Over 10,000 people, supporters of Hamas as well as residents of Nablus, participated in a mass gathering at A-Najah University in Nablus on Monday, according to the Hamas website. The participants expressed their loyalty to Al-Aq’sa mosque and swore they would die defending the mosque and protecting it from harm.
The gathering was initiated by the Hamas student cell, Al-Kutla Al-Islamiyya [Islamic Bloc] under the banner “Al-Aq’sa – we are your fighters.” Reenactments of terror attacks carried out by the movement were portrayed during the gathering. Masked fighters reenacted the suicide attack carried out by ‘A’sim Rihan, former student of the university, near Immanuel in Samaria, in which 12 people were killed and dozens were wounded. The masked men also blew up models of buses and of a Merkava tank.
A rally of female Islamic students from Al-Kutla Al-Islamiyya followed. The students waved flags with Islamic slogans and posters supporting holy-war fighters, calling on them to continue their holy war and active resistance.
During the gathering Ahmad Al-Hajj ‘Ali, a Hamas leader in Nablus, made a speech in which he said the “Road Map is a life-boat sent by the U.S. to save the Zionist entity, and it aims to cause a split within the Palestinian people.” ‘Ali called on the Palestinian Authority not to fall for this trap, claiming the only map to take the Palestinians to their destination and preserve their unity and legitimate rights is the map of Jihad. ‘Ali also called for continuing the active resistance in a framework of an agreed upon plan and under a leadership which is united and prepared for a holy war and for martyrdom.
Another speaker at the gathering was Sheikh Hamid Al-Bitawi, Chairman of the Association of Religious Clerics in Palestine (an organization associated with Hamas), who is also one of the preachers of the Al-Aq’sa mosque. Al-Bitawi spoke of “the crimes of the Zionist occupation against Al-Aq’sa mosque since the start of the occupation, including barbaric massacres against its worshipers, burning of the mosque, excavating beneath its foundations and preventing many Palestinians from praying in it.” Al-Bitawi warned the Israeli government that any attempt to harm the Al-Aq’sa mosque will cause the annihilation of the occupying state. He sent his blessings to Sheikh Raid ‘Salah, leader of the northern wing of the Islamic Movement in Israel, who is being detained in Israel while awaiting a trial for allegedly assisting terror organizations.
Two plays were performed during the gathering. The first showed a group of children portraying Israeli soldiers standing at a military checkpoint while checking children’s school bags. The ‘soldiers’ tossed the schoolbooks on the ground, when suddenly Hamas fighters appeared, took revenge on the soldiers and restored the books to the children. The second play was shown towards the end of the gathering and showed the Road Map as a booby-trapped present, given by America to the Palestinian people.
A few weeks ago A-Najah University held an exhibition which included a model of the paradise to which shahids go after their deaths. According to Muslim belief, 72 virgins await a shahid who is killed in battle.