The Prime Minister of Gaza has delivered a live address to the media following the agreement of a ceasefire with Israel which brought an end to the recent military escalation. Ismail Haniyeh said that his government was satisfied that the agreement heralds a positive future for the Palestinian people. He also said that the primary aim was now to bring an end to the occupation and for Palestine to be a free and independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.
Mr. Haniyeh paid tribute to the patience and steadfastness of the Palestinian people. He also saluted the resistance, which inflicted severe blows on the Israelis as they besieged the Gaza Strip with great brutality. This, he pointed out, was what pushed the Israeli government to seek a ceasefire through international parties.
Thanking the Egyptian President, Mohamed Morsi, for his efforts on behalf of the Palestinian people, Prime Minister Haniyeh said that this was especially important because the latest escalation came in the wake of the changes and revolutions in a number of Arab countries which stood in solidarity with the Palestinians.
He added that the resistance had changed the rules of the game with the Israelis and disoriented their political and military calculations. "I believe that the concept of invading Gaza is now over and, God willing, will never return."
MEMO Photographer: Mohammed Asad