Ismail Haniyeh praises fighters in “Jerusalem’s intifada”

Julie Webb-Pullman

Ismail Haniyeh at Shifa Hospital with Ahmed Areer, 15, shot in the neck by Israeli military

Ismail Haniyeh at Shifa Hospital with Ahmed Areer, 15, shot in the neck by Israeli military

During a new year visit to Gaza’s Shifa Hospital patients injured in recent border clashes, Ismail Haniyeh on Thursday congratulated the Palestinian people for succeeding in resisting Israeli attempts to take over Jerusalem and the Al Aqsa Mosque, and gave special praise to the fighters in the streets and on the borders.

“We have seen a martyr fighting to the last – he knew he was about to die but he kept fighting until his very last breath,” he said. “Our people will not cease to defend our land, and Al Quds.”

Haniyeh spoke with most of the 25 patients still lying in Shifa Hospital beds with smashed limbs, gross abdominal explosive injuries, and head and neck wounds from direct Israeli fire over the past few weeks.

The other hospitals in the Gaza Strip are also dealing with the casualties of Israeli exceptionalism and impunity – and new forms of brutality. The latest Israeli trend is firing at the groin, resulting in devastating injuries – Al Aqsa Hospital received a young man this week whose penis and testicles had been shot off.

Nine Gazan youth have already lost their lives this month: the eldest only 22 years old, and three young boys under 16.

“Gaza is with those resisting for Al Aqsa,” Haniyeh said at the press conference following his visit to the surgical wing. “The message from our wounded is that Gaza, despite the distance and its deep suffering due to the siege and war, still stands behind the battle of Jerusalem, and that Gaza is in the heart of Jerusalem’s Intifada.”

Haniyeh also praised the medical staff, police and media for their exceptional work in treating, helping and covering these events.