15 December 2009
Tens of thousands of Palestinians turned out in the Gaza Strip to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the founding of the Islamist terrorist movement Hamas. Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, said his organization would not recognize Israel and would not stop fighting against the Jewish state. Supporters filled the streets, waving banners and portraits of Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.
Haniyeh said Hamas would not compromise with Israel: "We will never give up on a Palestine from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea, a land of Islamic Waqf [religious endowment]," Haniyeh said. "It is not enough for Hamas to liberate Gaza... Hamas strives to liberate all of Palestine," he told thousands of cheering supporters.
Hamas has controlled Gaza since routing the rival Palestinian Fatah faction from there in June 2007. It is currently engaged in tense mediated negotiations with Israel over the fate of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, held in Gaza since June 2006.
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