Palestine's Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) marked its 24th anniversary yesterday with a massive rally in Gaza City. Hundreds of thousands gathered in Brigades Square under the slogan, "Loyalty to the freed prisoners… Jerusalem we are coming".
Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh delivered the keynote speech to the gathering, emphasising his movement's steadfastness and adherence to the Palestinian constants, the foremost of which is Hamas's strategy of resisting the Israeli occupation. Mr Haniyeh called on Arab youths in the revolutionary capitals across the region to rally and liberate Jerusalem and the Palestinian prisoners still being held in Israeli jails.
He told the crowd that Hamas remains at the forefront of the Palestinian struggle despite the agonising years of persecution. Hamas, he added, is the "elephant in the room" which cannot be ignored or marginalised: "The movement's stature in the region and internationally is such that even those who don't want to engage with Hamas openly are doing so in secret." The Prime Minister also took the opportunity to pay moving tributes to the founder of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yasin, and Hasan el Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
MEMO Photographer: Mohammed Asad