GAZA, (PIC)– Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haneyya has called on the British government to release leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah, who was kept prisoner after his appeal on a deportation decision was denied.
“We stand by Sheikh Raed Salah and we demand his release and an end to this tragedy by the British government,” Haneyya said during a Friday sermon at the Abu Hanifa Mosque in Gaza.
The Palestinian premier also called for a complete lift of Israel’s siege on the Gaza Strip, lauding international efforts to show solidarity with the Gazans and challenge the Israeli siege.
Prime Minister Haneyya said his government was following the UNRWA name change, after the relief agency dropped the words “relief works” from its logo on its official website.
“The change in title has political implications that will affect the obligations of this body towards the refugees,” Haneyya said, adding that the government has been making contacts in this regard, which he said implied a shift in UNRWA’s tasks.
On the recent unity deal, the PM said that it was one of the most important developments in the Palestinian arena, emphasizing that the government and Hamas turned to the deal for the sake of unification and confrontation of the Israeli occupation.
“It is true that the reconciliation process is slow, partly because of outside interference and lack of prioritization and [the Palestinian Authority's] revival of failed negotiations [with Israel], and also [the PA's] going to the United Nations in September for recognition of a Palestinian state with so far unspecified features and borders,” Haneyya said.
The premier said the second most prominent development in Palestine was the marches of return by Palestinian refugees on the 63rd Nakba Day.
Israeli soldiers shot dead dozens of Palestinians and Arabs who neared borders on Nakba Day in May and Naksa Day in June. The protesters were demonstrating the right of refugees to return to the lands they lost in Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
“The tens of thousands who gathered is evidence that the occupier (Israel) has begun in an existence crisis and that the Palestinians know and have determined the way back, which is the way of resistance and jihad, as it is the shortest way,” Haneyya said during the Friday sermon.
The premier also highlighted the removal of the apartheid wall in Bil’in after six years of weekly protests by locals. He said that it proved that when an objective is specified, the armed, popular, and political resistance can achieve it.
On the Rafah border crossing, which has been experiencing major delays after it was officially opened by Egyptian authorities, Haneyya reiterated calls to the Egyptian leadership to recognize the need to completely lift the restrictions on the crossing, and hoped that the will of the Egyptians, who have never blockaded Gaza and never conspired with Israel against it, turns into a political decision completely ending the blockade.
Supporting the prisoners
Prime Minister Haneyya went on to highlight the suffering of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons. The prisoners have gone on hunger strike to protest Israel’s recent tightening of restrictions.
Haneyya reiterated the government’s commitment in supporting the prisoners, and called on the Hamas’s armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, to demand an honorable prisoner exchange deal with Israel.
Abu Hanifa Mosque was rebuilt on charity funds after Israeli forces destroyed it during its 2008-9 aggression on the Gaza Strip.