Hamas leaders at Gaza protests: We'll never surrender
Amid talks of a possible long term ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel, senior members of the terror group participated in the weekly 'March of Return' protests; Hamas spokesperson: 'The Palestinian people will never surrender or wave a white flag. Palestine, as we know it, is from the sea to the river'; In the meantime, 25-year-old Palestinian killed in clashes between rioters and the IDF.
Among those who participated in the demonstrations several high-profile figures had been noticed. Deputy Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri—who has not visited Gaza in years, Qatar-based Hamas spokesman Husan Badran, Hamas leaders Mousa Abu Marzouk and Izzet al-Rishak. Hamas leaders in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar and his deputy Khalil al-Hayya, were present as well.
The protests turned violent in several locations and a 25-year-old Palestinian man is reported to have been killed in clashes between the rioters and the IDF, east of Gaza City.
Maher Obeid, who replaced Saleh al-Arouri as the head of Hamas's 'West Bank Headquarters’—a person in charge of Hamas’ terror activity in the West Bank, also attended the protests.
Musa Dodin, who is in charge of the issue of Hamas prisoners in Israel, also took part in the demonstrations.
Several Hamas members made impassioned speech during the proceedings, vowing never to surrender to Israel.
"The people of Gaza, those who protect our nation ... We have come to walk among you, be with our people and our nation. We are proud to belong to this great nation," Badran said during a rally held east of Gaza City.
“The Palestinian people will never surrender or wave a white flag. Palestine, as we know it, is from the sea to the river. We want the blockade on Gaza to be lifted once and for all, and we will sacrifice everything necessary to protect our people."
During his speech, Badran held a picture of the 17-year-old terrorist who stabbed to death Yotam Ovadia in the the settlement of Adam last week.
Throughout the day, several clashes erupted along the border between Palestinian protesters and IDF forces. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said that around 8,000 Palestinians ,took part in weekly border demonstrations.
Amid the riots, a group of Palestinian men breached the border fence with Israel and threw explosive devices and Molotov cocktails before retreating back into the Gaza territory.
In response, IDF forces shelled a Hamas outpost. No injuries among the Israeli soldiers had been reported.
In addition, 26 fires broke out in the Gaza border communities as a result of incendiary balloons flown into Israel from the strip.
Hamas's political leadership is meeting in Gaza on Friday to discuss the possible ceasefire deal, which is reported to include a sea port and an airport for Gaza in Egypt and the improvement of living conditions in the strip.
According to Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar, the first stage of the ceasefire agreement will come into effect within a week and will include an end to "March of Return" protest activities on the Israel-Gaza border. In return, the Kerem Shalom border crossing will resume activity and the Rafah border crossing with Egypt will be reopened on a more permanent basis.
The second stage will include the improvement of living conditions in the Gaza Strip and the complete removal of the blockade, according to the Lebanese paper. Israel will allow the transfer of goods into the strip and increase the electricity it provides Gaza.
The third stage of the plan, according to the report, will include the launch of UN humanitarian projects already proposed in the past, including the construction of a sea port for Gaza in Ismailia, Egypt, operating an airport for the strip in Sinai, as well as the construction of a power plant in the Egyptian peninsula. In addition, the reconstruction of Gaza will go ahead.
Among the other incentives to the Palestinians in the plan is increasing the power supply to the strip to four additional hours a day, $31 million in aid from Qatar, and $91 million in aid for UNRWA. In addition, $10 million will be transferred to the strip to pay salaries to Palestinian Authority employees in the Gaza Strip.