of the conflict,” he said, indicating that despite the ceasefire coming into effect, the reality is still highly volatile, suggesting that Hamas has no intention of stopping its effort to destabilize Israel, by arranging and funding riots across the country and at al-Aqsa Mosque specifically.
Essentially, Haniyeh confirmed the connection between the actions carried out by the terrorist organization in Gaza and the ongoing riots on the Temple Mount and throughout Jerusalem, claiming that the rockets launched from Gaza were meant “to defend Jerusalem.”
The first rockets launched from Gaza that led to the wide scale IDF operation targeted Jerusalem.
Addressing the two failed attempts by the IDF to assassinate Mohammed Deif, the supreme military commander of Hamas’s military wing, Haniyeh referred to him as “the hero of Jerusalem,” noting that “the millions who chanted his name during protests in Jerusalem don’t know him, have never met him, but chose to call his name – because God chose him.”
According to N12, other Hamas officials have indicated throughout Friday that Hamas is ready to resume its attacks if necessary and will examine the possibility in the next few days.
According to Haniyeh, the fact that many Israeli Arabs joined the nationwide riots while the Gaza operation
was ongoing proves that they support Hamas and its leadership as the main oppositional force to Israel.
In another attempt to draw as much support as possible, the Hamas leader promised to provide financial support to anyone in Gaza who was injured or lost their home during the operation.
Haniyeh concluded his speech by thanking “the Islamic Republic of Iran, who did not hold back with money, weapons and technical support” and by suggesting that others will soon join. “We will use the aid of other Arab countries as well.”
Later on Friday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Muslim states to support Palestinians militarily and financially and to help rebuild Gaza.
“Muslim states must sincerely support the Palestinian people, through military... or financial support... or in rebuilding Gaza’s infrastructure,” Khamenei said in a statement carried by media outlets, urging Muslims to demand that their governments back Palestinians.
Iran has called the latest conflict between Hamas and Israel a “historic victory,” warning Israel of future offensives that will only get worse. “The intifada [Palestinian uprising] has gone from using stones to powerful, precise missiles... and in the future the Zionists [Israel] can expect to endure deadly blows from within the occupied territories,” Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said in a statement.
Reuters contributed to this report.