Ismail Haniya says that Israel bears all the responsibility for the consequences after “setting fire to Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa”.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniya said the group told mediators it was “ready” if Israel stepped up its attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip.
“If they (Israel) want to escalate, the resistance is ready; and if they want to stop, the resistance is ready, ”Haniya, who currently lives outside the Gaza Strip, said in a televised speech Tuesday night.
“This is the message we have delivered to all parties and to anyone involved,” he added, referring to discussions held with regional leaders since the recent recent past. escalation of violence.
Hostilities erupted after Hamas, which rules the besieged Gaza Strip, issued an ultimatum on Monday demanding that Israel withdraw its security forces from the compound of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City after a violent repression against the Palestinians.
Monday marked the third day in a row that Israeli police raided Islam’s third holiest site, firing rubber-coated steel shells, stun grenades and tear gas at Palestinian faithful in the last days of the holy month of Ramadan.
The escalation came on the back of growing tensions over the impending forced eviction of Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah, a Palestinian neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem from which illegal Jewish settlers have been trying to evict them for decades.
“We have the right to respond to the Israeli offensive and protect the interests of our people as long as the Israeli occupation continues to escalate,” Haniya said.
“What is happening right now is an honor for our people, our nation,” Haniya said, hailing a barrage of rockets fired at Tel Aviv and other areas on Tuesday as a “victory”.
The IDF said about 1,500 rockets were fired from Gaza at various locations in Israel and added reinforcements near the eastern lands of the enclave.
Haniya said that Israel “kindled the fire in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa and the flames spread to Gaza, therefore it was responsible for the consequences,” adding that “there is a new balance of powers at the moment ”.
Haniya went on to say that linking Jerusalem to the Gaza Strip reflected the assimilation of “resistance to identity” and praised the protests that have erupted among Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories.
“We are all moving together in a coherent way in order to face the occupation,” he said.
Haniya renewed the call for all “our Palestinian people to unite their ranks” and called on the Palestinian Authority to “stop security cooperation” with Israel.