by Ezra HaLevi
"Jews! We have already dug your graves," declared Hamas official Mushir al-Masri at a half-million strong rally of support for Hamas in
A Hamas Executive Force member looks out over the crowd of Hamas supporters in
The Hamas official was joined by the terrorist group's top brass, some via teleconference, at a massive show of support for the Islamist movement that unequivocally broadcast a message of support for terrorism and the ongoing war with the Jewish state among
"Today is the day of Jihad, resistance and uprising,"
"The message from you today," Haniyeh said to the huge crowd, "is that Hamas and these masses will not yield before sanctions. Your presence today, brothers and sisters, asserts the choice of resistance…against
Israeli flags are torched at the rally in
Indeed, a clearer endorsement of Hamas's terrorist tactics than the presence of one-third of
Hamas Chief Khaled Mashaal, in a recorded address, said Hamas would never give up its violent tactics. "This is our real choice, our trump card, which causes the enemy to succumb to us," he declared. He went on to say that the destruction of
Two Tracks – But Terrorism Works Better
A recurring theme in the day's speeches was that there are two tracks in the struggle to destroy the Jewish State; but that Hamas's armed attacks are more effective than Fatah's negotiations – as was proven by
"Those who remain committed to the constant rights of their people, those who make an enemy of
"The fruits of the other track, the track of negotiations, normalization and bargaining… all can see that it is the consolidating of settlements...injustice and oppression…they are bitter fruits," Haniyeh said. "There is no such thing as a 'just solution' to the right of return," Haniyeh said, referring to the demand that all Arabs who lived in pre-1967
Hamas official Mahmud al-Zahar addressed the
Haniyeh called for dialogue with Fatah free from any preconditions. Fatah publicly demands it be allowed to return to
Quarter or Half Million or More
Estimates ranged from 250,000 to 500,000. The Gulf Times reported "at least 500,000" while others reported "from 300,000-500,000." The New York Times, Associated Press and AFP agreed that the rally was much larger than a Fatah rally held earlier this month, which was reportedly attended by 250,000.
The Real Popularity of "Resistance"
"This is the real referendum on the popularity of resistance, the people converging behind Hamas," 28-year-old
Another AP interviewee, Layali al-Kher, 27, expressed grassroots support for the terror group and even a forgiving tone toward the hardship of sanctions Hamas's takeover had brought. "This siege was not imposed by Hamas but on them, so why should we criticize them?" she asked. "They've put Hamas in a bottle and they are trying to suffocate it. But they [Hamas] have achieved a lot: the streets are safe, the traffic is controlled. They have adapted quickly and have a strong will."
Jordanian Islamist Group Calls for Renewed Attacks
The Islamic Action Front Party, a branch of
The demonstration took place at the Al-Husseini Mosque following prayers.
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