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Meshaal: Israeli assault strengthened Palestinian national unity
Published Thursday 28/08/2014 (updated) 29/08/2014 18:50
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GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal on Thursday said that the Israeli assault on Gaza had failed to undermine Palestinian national unity and that the bloody offensive of the past seven weeks had "proven that the resistance cannot be blockaded."

"Israel wanted to attack national unity and is currently looking for an imaginary victory," he said, in a press conference in which he congratulated the Palestinian people on their "victory" in confronting Israel in a more than 50-day assault that ended earlier this week.

Meshaal said that "without the popular support in Gaza, the resistance would not have won. One of the targets of the assault was to strike the national Palestinian reconciliation, because Palestinian reconciliation was firm throughout the assault in (the battle) and negotiations."

"When Israel failed in its siege of Gaza they chose to destroy it, but it is the duty of the unity government and the world to rebuild it," he added, referring to an April agreement between all major Palestinian factions that established a united government for the first time in seven years, which Israel strongly condemned at the time.

Meshaal also demanded that Egypt open the Rafah crossing, and called upon Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian lands and allow the Palestinian people to determine their path.

"We have no problem with Jews or their religion. Our problem is with occupation and settlement activities."

The Hamas leader insisted the weapons of the resistance groups were "sacred" and that Palestinians would not accede to any demand to disarm.

"The leaders of occupation are looking through the telescope for a delusional victory to talk about," he added.

Meshaal also thanked Turkey, Malaysia, South Africa, and the nations of Latin America that had been steadfast in their support for Palestine and the Palestinian resistance.

"The people of Gaza have become a symbol of steadfastness and an honorable example to all the world. All Palestinians in Gaza and free people in the world are partners in this victory."

The speech comes amid widespread celebrations in Palestine over what many leaders are calling a major victory against Israel, after Israeli leaders agreed in a ceasefire to "ease" the eight-year long siege on the Gaza Strip, curtail a border buffer zone from more than 500 meters to 100, and expand the offshore fishing zone allotted Gazans from three nautical miles to 12.

Other Palestinian demands are to be discussed in a new round of talks in September, including the potential re-opening of an airport and seaport as well as the release of prisoners Israel arrested over the last summer in violation of the 2011 Gilad Shalit release deal.

Israel had long said that the disarmament of Gaza military groups way a key requirement for any ceasefire, but appeared to have backed down at the last minute earlier this week, in a move Palestinian leaders hailed.

'Tough' negotiations ahead

A member of the Palestinian negotiations delegation, meanwhile, warned on Thursday that the talks coming up in September to discuss further terms of the long-term ceasefire with Israel will be "tough."

Secretary-General of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and member of the Palestinian parliament Qais Abd al-Karim said in a statement that although all Palestinian political factions had agreed upon the ceasefire agreement, what ahd been accomplished so far was only "half of a success."

Abd al-Karim said that the "negotiations battle" would begin next month to achieve all Palestinian demands and rights, including the complete end of the Israeli siege on Gaza.

In relation to the rebuilding of Gaza, Abd al-Karim said that an agreement had been reached with humanitarian institutions to begin rebuilding and that it is "supposed to begin immediately to allow tens of thousands of those whose homes have been destroyed" to launch rebuilding.

The reconstruction of the devastated Gaza Strip was a key demand for Palestinians, as Israel previously limited the entry of even the most basic of building supplies by claiming they could used for military purposes as well.

The Israeli assault on Gaza over the last seven weeks left more than 100,000 homeless, in addition to the more than 2,140 killed and more than 11,200 injured.

The offensive also caused extensive damage to Gazan infrastructure, knocking out the Strip's sole power plant and targeting the tiny coastal enclave's limited water supplies.
1 ) Michael / Italy
28/08/2014 20:25
How odd that Gaza citizens allow Hamas to place the bar SO LOW, that simply being able to 'BREATHE' after a war is considered VICTORY in Hamas' eyes. And Here I thought a high percentage of the tunnels reaching into Israel were destroyed along with 3 top commanders.

2 ) Levi / USA
28/08/2014 20:28
Really?! And that is seen where and in what exactly?

3 ) Troy / Paris
28/08/2014 20:29
Why is it the WORLDS responsibility to rebuild Gaza. Talk about shifting responsibility --- its Gaza's government's responsibility which is HAMAS. Your leader is not being honest with you. No money is coming from the WORLD for a war your own government caused.

4 ) Nancy Nipple / Germany
28/08/2014 20:46
''Meshaal also thanked Turkey, Malaysia, South Africa, and the nations of Latin America ''. And not the remaining fifty three predominately Islamic countries in the world, who glaringly did not give their support.

5 ) David / USA
28/08/2014 21:12
'Determine their own path.' What a joke! For 70 years the Arabs haven't been able to build anything of value, invent anything useful (except roadside bombs and exploding vests), or change the world is any positive way. And fat-cat 'leaders' that line their greasy pockets with donor funds don't help! The Arabs are their own worst enemy. Parts of Gaza are in ruin, 2000 people dead, thousands injured, while most of Israel is enjoying the beach! Arabs should COPY Jews, not KILL them.

6 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
28/08/2014 22:28
The people of Gaza have become a symbol of how suckers for punishment are stomped on by the Muslim Brotherhood in their quest for a puritan Islamic society. Mashaal is willing to sit in his 5-star hotel and order the flattening of Gaza to pursue his stupid folly - and yes, pretending that you can beat Israeli militarily is indeed a stupid folly. None of the Hamas demands have been met, and odds are none of them will be because every demand means no more weapons for Hamas. And Hamas wants war.

7 ) Chimo / USA
28/08/2014 22:50
With leaders like Meshaal running Gaza, it's no wonder that the rest of the Arab nations didn't raise or bat an eyebrow as Israel kicked Hamas's butts for 50 days. Some Victory!!!!!! Your fictitious country of Palestine will never come into being. Hamas has made sure of that! No Israeli leader will ever let the West Bank become another Gaza, which is what would happen if Israel ever left Judea and Samaria (the real name of "The West Bank")

8 ) paiman / Iran
28/08/2014 22:55
'Meshaal also thanked Turkey, Malaysia, South Africa, and the nations of Latin America' Pity he doesn't understand the role of Iran. It's Disappointing. So disappointing.

9 ) Ben Alofs / UK/Netherlands
29/08/2014 20:45
I agree with Khaled Meshal that Palestinian national unity has been strengthened, despite all Israel's attempts to separate Gaza from the Westbank and play the divide and rule game setting up Hamas against the PA etc. Together the Palestinians are so much stronger, for instance in the boycott of Israeli goods. An internal boycott (in the Occupied Territories) and an external one in the world at large is a potent weapon. In the wake of the Gaza slaughter support for BDS has risen.

10 ) Outlier / USA
30/08/2014 23:58
Apparently delusion is a common Palestinian problem.

11 ) Abdullah / KSA
31/08/2014 01:32
Palestinian unity has definitely been strengthened. The only way forward now is total unity & solidarity with Palestine through BDS. Abbas will now have his resolve tested again, as Bibi (as reported in YNet News) has turned full circle & again said Abbas needs to drop Hamas or there will be no negotiations. Abbas should do what he said he will do, go to the UN & then ICC, otherwise if he gets side tracked again, it will be another twenty years of useless promises. STAY UNIFIED for Palestine!!

12 ) inbound39 / New Zealand
31/08/2014 14:35
What a joke! For 70 years the Arabs haven't been able to build anything of value........Doha,Dubai.....show me an Israeli equivalent in innovative and appealing architecture. Show me a building and tourism boom in those areas that Israel can match. I think Israeli's are totally deluded as to their precarious position. They are pushing the World away. Soon no-one will deal with Israel and it will get its wish to live behind its fortified fence alone.
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