Mashaal: The 'siege' will end soon

In recorded speech at Hamas event in Gaza, Khaled Mashaal attempts to send a calming message regarding the Israeli naval blockade.

Dalit Halevi ,

Khaled Mashaal
Khaled Mashaal

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal is praising the steadfastness of the people of Gaza for surviving several wars and dealing with the consequences of the "Israeli siege".

Mashaal made the comments in a recorded speech which was played at a Hamas gathering in Gaza on Saturday.

He pledged that Hamas will continue to work day and night to lift the blockade and strengthen “the struggle” against Israel.

Mashaal tried to sound an optimistic tone in his words, clearly in an attempt to calm the Palestinian public. In this context, Mashaal said that signs of “breaking the siege” can be seen on the horizon, praising Qatar which invested considerable efforts on this issue, as well as Turkey for continuing the efforts today.

Hamas, Mashaal said, is a movement of struggles and not wars, and its objectives are: the liberation of “Palestine” and its holy places, protecting the Al-Aqsa Mosque, protecting the land from the “settlements” and the return of refugees.

His comments follow the recent reconciliation agreement between Turkey and Israel, which did not include an Israeli lifting of the naval blockade on Gaza. It did, however, see, a Turkish aid ship arriving in Gaza via Israel last week.

The ship included 10 truckloads of supplies, including food parcels, toys and children's clothing and shoes.

Just days before the agreement was signed, Turkish media reported that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had met Mashaal in Istanbul.

Erdogan later confirmed that he had consulted with both Hamas leaders as well as with Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas before signing the deal.

Nevertheless, leaders of Hamas hinted they were dissatisfied with the agreement.

A Hamas official who spoke to the Chinese Xinhua news agency after the agreement was announced, said that Hamas leaders are unhappy with the details of the agreement, because it maintains the naval blockade on the coastal enclave.

"I think it is still very early to make a judgment on the agreement. Our ties with Turkey are strategic and won't be influenced by this agreement," said the official, adding that his movement considers the deal "an internal Turkish affair and [the] Hamas movement won't intervene in it."