Cii News | 05 Muharram 1436/19 October 2015

Visiting Hamas leader, Khaled Mishal has begun a working visit to South Africa, conveying a series of clear messages to the international community.

Mishal is hosted by the ANC, in a tour that will see him meet with representatives of the party, as well as solidarity organisations and members of parliament.

Speaking at a press briefing this afternoon alongside Gwede Manatashe, Secretary General of the ANC, Mishal appraised on developments inside Palestine, amid a recent escalation of tensions.

“What incited all of this brutality is the insistence of Zionist regime on division of Masjid al Aqsa and desecration of the Holy Site,” Mishal said.

Referring to the brutal Zionist clampdown on Palestinian activism particularly in Occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank, Mishal said the current Palestinian agitation represented the dawn of the 3rd Intifada.

“46 Palestinians have been brutally killed so far, and 1852 injured,” he reported.

It was an irony, the respected Hamas leader said, that Palestinian children throwing stones were becoming the the subject of lengthy jail terms and demolition of their family homes, whilst Israeli soldiers who killed with impunity were getting off scot free.

Mishal affirmed the right of Palestinians to armed resistance, asserting that this right was guaranteed by both Divine Law and International legislation.

“(This Intifada) will not end for Palestinians with the end of certain oppressive practices,” he said.

Palestinians today, he reported, were emboldened to get rid of the occupation and illegal settlements once and for all.

“This racist occupation should be put to an end,” he added.

Returning to the desecration of Masjid Al Aqsa, Mishal said Israel had hit a wrong nerve this time when it thought it could inflame tensions at Masjid al Aqsa

“I have underscored to many leaders the urgency of reigning Israel in, as it is playing with fire at Aqsa,” Mishal explained.

“It is  creating a timebomb that won’t only go off at Al Aqsa but will engulf the entire world, because this is not only a sacred space for the Muslim World, but the entire humanity”.

“Don’t play with Aqsa – Al Aqsa is our Aqsa. There is no right for Israel or Jews in it. Al Quds is ours and our capital. We will continue our struggle until we achieve total freedom from occupation”.

Busy Stay

Mishal is accompanied on his stay by fellow senior Hamas leaders Moosa Abou Marzouq and Mohammed Nazzal.

On Tuesday, the team will engage with a range of activists and representatives from civil and religious society.

On Wednesday, Marzouq will depart for Cape Town where he will meet with the international relations committee of parliament and speak to thousands of supporters at a public rally, arranged by the MJC.

The delegation met with ANC leader and South African president Jacob Zuma at Luthuli House earlier this morning where a Memorandum of Intent was signed between the two parties.

According to the ANC’s Mantashe, this agreement formalises relations between the two parties and establishes a basis for constructive engagement going forward.

While no firm commitments were made to each other by either party, Mantashe said the ANC’s engagements with Hamas and other Palestinian factions would educate its policy decisions.

For his part, Mishal said Hamas was confident that the ANC would take the correct stand in assisting the oppressed.