Palestinians celebrate victory after cease-fire
In a new letter to Leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, the head of the Political Bureau of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas called for urgent action to end Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian nation and Palestine’s sacred sites, especially Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“We demand immediate action to take a firm stand against these crimes and mobilize Arab, Islamic and international support to prevent the Zionist enemy from continuing its brutal crimes against the Palestinian people and their land and sanctities in the occupied city of Al-Quds, especially the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Ismail Haniyeh wrote in his letter to Ayatollah Khamenei.
He said the Israeli regime must be forced to immediately stop its terrorist actions against the besieged Gaza Strip and the occupied Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa Mosque, as well as its policy of Judaizing Al-Quds and displacing Palestinians there, Press TV wrote on Thursday.
The Hamas leader added that Israel must also be compelled to cancel all eviction rulings in occupied Al-Quds, especially in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
Haniyeh further demanded an end to Israel’s violence against Al-Aqsa Mosque in a way that Palestinian worshipers would be able to freely perform their religious rituals at the holy site.
Israel began the aerial bombardment of the Gaza Strip on May 10, after weeks of violence against Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, where Israeli forces and settlers attacked Palestinian worshipers, and in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, where the regime tried to force Palestinians out of their homes to build more settlements.
In response, Palestinian resistance groups have fired thousands of rockets at Israeli-occupied territories.
The bombardment campaign against Gaza has killed at least 232 Palestinians, 65 children and 39 women, with more than 1,700 others wounded.
“The insistence of the criminal rulers of the Zionist regime on pressing ahead with their aggression against the people, the land and the sanctities of Palestine required a decisive and legitimate response through resistance [fighters] in the Gaza Strip,” he said.
Haniyeh also said Israel uses the deadliest of forbidden weapons to commit the most heinous cruelties against the people of Gaza in addition to perpetrating the gravest crimes against protesters in Al-Quds, the West Bank and the 1948 occupied territories.
“The Zionists are heavily bombing government and security centers, residential areas and infrastructure in Gaza, preventing Palestinians’ access to food and medicine. They have also cut supply of natural gas and electricity to Palestinians,” he added.
The Gaza Media Office in Gaza has estimated the material losses the Gaza Strip has suffered during Israel’s relentless attacks to be more than $322m.
At least 184 residential towers, houses, and 33 media centers have been completely destroyed, while over 1,335 housing units have been completely or severely demolished and some 13,000 others partially damaged.
The new letter followed a Tuesday letter by Haniyeh to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution in which the Palestinian official said Israel’s continued acts of aggression against the Palestinian people and their sanctities necessitated a firm response from the resistance movement in Gaza, calling on for joint global efforts to end the regime’s atrocities against the Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied territories.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Thursday some Western states’ routine way of backing the oppressor against the oppressed in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict amounts to their abetment of the Israeli regime’s atrocities.
Zarif made the remarks to a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly held to address deadly escalation by the Israeli regime against the blockaded Palestinian territory of the Gaza Strip.
“The immoral approach of some Western governments in equating victims with culprits is reprehensible, unjust, and unacceptable,” said the statement that was read out by Majid Takht-Ravanchi, Iran’s permanent ambassador to the UN.
Such approach, the statement added, “amounts to complicity in the crimes perpetrated against Palestinians.”
The foreign minister was referring to the decades-old attitude on the part of the United States and its European allies of upholding the occupying and aggressive regime’s so-called “right to defend itself” against the Palestinians.
Citing an instance of the unjust approach, Zarif noted how the US has been preventing the United Nations Security Council from upholding the UN Charter by passing the relevant resolution in condemnation of the savagery.
“And yet, the Security Council – despite the continued mass dispossession, occupation, and persecution of the Palestinian people by the Israeli regime – remains obstructed by the US from upholding its Charter duties and shouldering its responsibility to stop violation of United Nations resolutions,” he said.
The top diplomat underscored that the atrocities had come against the backdrop of “more than seven decades,” through which “the Israeli brutal policies and practices have continued to violate the fundamental human rights and dignity of the Palestinian people”.
Zarif urged the assembly to live up to its duty to condemn the Israeli brutality, and reiterated Iran’s changeless support for the Palestinians in the face of the regime’s occupation and aggression.
Meanwhile, Palestinians in East Al-Quds, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip celebrated as a cease-fire unilaterally declared by Tel Aviv and accepted by Palestinian resistance groups went into effect early Friday.
Mosques in Gaza broadcast chants through their loudspeakers to celebrate the end to the Israeli acts of aggression, while in East Al-Quds and West Bank towns, people set off fireworks.
Israel on Thursday declared a unilateral cease-fire starting at 2 a.m. on Friday, and the Palestinian resistance groups in Gaza accepted it.
Senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan said the resistance groups have obtained guarantees from Egyptian mediators that the Israeli attacks on Gaza and the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa Mosque.
A Hamas official said that the resistance has received assurances regarding Israeli policy toward the Noble Sanctuary in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound as well as Sheikh Jarrah.
“The resistance has forged a new equation and a new victory,” Osama Hamdan said.
Another Hamas official told Reuters that Israel must compensate for the damage caused by its bombardment of Gaza and end its violations in Al-Quds.
“It is true the battle ends today but [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and the whole world should know that our hands are on the trigger and we will continue to grow the capabilities of this resistance,” said Ezzat al-Reshiq, a member of the Hamas political bureau.
He said the Palestinians' demands also include protecting Al-Aqsa Mosque and ending the displacement of Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, warning that the resistance groups have their “hands on the trigger.”