Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh says Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip support the Intifada (uprising) in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) against Israel.
“The message of our wounded is that Gaza, despite the distance and its deep suffering due to the siege and war, still stands behind the battle of Jerusalem, and that Gaza is in the heart of Jerusalem’s Intifada,” Haniyeh said on Thursday.
The Gaza Strip has been under a crippling Israeli siege since 2007. The blockade, which has cut off the territory from the outside world, has led to an economic and humanitarian crisis in the densely-populated enclave.
The senior Palestinian official made the remarks during a visit to al-Shifa hospital, where Palestinians who had been shot and injured by Israeli forces during recent clashes near Gaza’s border are receiving treatment.
Haniyeh further noted that “Jerusalem’s Intifada has sent a message that Jerusalem is not a red line, but instead the title of the strategy in the conflict with Israel.”
“Gaza will not draw back or give up its role in protecting Jerusalem and the al-Aqsa Mosque,” he said.
Last week, Haniyeh called the recent spate of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and East al-Quds an Intifada against the Tel Aviv regime.
Last month, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also warned Israel of another Intifada over the intensification of clashes in the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds.
According to Palestinian media reports, at least 33 Palestinians and several Israelis have been killed in clashes over the past two weeks.
Israeli forces imposed more restrictions on Palestinians’ movement in East al-Quds on Thursday, blocking the entrance to several Palestinian neighborhoods and setting up more roadblocks.
The recent deadly tensions between the Tel Aviv regime and Palestinians was triggered by Israel’s imposition of sweeping restrictions on entries into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds on August 26 and Israeli settlers’ repeated attacks on the mosque.
Palestinians are furious at the settler violence and a plan by Israelis to change the status quo of the mosque, which is Islam’s third holiest site after Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina.