Mass Demonstration in Gaza Honoring Hamas Founder
Tens of thousands of Palestinian Arabs demonstrated in Gaza on Sunday to commemorate the ten year anniversary of the IDF elimination of Hamas leader Sheikh Ismail Ahmed Yassin.
Yassin oversaw a total of 425 attacks that killed 377 Israelis and wounded 2,076 - including the Park Hotel Seder massacre . The IDF eliminated the terrorist leader in 2004, by firing missiles on him as he left a morning prayer session in Gaza.
Hamas honored his life Sunday with a rally, speeches, and a family-filled event stressing "resistance" against Israel.
"The punishment of the people of Gaza must end," Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh told the rally in a speech interspersed with chants of "Jihad is not terrorism" over loudspeakers, as quoted by Reuters.
"Why punish Gaza? Was it because it achieved victory against the Occupier? Why punish Gaza? Was it because it took up the rifle against Israel?" Haniyeh exclaimed, with the usual show of bravado."We are living through a difficult stage and harsh challenges, but we are not terrified and we are not defeated. We have become familiar with difficulties and this stage is not the most difficult."
Haniyeh also called on Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to stop the ongoing peace talks with Israel.
"We call upon the Palestinian negotiator to quit this pointless track and not to extend negotiation," he stated.
Haniyeh also had a message for Israel, saying the Jewish state does not have the right to self-defense against Hamas attacks.
"We tell the enemy and (Foreign Minister Avigdor) Liberman who is threatening to reoccupy Gaza that the time for your threats is over," Haniyeh declared. "Any aggression or crime or stupidity you commit will cost you a very high price."
Hamas's threats are being sounded one day after an IDF raid in Jenin - involving the Police's SWAT team, the Border Police, and the ISA or Shin Bet - killed senior Hamas terrorist Hamza Abu Alheja, 20.
An Islamic Jihad terrorist and a rioter were also killed in clashes that followed the operation.
In response to the Israeli raid, a joint statement from Fatah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad was released threatening revenge; hundreds of Israelis and journalists were sent "warnings" from Hamas through e-mails and text messages hours later.
"Ten years ago, Ismail Ahmed Yassin, our leader, was killed by three missiles as he left a mosque after morning prayers," said an email message to hundreds of Israelis - including Arutz Sheva's news team. "This is a reminder that we do not forget our Sheikh's blood on your hands. We vow once again that we will take revenge, and cut off the heads of your commanders."
"Missiles killed our Sheikh and now, our missiles will hit every place in the State of Israel," it continues. "Know that the next war will see the end of your country."