From BBC world news; december 14, 2009
Tens of thousands of Palestinians have turned out in the Gaza Strip to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the founding of the Islamist group Hamas.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniya said the organisation would not recognise Israel and would not stop fighting.
Supporters filled the streets, waving banners and portraits of assassinated Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.
The event comes almost year after a deadly three-week conflict between Israel and Hamas.
“We will never give up on a Palestine from the river to the sea,” Mr Haniya said, referring to pre-1948 boundaries of the British Mandate in Palestine, before the state of Israel was established.
“It is not enough for Hamas to liberate Gaza… Hamas strives to liberate all of Palestine,” he told thousands of cheering supporters.
The Islamist group has controlled Gaza since routing the rival Palestinian Fatah faction from there in June 2007.
The Gaza Strip has been under a heightened Israeli and Egyptian blockade since Hamas seized control, with only humanitarian supplies allowed in.
“In the 22 years since its founding, Hamas has been able to realise a large part of its goals and to overcome every obstacle it has faced, from prison, exile, assassinations and elections,” senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said.
Hamas, an Arabic acronym for the Islamic Resistance Movement, was created in 1987 after the beginning of the first intifada, or Palestinian uprising, against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza….
You can read the full report here: Hamas celebrates 22nd anniversary since founding.
From Al Bawaba News; december 14, 2009:
Tens of thousands of Hamas supporters on Monday marked the 22nd anniversary of its founding. Hamas’ Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, in a long speech, vowed Hamas would never lay down its arms, nor recognize Israel.
“This movement, with the help of the armed factions liberated the Gaza Strip, and we say, brothers and sisters, we will not be satisfied with Gaza,” he said. “Hamas looks toward the whole of Palestine, the liberation of the strip is just a step to liberating all of Palestine.”
Another senior leader, Mahmud Zahar, hailed Hamas’ achievements. “In the 22 years since its founding, Hamas has been able to realise a large part of its goals and to overcome every obstacle it has faced, from prison, exile, assassinations and elections,” he said, according to AFP. “Our understanding of the resistance is total, and is not limited to armed conflict,” he added.
On his part, Abu Obeida, a spokesman for Hamas’ military wing the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, praised the group’s military evolution. “We have been able to build an army for resistance and to haunt the Zionist enemy,” he said. “(The Qassam Brigades) has manufactured its weapons with its bare hands… including the Qassam rocket, which terrifies the Zionist enemy,” Abu Obeida added.
You can read this article here: Hamas marks 22nd anniversary with pledge to liberate whole of Palestine.
From Haaretz.com; december 14, 2009:
Tens of thousands of Hamas supporters thronged downtown Gaza City Monday to mark the 22nd anniversary of the group’s founding, in a massive display that showed the Islamic militants still enjoy broad support despite years of rule that have led to war, poverty and isolation.
Hamas is celebrating its anniversary with a large public rally and smaller parades. Sunday, as preparations for the festivities were under way in the Gaza Strip, the leaders of the movement spared no effort in trying to persuade Gazans to show up en masse.
Hamas is expected to try to demonstrate unity and show it has massive public support, to make up for its defeat during Operation Cast Lead nearly a year ago. It is mobilizing supporters from across the Strip. School has been canceled.
Meanwhile, Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshal met in Tehran with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday. The Iranian president stressed his support for Hamas, saying, “The Iranian government and the Iranian people will always stand by the Palestinians and the Palestinian resistance.”
“Today Palestine is a symbol of the world-wide front of those who seek liberty from the militants,” he said. Ahmadinejad said Iran doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to exist, and supports Hamas and Hezbollah.
You can read the full report here: Tens of thousands rally in Gaza.
Read a full report from The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.