From Jerusalem Post Breaking News from Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World: Aug. 13, 2005 15:04 Updated Aug. 13, 2005 18:41 By ASSOCIATED PRESS GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip ...
In a show of force, Hamas founders and political leaders appeared Saturday on a stage together for the first time in 10 years to tell the Palestinian people that the militant group's armed struggle will go on after Israel's impending withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.
In a direct challenge to the Palestinian Authority, the Hamas leadership positioned itself in front of the group's logo and a green Islamic flag to send a message that they have the right to possess weapons and to claim responsibility for pushing Israel out of the Gaza Strip.
Flanked by four Hamas founders, Ismail Haniyye, a top Hamas leader told reporters in a Gaza city restaurant that the group will not lay down their guns. "Hamas remains committed to the choice of resistance as a strategic choice. Hamas remains committed to its military wing and its right to possess weapons," Haniyye said.
The Hamas news conference comes just a day after the Palestinian Authority held its first official celebration - in the attendance of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas - of Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and four West Bank settlements. Speakers at Friday's event made clear that all celebrations of the withdrawal would take place under the official Palestinian banner - the red, black, green and white flag - a warning to Hamas, which is planning military-style celebrations of its own.
Tensions between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas are heating up in the days just before Israel begins its withdrawal, with each trying to claim victory for Israel's evacuation of 25 settlements.
On Saturday, Hamas made clear that although it does not plan to battle with the Palestinian Authority, but will not accept Abbas' Fatah movement as the sole decision-making body in the government ...