The latest reiteration of threats by the Islamist terror rulers of the Gaza Strip against the Jewish State come as the government of Benjamin Netanyahu is set to take office.
By Erin Viner
In an orchestrated show of force, Hamas leaders swore defiance at a mass rally at Gaza City’s Katiba gardens.
Speaking before tens of thousands of Hamas supporters amid a sea of green flags at the event to mark the 35th anniversary of the organization’s founding, Yahya Al-Sinwar said Palestinians face an “open confrontation” with Israel. Black uniformed members of the movement’s armed wing marched through the crowd as he gave his speech.
Reviving a popular rallying call to force, Sinwar claimed the al-Aqsa mosque complex in Jerusalem is threatened with encroachment by what he said was Israel’s next “Talmudic, fascist, Zionist, rightist government.”
The Al-Aqsa Mosque area is the most sensitive site in the generations-old conflict with Israel. It was built atop the ruins of both biblical temples, considered by the Jewish People as the holiest site in the world and also revered to Christians. The compound is Islam’s third most sacred site after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. Even though Israel regards the entirety of of Jerusalem as its eternal capital and the center of the Jewish faith, it has observed the “status quo” arrangement that existed prior to its reunification of Jerusalem following the 1967 Six Day War, that bars Jewish prayer at the compound as not to ‘inflame Muslim anger.’ Religious worship on the al-Aqsa compound is restricted to Muslims, while Jews pray at the Western Wall nearby.
Hamas would respond to any violations at the site with force, Sinwar vowed.
“We will come to you with an endless number of rockets, we will come to you with an endless number of soldiers,” he said, accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s emerging coalition of seeking a “religious war.”
The incoming Netanyahu government is expected to be one of the most hardline right-wing, religious governments in Israel’s history.
Born out of the Muslim Brotherhood terror movement in the late 1980s, Hamas assumed power in Gaza after defeating the rival Fatah movement of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in 2006 elections and seized control of the Strip in a brutal internecine was the following year.
Hamas opposes Israel’s right to exist and has long vowed to annihilate the Jewish State. The group’s Charter declares, “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” The document further vows to pursue a Jihad holy war against all non-Muslims in general, and Jews in particular.
But ever since it waged a 10-day war with Israel that ended in a ceasefire in 2021, the situation between the two sides on the ground have been under a cautious maintenance of relative calm.
Sinwar boasted that Hamas has only restrained itself due to need to rebuild after the conflict, which Israel refers to as the Guardian of the Walls Operation.
“Our silence is preparation and if we talk, it will be guns talking on our behalf,” he said.
Despite the surge of West Bank violence that saw Israel’s launching of Operation Waves Breaker to root out terror, Hamas has not intervened. The Islamist group even remained quiet in August when Israeli fighter jets bombarded sites connected with the smaller Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror group in Gaza.
The greatest challenge Hamas faces, however, is not Israel but residents in the impoverished enclave. It falls under increasing pressure to improve the quality of life for the 2.3 million Palestinians and soaring 50% unemployment rate.
“We admire the resistance but as a ruler, Hamas needs to find a solution to our misery that doesn’t worsen it,” Abu Ali, owner of a clothes shop in Gaza City said while speaking to Reuters.