Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has said that Palestinians will never back down in their resistance against the Israeli occupiers and their blockade of the Gaza Strip.
During his tour of the Turkish Mavi Marmara ship in Istanbul on Monday, Haniyeh said, “I want to say that we will never loosen our stand before the occupiers and we definitely will not submit and we will not give in to the embargo. We will never give up.”
“We will not give in to the embargo. We will never give up. I want to declare to the whole world from Istanbul that our brothers from Gaza did not give up on Gaza and the Palestinian struggle has won a victory,” Haniyeh added.
Residents still live in what is known to be the ‘world’s largest open-air prison’ as Israel remains in full control of the airspace, territorial waters and border crossings of Gaza.
The Tel Aviv regime bans entry of cement and metals into Gaza, claiming that the materials could be used by Hamas to carry out “attacks on Israel.”
Haniyeh also met with Fehmi Bulent Yildirim, head of the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH), who participated in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in 2010.
In May 2010, Israeli forces attacked Freedom Flotilla in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea, killing nine Turkish nationals aboard Mavi Marmara and injuring about 50 other activists who were part of the six-ship convoy.
“Your martyrs are our martyrs, your blood is our blood, your wounds are our wounds,” Haniyeh said in an address to IHH supporters at the Mavi Marmara dock on Monday.
The Hamas premier started a two-week tour of Muslim countries on December 25, 2011 and he is scheduled to visit Qatar, Bahrain and Tunisia in addition to Turkey. Haniyeh has already visited Egypt and Sudan as part of the tour.
This is Haniyeh’s first trip abroad since the resistance movement of Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.