A senior official of the Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, says Palestinians will continue the Great March of Return rallies until the end of the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip.
Mahmoud al-Zahar, a co-founder of Hamas and a member of its leadership in the Gaza Strip, made the remarks in a Sunday interview with Iran’s Al-Alam News Network in Tehran.
He said the anti-occupation rallies, known as the “Great March of Return,” have produced important results, and will not be stopped before the Israeli regime’s siege on the enclave is lifted.
Tensions have been running high near the fence separating Gaza from the occupied territories since March 30, which marked the start of the protests.
Palestinian protesters demand the right to return for those driven out of their homeland.
The clashes in Gaza reached their peak on May 14, the eve of the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day, or the Day of Catastrophe, which coincided this year with Washington’s relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.
More than 220 Palestinians have so far been killed and over 20,000 others wounded in the renewed Gaza clashes, according to the latest figures released by the Gaza Health Ministry.
Gaza has been under Israeli siege since June 2007, causing a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented unemployment and poverty.
Friday to be decisive day for Israel
The military wings of Hamas warned in a joint statement on Sunday that the coming Friday will be “decisive” in determining their response to the killing of four people during recent border protests.
The groups declared they had prepared retaliation steps, and that their use will be dependent upon Israel’s policy.
It will be “a decisive day in examining the Zionist enemy’s behavior and intentions toward our people in the March of Return,” the Sunday statement said.
The deaths were “a total crime and clear recklessness by the Zionist enemy,” which has “crossed red lines,” they continued, as reported by Israeli media.
“Regarding these crimes, the resistance will not act lightly with the enemy and stand by idly,” the statement warned.
The statement came after several Palestinians, including a teenage, were shot dead by Israeli fire and nearly fifty others sustained injuries during the latest Great March of Return protests in Gaza.
Iran main backer of Palestinians
In his interview with Al-Alam, al-Zahar further described Iran as the main supporter of Palestinians, and said Hamas does not do anything without consulting with Iran over the issue.
Al-Zahar made the remarks during his visit to Tehran at the head of a delegation of the Hamas faction in the Palestinian Parliament.
He earlier held talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Secretary of Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani as well as Ali Akbar Velayati a senior advisor to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
In the meeting with al-Zahar, Zarif once again reiterated the Islamic Republic’s principled policy to support Palestine, urging all countries in the Muslim world to boost their unity to defend the Palestinian cause.
“We hope that some Muslim countries that have pinned their hopes on the support of the Zionists and the US will return to the Muslim world and realize that Zionists are not a trustworthy friend or partner for anybody,” Zarif said.
The Iranian foreign minister added that efforts to counter the Palestinian resistance are unfortunately being made from inside the Muslim world, saying that all countries and Islamic movements are also under such pressure.
For his part, Zahar hailed Iran’s real support for Palestine and expressed hope that the Palestinian people’s resistance and the Muslim world’s support would put an end to the Zionist project as soon as possible.
Back in May, Ayatollah Khamenei said resistance is the sole way to save the oppressed Palestinian nation.
Ayatollah Khamenei reaffirmed Iran’s unwavering support for Palestine and Palestinian fighters, noting that strengthening the resistance front in the Muslim world and intensifying the fight against the occupying regime of Israel and its supporters were the solution to the Palestinian issue.