Palestinian Islamic Jihad group says calm with Israel is conditional on ending blockade on Gaza
During a protest organised on the anniversary of the death of PIJ founder Fathy al-Sheqaqi, Secretary-General Ziyad al-Nakhala said in a recorded speech that "ending the blockade is our legal right and it is not a favour from anyone nor an issue subjected to political negotiation and blackmailing."
"The Israeli blockade is a crime and an open war against the Palestinian people in Gaza. It must be ended without pledges or concessions," the PIJ leader said.
Israel has long been demanding that Gaza-based factions disarm as a condition to lift the blockade and reach a peace agreement. The Hamas movement, which rules over the coastal enclave, has been reportedly in indirect talks with Israel, announcing its intention to commit to a long-term ceasefire in exchange for the end of the blockade.
Nakhala also stressed that Palestinians must be allowed to reconstruct what had been destroyed in May in a 11-day large-scale Israeli military operation. A ceasefire was agreed on May 29. On August 25 Israel eased some restrictions on Gaza by allowing building materials into the strip. Tel Aviv stressed that these concessions would be conditional on maintaining security.
On May 10 Israel started a military campaign on Gaza after a barrage of rockets had been launched from the blockaded strip. These were fired in response to Israel's alleged violations at Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque, a holy Muslim site. During the wave of fierce fighting, Israeli warplanes carried out hundreds of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, home to nearly two million people.
The latest war was the fourth large-scale Israeli offensive launched against the coastal enclave between 2008 and 2021. All of them were ended thanks to UN and Egyptian mediation.