Ziyad al-Nakhaleh made the remarks during a speech in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, addressing tens of thousands of Palestinians participating in a massive rally held in commemoration of the 32nd anniversary of the establishment of the movement.
The march, held in Gaza City, was attended by Islamic Jihad leaders, and hundreds of fighters from the al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad.
“Gaza, which has always been oppressed, is now a cornerstone and front to be reckoned with in the equations of war,” said Nakhaleh, adding that the blockaded enclave represents “the vigor of its men and its resistance, and the steadfastness of its people.”
He further hailed the Islamic Jihad’s capability to deter any threat posed by enemies, stressing that today Gaza “is besieging the occupation despite its poverty, it is imposing new facts, breaking old theories, and will remain steadfast.”
Nakhaleh also denounced the Oslo Accords, which were signed during the early-mid 1990s between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in an attempt to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to guarantee Palestinians’ right of self- determination, but all to no avail.
“The worst thing we face today is the belief held by some that we can talk with the enemy in peace and that peace is possible between Palestinians and the Israeli regime,” further said the head of the Islamic Jihad.
Nakhaleh also called for unity among all factions to defend the Palestinian cause and fight Zionist plots.
The Gaza Strip has been under Israeli siege since June 2007, which has caused a decline in living standards. Israel has also launched three major wars against the enclave since 2008, killing thousands of Gazans each time and shattering the impoverished territory’s already poor infrastructure.
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Palestinians have held weekly rallies along the Gaza fence to protest the siege on the enclave and demand the right for the refugees, who were forced to leave during the 1948 creation of Israel, to return to their homes.
Some 310 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces ever since the anti-occupation protest rallies began in Gaza on March 30, 2018. Over 16,000 Palestinians have also sustained injuries.