Big rally by Islamic Jihad in Gaza, joined by Hamas

GAZA Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:45am EDT

1 of 7. A Palestinian girl waves Islamic Jihad flags during a rally in Gaza City October 29, 2010. Thousands of Palestinians attend a rally marking the 23rd anniversary of the Islamic Jihad movement foundation.

Credit: Reuters/Mohammed Salem

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GAZA (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of supporters of the militant Islamic Jihad movement rallied in the streets of Gaza on Friday, chanting "Death to America" and "Death to Israel."

Young men and boys wearing white T-shirts with a slogan in the shape of a rifle bore portraits of militants killed in combat, under the black flags of Islamic Jihad.

Ramadan Shallah, the group's exiled chief in Damascus, sent a recorded message marking the anniversary of the assassination of the group's leader Fathi Shiqaqi in Malta in 1995, by presumed Israeli secret agents.

"Israel will not bring peace to the region, it will only bring war and destruction and therefore, the slogan of all should be that Israel must be wiped out of existence," said Shallah, who is on a United States wanted list.

Senior leaders of the ruling Islamist group, Hamas, joined the open-air gathering, the largest for years in honor of Islamic Jihad with up to 100,000 attending according to its organizers.

Hamas allowed the group to use city terrain it usually reserves exclusively for its own rallies, and Hamas forces provided security for the parade by its smaller rival.

"REFERENDUM AGAINST PEACE TALKS"

Islamic Jihad carried out a series of stabbing attacks in the 1980s against Israeli citizens who used to visit the Gaza Strip to purchase cheap goods and later turned to suicide bombings inside the Jewish state.

Its militants continue to harass southern Israel with sporadic rocket and mortar fire from inside Gaza, frequently paying with their lives in swift retaliatory strikes by the Israeli air force.

Islamic Jihad officials said Friday's turnout was a "referendum by the Palestinian people rejecting peace-making with Israel."

Negotiations between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have faltered over the latter's refusal to freeze settlement building in the West Bank, including in Jerusalem.

"The choice of negotiation has reached deadlock, and we are wondering why is there such an insistence by the Palestinian Authority on negotiation with the enemy," said Shallah.

He urged an end to peace talks and fresh efforts to heal the rift between Abbas's Fatah movement and the Islamist militants.

Raising hopes that the three-year-old split may be coming to an end, Hamas leader Khalil Al-Hayya said it was time for unity in the face of Israel.

"There is only the choice of Jihad and nothing else ... There is no more room to make bets, on the Americans or anyone else," said Hayya.

President Abbas, however, rules out any return to violence against Israelis in pursuit of Palestinian statehood. He has said he will pursue diplomatic alternatives should the peace talks with Netanyahu collapse definitively.

(Editing by Douglas Hamilton and Myra MacDonald)

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Comments (13)
wolf91101 wrote:
Good time to send in the drones !!!

Oct 29, 2010 11:50am EDT  --  Report as abuse
adelheid wrote:
If Israel would get along with all their neighboring countries in the region, then there would be peace, and if the USA would stop giving Isreal billions of Dollars every year, Isreal would have to be nicer to their neighbor. The United States needs to stop protecting Israel. Isreal causes trouble, and the US is always right there to bail them out, and make excuses for them.

Oct 29, 2010 11:50am EDT  --  Report as abuse
OscarZee wrote:
Ghandi caused trouble for the British Empire. The French resistance during WWII caused trouble for the Nazis. Martin Luther King Jr caused trouble, Martin Luther caused trouble, Spartacus caused trouble, George Washington caused trouble, you cause trouble. When someone threatens you, you have the right to cause them trouble. And that’s occasionally why people go to war and do such terrible things to each other: because they fear for their lives and the lives of their children. It’s not pretty, it never will be pretty, and it will never go away. To place blame solely upon Israel shows a lack of understanding, a deficient awareness. The trouble for the Jews and their western allies began before 1948. Israel’s neighbors welcomed her from the very beginning with violence and hateful rhetoric, an extension of the same anti-Jewish sentiment that plagued Europe. Yes, Israel was determined to cause her enemies lots of trouble. It’s a good thing that we have people on this planet who would defy those that point weapons. If that’s being a trouble maker, then sign me up.

Oct 29, 2010 3:06pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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