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Victory celebrations in the streets of Gaza after prayers
Published Friday 29/08/2014 (updated) 31/08/2014 10:42
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GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Palestinians across the Gaza Strip turned out in the thousands for prayers and a victory march on Friday, as many savored their first opportunity in 50 days to attend Friday prayers in Gaza mosques without fear of Israeli bombardment.

Although a local council estimates one-third of mosques were damaged in the Israeli assault -- including 72 totally destroyed -- Palestinians flocked to services as political leaders took to the podiums to stress the need for national unity after what they deemed an unprecedented victory against Israel.

Senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya said during a Friday prayer sermon in a mosque in the devastated eastern Gaza neighborhood of Shujaiyya that Palestinians have entered "a new age today and a new stage of national unity by choosing to win and support the resistance."

"The war on Gaza should eliminate all previous internal disagreements," he added, calling upon the national unity government to fulfill its responsibilities related to ensuring Israel open the borders and allow reconstruction.

"In this war, we captured back the rights that Israel stole while taking the (political) division as an excuse," he said, highlighting that since a April 24 Palestinian unity agreement the nation was better equipped to confront Israeli aggression.

On Tuesday, Palestinian forces signed a long-term ceasefire agreement with Israel in what many deemed a major victory for the resistance against Israel, after a seven-week bombardment that left more than 2,140 dead and more than 100,000 homeless.

Israel conceded to key Palestinian demands -- including "easing" the eight-year old siege, reducing the 500-meter buffer zone near the border, and extending the fishing zone off the coast -- while also giving up its primary demand, the demilitarization of Gaza.

Although other Palestinian demands remain unfulfilled and are still left to be discussed at a second round of talks in September, celebrations have broken out across Palestine in recent days.

On Friday, many joined a march organized by the militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad to celebrate what they called a "victory of the resistance."

Marches set off from mosques in Gaza City following Friday prayers and ended at a stage in al-Wihda Street, where members of the al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad's armed wing, paraded through the streets.

"Today, we are celebrating the third Israeli offensive on besieged civilians and the third achievement on the way to liberating Jerusalem," Muhammad al-Hindi, a Jihad official, said.

The senior official thanked all those that supported the Palestinians during the offensive, and called for a new national strategy involving the rebuilding of the PLO.

The Palestinian Authority must stop all security coordination with Israel, he said, adding that the Palestinians must go to the ICC to pursue Israeli war criminals.

The al-Quds Brigades also announced the appointment of a new military spokesperson, known as Abu Hamza.

Israel was 'defeated'

Deputy head of Hamas politburo Moussa Abu Marzouq said in a press conference in Rafah that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had "achieved none of his terms during the indirect negotiations in Cairo," particularly regarding the key Israeli demand for Palestinian disarmament.

“They were defeated in their ground operations," he added, stressing that in addition to the 64 soldiers killed and more than 1,000 soldiers wounded, "Ben Gurion Airport was hit for the first time."

"We won the ground operation and we won the aerial operation," he continued, adding that the ceasefire with Israel is not permanent.

"Gaza taught all of the world's nations how to resist and fight back, and what it is like to win."

At the same time, however, Abu Marzouq acknowledged that the ceasefire deal with Israel had not immediately accomplished all of Palestinian demands.

Despite a promise to ease the eight-year siege of Gaza, restrict the border buffer zone, and increase the fishing areas allotted to Palestinian fisherman, he acknowledged that the issues of re-opening the airport and seaport as well as ensuring freedom of movement between the Gaza Strip and West Bank "had to be delayed."

He said, however, that negotiations will continue in Cairo in a month and that negotiations would not have a limit.

1 ) JoeFattal / USA
29/08/2014 19:56
They must have faith in Netanyahu that he wont start anything. I don't. But again work got to on to return back to normal. What defeated Netanyahu are the casualties that the IDF inflicted on Gaza's civilian population and failing to take Hamas out of power in Gaza after 50 days of fighting. Even some of the Israelis said it was a failure from his side that Hamas is still in power. So in reality he didn't accomplish anything except killing too many civilians.

2 ) John / USA
29/08/2014 20:01
Some victory, huh. Gaza is in ruins and over 2,000 people dead. I would love to see what defeat looks like?

3 ) Outlier / USA
29/08/2014 21:00

4 ) Michael / Italy
29/08/2014 21:59
And Palestinians wonder why the world is not supporting them. Your government took you to war and your no better then you were before --- so much destruction and death was brought to your doorstep. And yet, your parading as if you just concurred Berlin. This act is one of the many reasons that the rest of us world citizens simply can't relate to your mind-set. Of course having Armed Hamas men FORCING you to march in the parade doesn't help either.

5 ) Torko / Jakarta
29/08/2014 22:05
"We won the ground operation and we won the aerial operation" ---- Hamas sets the bar SO LOW for success. If we are still breathing at the end of the war we consider we WON. How sad the citizens have to bare the burden of their fantasies.

6 ) Larry / USA
30/08/2014 01:17
Would someone explain to me what makes this a victory? Is the blockade still in effect? Did you get your port or airport? Do the Israelis still decide what comes into gaza? Did any of your rockets actually hit TelAviv or Ben Gurion airport? Did you destroy Israel's infrastructure at little cost to gaza? Did you kill lots of Israelis at little loss to you? I must be missing something.

7 ) ben Zalman / USA
30/08/2014 01:28
All of those "accomplishments" were already in place prior to the stupid adventure that Hamas took in playing war with the big boys. Hamas lost big and gained nothing but thousands of dead Arabs. Hamas killed more Fatah men during the war than it did Israelis. What a bunch of incompetent blood thirsty morons.

8 ) Rhondo Mondi / Canuck Land
30/08/2014 01:55
Did anyone notice that Mohammad Deif has not joined the celebrations. Hamas will have to admit the obvious that it has badly lost the war. 2145 dead Palestinians and 71 dead Israelis. 1000 terrorist fighters dead. hamas' military command has been devastated. If a tree fell in the forest on Hamas would anyone care?

9 ) ben Zalman / USA
30/08/2014 03:54
Hamas has the full support of the childless widows in Gaza. They're ready for another round. After all, the price is worth Jerusalem since its the 43rd holiest sight in all of Islam or something like that. Be careful though because I think that London is 54th holiest place in all of Islam so its not far behind.

10 ) suharto / indonesia
30/08/2014 09:41
Alhamdullih,Allah is Great.Allah always guide those who believe and has faith in Him.Keep on your feet against the anemy and Allah shall be with the believers.You are the real fighters and be firm and harsh towards the wicked anemy.

11 ) Paulo / Spain
30/08/2014 09:47
Military use of Mosques by Hamas is not an exception. Hamas and other terrorist organizations systematically use many mosques in the Gaza Strip for military and political purposes. Mosques in the Gaza Strip are used not only for worship but also for diverse military and political purposes, such as recruiting operatives for terrorist activity, storing weapons, meeting places for terrorist operatives, points of departure for terrorist attacks, training sites, places for firing rockets.

12 ) Crepe Suzette France / France
30/08/2014 09:48
Military use of mosques is rooted in the perception of senior Sunni and Shiite clerics, including Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Hamas’s main religious role model, that the use of mosques for military purposes as part of jihad (holy war) is legitimate. This perception is based on Islamic tradition (hadith) that states that the Prophet Muhammad himself used a mosque for military and political purposes, in addition to the classic function of the mosque as house of worship for the faithful.

13 ) Freddi Fartz / Germany
30/08/2014 10:11
Let the Arab dream, they have been dreaming since the 1517 (the Ottoman Conquest).

14 ) George / UK
30/08/2014 12:12
You people keep forgetting the intrinsic asymmetrical nature of this conflict. We're talking about Israel who has one of the most powerful armies and secret services in the world on one hand, and Palestinian resistance on the other. Yet, after 50 days the resistance is still there, and IDF has only managed to make themselves look like amateurs on the ground. The only Israeli success is that they bombed and killed civilians and children, and destroyed homes and infrastructure.

15 ) Nasr / Palestine
30/08/2014 17:47
Thank you for the inspiring pictures Maan & to our brave resistance brigades (& of course to those who helped negotiate the ceasefire, like Egypt...).

16 ) Paul / U.S.A.
30/08/2014 18:52
Do all of you believe that the lives of martyrs are worth nothing?Do you believe that the barbaric crimes suffered by the Palestinians daily constitute a "victory" for Israel. No ....I assure all of you that millions of people in the world who have a Heart have seen Israels entire moral facade DISINTEGRATE.They will pay in this world and the next. The"ethnic cleansing" of Palestine is drawing to an end.The great Heart of Palestine perseveres to expand.This determines victory to every soul .

17 ) Cornish Collin / England
30/08/2014 21:04
@6 Mel / USA will be able to explain to you ''what makes this a victory''.

18 ) Johnny benson / USA
30/08/2014 21:50
The Arabs did win in one way...they brought Jew hatred into the light of the main stream....all over..while Muslims are ruining their countries ..they march and attack Jews.....the world (with notable exceptions)is only happy when Jews do the dying..certainly not the killing

19 ) Jules / USA
31/08/2014 04:14
This is a fantastic victory. Now Hamas can acquire advanced missiles which will allow them to destroy the Israeli nuclear sites and airports. World opinion is against Israel and they will soon be forced back to the 1967 borders which is the first step towards the total dissolution of the Zionist entity.

20 ) Liam / USA
31/08/2014 07:23
Wait, celebrating death?? Noooooo! They couldn't be.

21 ) Paolo / USA
31/08/2014 08:58
i abhor all violence on BOTH sides & apartheid as i witnessed it on the West Bank by the Israelis. i didn't enjoy being spit at when in the company of Arab friends. but tell me....... when are BOTH sides going to stop campaigns of hatred & total annihilation? when will Palestinian mothers stop sending their children out as suicide bombers instead of to school? how can they condone Hamas spending millions to build tunnels ending at Israeli kindergartens, taking bread from family mouths? SICK!

22 ) Larry / Usa
31/08/2014 10:57
To cornish colin. Who is mel/usa? There's no poster by that name for this article. I'mstill waiting to be educated as to the particulars of this "victory".
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