Haniyeh: Gaza just a step toward the liberation of all Palestine
Dec. 14, 2009
AP, Khaled Abu Toameh and JPost.com staff , THE JERUSALEM POST
In a long, defiant speech, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Monday said that gaining control over the Gaza Strip was "just a step to liberating all of Palestine."
"This movement, with the help of the militant factions liberated the Gaza Strip, and we say, brothers and sisters, we will not be satisfied with Gaza," Hainyeh said. "Hamas looks toward the whole of Palestine, the liberation of the strip is just a step to liberating all of Palestine."
Israel Radio quoted Hamas sources as saying that captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit would only see the light of day when Israel acquiesces to the terrorist group's demands and releases the prisoners that it has demanded.
Tens of thousands of Hamas supporters thronged downtown Gaza City Monday to mark the 22nd anniversary of the group's founding, a massive display that showed the Islamic militants still enjoy broad support despite years of rule that
Gaza was decked out in Islamic green, with Hamas flags fluttering from roofs, lampposts and cars. Some parents dressed small children in combat fatigues and green Hamas headbands.
The crowd packed an outdoor square where a huge banner draped over the wall of a building showed a picture of Jerusalem's main Islamic shrine and photos of senior Hamas figures.
Leaders made fiery speeches, bands played and scout troops marched in processions.
"Gaza is free. Gaza is steadfast," shouted a male singing troupe, whose members wore military camouflage. Haniyeh exuberantly waved Palestinian and Hamas flags to the crowd as he took the stage.
The group called on the Palestinians to expect "surprises" during the rally, sparking speculation that its leaders may exploit the event to announce a prisoner exchange agreement with Israel.
Hamas' radio and TV stations exhorted Gazans to attend a mass rally after Muslim midday prayers.
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