Gaza – Ma’an – De facto Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh met on Thursday with a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews who arrived in Gaza with a US aid convoy.
Haniyeh told the members of the Neturei Karta sect that Jews are not the enemies of Arabs or Muslims. “Our problem is with the occupation, that stems from the Zionist ideology and its desire to disperse all the Palestinians,” he said.
The Hamas leader praised his four Jewish guests, saying, "Those religious figures that express their objection to the siege, the aggression and the crimes – we can't help but respect them and for their beliefs and their culture."
Haniyeh also said that the US-based Viva Palestina convoy “is proof that the American people is not entirely a people of occupation and is not entirely on the side of the criminal Zionist regime.”
"We view you as heroes; you are opening the eyes of the world to the siege in the Strip,” he added.
The ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionist Jews arrived with the “Lifeline 2” convoy of 200 people led by antiwar British MP Galloway. It was the UK lawmaker’s second journey to the war-torn Strip this year. In March he donated 25,000 British pounds and a fleet of ambulances to the Hamas-run Gaza government.
Members of the convoy, mainly Americans including New York City Councilman Charles Barron, flew into Cairo to travel with the convoy. The crew purchased medical aid and humanitarian goods for children in Alexandria and managed to transport the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of supplies in 50 vehicles that will also stay in the Strip following a ten-day delay.
According to Iran's semi-official news agency Press TV, the convoy members have permission to remain in Gaza for only 24 hours.
“The silence of the world is deafening as the people of Gaza suffer,” a statement from the convoy said following its entry into the area, “but the two hundred Americans and over one million dollars worth of aid that is going through confirms our commitment to a free Palestine.”