Head of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniyeh said on Sunday that Palestinians do not intend to leave their country nor intend to settle in Sinai.
During his Eid sermon, Haniyeh said that the Palestinians will hold on to Gaza. “We will not settle in Sinai or anywhere East or West,” he said. “Gaza is an integral part of Palestine. No to an alternative homeland, migration or resettlement.”
Concerns that Gaza Palestinians would be resettled in Sinai to repopulate the deserted peninsula, which has housed pockets of radical militancy, have been coupled with both Egyptians and Palestinians repeatedly expressing their lack of interest in such a solution.
Haniyeh stressed that the will of the Palestinian people in Gaza is not broken. They have not made concessions, he said, even under the unjust siege.
He expressed his government's willingness to cooperate with Egypt to protect the common interests.
Haniyeh offered the condolences of the government and the people of Palestine to Egypt after an attack on a checkpoint near the border town of Rafah led to the death of 16 Egyptian soldiers and the injury of seven others.
Haniyeh called on Palestinians to think well of the Arab and Islamic peoples, saying that peoples have nothing to do with the policies of ruling regimes.
Edited translation from MENATags: Gaza Palestinians, Ismail Haniyeh, Gaza Strip