Hamas leader urges Palestinians to march on Al-Aqsa Mosque on 1st day of Ramazan

Hamas leader urges Palestinians to march on Al-Aqsa Mosque on 1st day of Ramazan

NEW YORK, Feb 29 (APP): Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has urged Palestinians to break the Israeli-enforced blockade on the al-Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites, on the first day of Ramazan, according to media reports, as negotiators struggle to secure a deal to halt the war in besieged Gaza.

“The siege of Al-Aqsa and the siege of Gaza are one and the same,” Haniyeh said in a televised message on Wednesday.

Haniyeh’s call followed comments by US President Joe Biden that an agreement could be reached between Israel and Hamas as soon as next week for a ceasefire during Ramazan, which is expected to start this year on March 10 or 11.

Israel and Hamas, which both have delegations in Qatar this week hammering out details of a potential 40-day truce, have said there is still a big gulf between them, and the Qatari mediators say there is no breakthrough yet.

As it presses on with its war, Israel has said it may set limits to worship at Al-Aqsa during Ramazan, according to its security needs. Many Palestinians reject any such restrictions on their access to the site.

“This is a call on our people in Jerusalem and the West Bank to march to Al-Aqsa since the first day of Ramazan,” said Haniyeh.

“Al-Aqsa Mosque and other holy sites must be managed in accordance with international law. Our people will defend their mosques, churches, and holy sites with all forms of resistance.”

Israel, which has assaulted the Gaza Strip, killing 30,000 people, mostly women and children, according to Palestinian health authorities, says it will agree only to temporary pauses in the fighting to release hostages, and will not end the war until Hamas is eradicated.

In his speech, the Hamas leader said the rise in Israel’s attacks in the West Bank is part of a comprehensive plan to displace all Palestinians.

Ramazan has historically seen an escalation of Israeli violence against the Palestinians, particularly around the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

This year’s Ramazan is expected to be more violent than previous years given Israel’s relentless bombing of Gaza, according to experts.

APP Services