Gaza Parties Committed to Calm

Palestinian factions say they are committed to maintaining calm in the Gaza Strip amid the recent escalation in Israeli attacks against the besieged sliver.

The parties, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) came together in the Gaza City on Saturday night to state that they are committed to calming tensions if Israel reciprocates, a Press TV correspondent reported.

"Massacre and terror will not break the will of Palestinian people and resistance is our legitimate right to defend our people. We have reached a national consensus to not give Israel any excuses to commit more crimes against our people," an official in the PFLP, Osama al-Haj Ahmad, said.

Hamas announced that like other factions it is committed to calm and will not give Israel "any pretext to launch another war against Gaza."

"Palestinian factions have discussed the recent surge in Israeli attacks on Gaza. They are all committed to remaining calm in order to prevent the occupation [Israeli] forces from committing any more crimes against humanity," a senior Hamas official, Ismail Radwan, told Press TV.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Jihad movement said it would not allow Israel to use the Gaza Strip for target practice.

"We will not accept the situation that Gaza is used for target practice by Israeli forces to show the military skills. We have stated it clearly that any attack will be met with strong response from the Islamic Jihad," a prominent Islamic Jihad official Khalid al-Batsh said.

The meeting came amid fears that Israel might wage another war against the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces have carried out large numbers of ground and air attacks on Gaza since the end of Operation Cast Lead against the Gaza Strip.

More than 1,400 Palestinians were killed during the three-week Israeli land, sea and air offensive in the impoverished coastal sliver during the winter of 2008-2009. The offensive also inflicted USD 1.6 billion damage to the Gazan economy.

A United Nations inquiry led by the former South African judge, Richard Goldstone, detailed what investigators called Israeli actions "amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity," during Israel’s offensive against the Gaza Strip.

Israel laid an economic siege on the Gaza Strip in June 2007, after Hamas took control of the enclave.

The blockade has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip.

Some 1.5 million people are being denied their basic rights, including freedom of movement, and their rights to appropriate living conditions, work, health and education. Poverty and unemployment rates stand at approximately 80 percent and 60 percent, respectively, in the Gaza Strip.

(Press TV)

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