Jerusalem has established a "new balance of power politically, publicly and on the ground", the head of Hamas' Political Bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, announced yesterday. Haniyeh was quoted by Safa as saying that ties between Jerusalem and the besieged Gaza Strip were "strong and won't change". "When Jerusalem called, Gaza answered the call," he said.
"We have decided to continue unless the [Israeli] occupation halts all its manifestations of aggression and terror in Jerusalem and the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque," Haniyeh continued.
Israeli attacks on Palestinian protesters demanding an end to the forced eviction of families from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem to make way for illegal settlers have intensified over the past week. Israeli occupation forces stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque on numerous occasions, shot and abused Palestinian worshippers as they prayed the nightly Ramadan prayers. In response, resistance factions fired rockets into Israel. Israel, which continuously strikes the besieged Gaza Strip throughout the year, then increased its attacks and levelled numerous housing blocks, and killed 35 Palestinians including ten children. Five Israelis have also been killed.
Israeli occupation authorities have also closed off Gaza's fishing waters and blocked all crossing in and out of the Strip, imprisoning its two million population. Some 60,000 people have been affected by the arbitrary sea closures. Previous reports have shown that at least 90 per cent of Gaza's fishermen live below the poverty line.