Meshaal: israel’s siege on Gaza has ‘practically ended’


The head of Hamas’ political bureau Khaled Mashaal said the Israeli blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip has “practically ended” after the last battle with Israel, stressing that the Palestinian resistance’s weapons are “sacred” and not included in the negotiations.

Speaking during a press conference held in the Qatari capital Doha yesterday, Meshaal said: “The Palestinian resistance as well as its weapons are sacred and protect the Palestinian people. The last battle with Israel reinstalled the Palestinians’ trust in armed resistance and put the Palestinian cause again on the Arab and Islamic agenda.”

Meshaal added that the Israeli siege imposed on the Gaza Strip must be lifted to avoid further escalations, calling on Egypt to open the Rafah crossing.

The Palestinian national reconciliation was strengthened during the Israeli aggression, he explained, in spite of one of Israel’s goals being to destroy Palestinian unity.

He called to strengthen internal Palestinian partnerships according to the National Accord document signed by the Palestinian factions in 2006 in Cairo, stressing that Hamas is committed to the agreements it signed in Cairo and Doha.

Meshaal said the Palestinian Authority and the unity government need to speed up the relief programme for Gaza and the reconstruction of the enclave and sheltering the displaced.

According to the senior Hamas official, the Palestinian resistance has achieved an important part of its demands during the ceasefire negotiations in Cairo, pointing out that the Palestinian factions will not give up their demands concerning the construction of the sea port and airport in Gaza.

“Those who support the Palestinian resistance behind the scenes are far more than those who support it publically. I know many Arab nations which followed with great interest the developments during the recent war and were happy to see its achievement as well as others who hoped for other results,” he said.

Meshaal thanked Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who, “despite being busy running his presidential campaign, found the time to follow up on Gaza”. He also thanked Qatar and the leaders of Tunisia, Sudan, Malaysia and Latin American countries that boycotted Israel in solidarity with Gaza.

According to Meshaal, Israel has lost the image of “the victim and the only democratic country in the region” during its war on Gaza. “In Gaza, Israel committed a holocaust larger than the German holocaust against the Jews.”

The Palestinian resistance has had many gains and achieved a balance of power with Israel surprising the Israeli army’s leaders and generals, he explained.

“The Palestinian resistance worked around the clock to prepare for the battle and planned carefully for its operations knowing its goals exactly, while the Israeli army seemed confused all the while.” He added: “The Palestinian resistance in Gaza destroyed the image that Israel has an invincible army.”

On Tuesday, the Palestinian and Israeli sides reached an agreement of a long-term ceasefire under Egyptian auspices, which the Palestinian resistance factions viewed as victory against Israel.

According to a Egyptian Foreign Ministry statement, the ceasefire agreement includes a comprehensive ceasefire from both sides and to open the border crossings between the Gaza Strip and Israel in order to allow the entry of humanitarian aid and relief and reconstruction material to Gaza. It also includes expanding the fishing area to six miles.

The parties are scheduled to continue their indirect negotiations on other topics including prisoners, as well as constructing a port and airport, within one month from the start of the ceasefire.

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