Hamas marks 20th anniversary with calls for resistance, internal dialogue
Hamas on Saturday threatened to launch a new Intifada (uprising) against israel. "Our people are capable of launching a third and a fourth intifada until the dawn of victory rises up," said Khalid Mashaal, the movement's exiled political chief in a speech recorded on Friday at his base in Damascus.
He made the speech for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians rallied in Gaza City to mark the movement's 20th anniversary on Saturday. A vast crowd estimated at between 300,000 and 500,000 gathered in the central square in Gaza City to mark the event, Reuters reported.
Hamas said the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas ordered a ban on similar pro-Hamas rallies in the West Bank where Abbas' Fatah movement holds sway.
Mashaal said Abbas lacked the support of the Palestinian people. "Whoever thinks his legitimacy comes from the international backing is under an illusion, the legitimacy is the people," Mashaal said.
On his part, the Prime minister of Hamas in Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniya, reiterated his movement's commitment to resisting the Israeli occupation, saying Hamas will never not recognize Israel. "Your presence today, brothers and sisters, assert the choice of resistance", Haniya addressed the masses.
Haniyeh also hailed the resistance path, slamming negotiations with the Israeli side, in reference to Abbas' current peace talks with Israel. On the internal level, the deposed PM voiced willingness to reopen a dialogue with the rival Fatah party on unconditional basis.