In his first speech at the new Head of the Hamas politburo, Ismail Haniyeh stressed that the Palestinian right of return, the liberation of Palestinian lands and holy sites, and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital were non-negotiable rights.
Formerly the deputy head of Hamas’ politburo, Haniyeh was elected to replace Khalid Meshaal in the highest position in the Hamas movement in May.
Haniyeh said that Hamas would stand against any diplomatic deals that did not guarantee the historical rights of Palestinians.
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He added that Hamas rejected terrorism, calling Islam a religion of coexistence and peace, and adding that the Palestinian resistance would fight “real terrorism” – the Israeli occupation.Haniyeh cited Hamas’ new charter, stressing that Hamas was willing to work with all Palestinian political factions to carry out a political and resistance strategy in both internal and diplomatic Palestinian affairs.
He went on to stress the importance standing united to protect Palestinians without compromising their rights to freedom, independence, and return.
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As part of this proclaimed desire to work on Palestinian unity, Haniyeh referred to a recent meeting between Hamas and discharged Fatah member Muhammad Dahlan in Cairo, which he said would have a positive impact on Palestinians.
With Haniyeh’s appointment as head of Hamas, the movement’s leadership has become concentrated in Gaza, leaving the political party dependent on the goodwill of the Egyptian government to maintain its leaders’ freedom of movement through their shared border, where Cairo has enforced the decade-long crippling Israeli siege.
On the issue of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, Haniyeh said on Wednesday that a potential prisoner swap deal with Israel was nearer than at any time before.
He also maintained that Jerusalem remained at the heart of the Palestinian struggle, and that Hamas would keep fighting to protect the holy city’s Islamic heritage against Israeli attempts at Judaization.