Middle East

Islamic Jihad leader hails Gaza's "miraculous triumph"

Shalah speaks at a news conference in Beirut, Tuesday, August 26, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Ramadan Shalah, Tuesday congratulated the Palestinian people on their “miraculous victory” and urged Arab countries to contribute in the reconstruction of the besieged strip.

"It is your day to celebrate Gaza," Shalah told reporters during a presser at one of Beirut’s hotels. He spoke hours after an extended ceasefire that had went into effect.

Shalah hailed the people of Gaza for their victory, saying that they have achieved “miracles” through their faith and will.

“You showed the world Palestine is unforgettable.”

“And that the crimes committed against it are unforgivable” he said.

The resistance leader warned that though the battle is won, the war is far from being over.

“There are no assurances with regards to the continuity of the ceasefire, despite a notable Egyptian effort in following up,” he said, warning that past experiences have made the resistance wary of a possible breach.

With regards to indirect negotiations in Cairo, Shalah During the negotiations, the Israeli party delivered a protocol of passage that dictates in detail what items would be allowed into Gaza.

The Islamic Jihad head rejected the notion of a detailed protocol, stressing that “everything” should be allowed entry into Gaza.

Another point that led to a delay in negotiations was Gaza’s Rafah crossing with Egypt- what Shalah dubbed as the “southern door of the Palestinian prison.”

In contradiction to what Egyptian mediators had communicated to Palestinian factions during previous negotiations, the Egyptians requested that the case of the Rafah crossing be set aside arguing that it was a strictly Egyptian-Palestinian issue, said Shalah.

“We strongly urged Egypt to follow up on our demand [regarding Rafah] and we suggested many formulas” he said.

Shalah said that Egyptian mediators had told him the Rafah crossing was open but at a weak pace due to security concerns in the Sinai Peninsula.

Shalah clarified that there has yet to be an official Egyptian response, highlighting that current security concerns in Egypt might stall the issue.

According the Islamic Jihad head, the resistance did not budge on requests to down size its military.

“The case of the resistance's weapons and military force was not negotiable”, said Shalah, stressing that no current or future negotiations could prompt the resistance to surrender its arsenal.

The official emphasized the importance of a forthcoming reconstruction of Gaza, saying that it was a duty of Arab states to contribute to rehabilitation.

“We do not condemn Arabs states for not delivering weapons to us,” said Shalah. But we will not forgive those who do not extend a helping hand in reconstructing Gaza.”





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