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Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Rantisi: Retreat from Gaza is a big victory for Palestinian resistance

JPost: Hamas said on Monday that it would continue its attacks on Israel even after the planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in order to "liberate the rest of Palestine."

Rantisi said he believed Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was serious about evacuating all the settlements from the Gaza Strip. "Today he [Sharon] knows that it is safer for him to run away from the hell of the Gaza Strip," he added. "He realizes that remaining in the Gaza Strip is going to cost him a lot. There is no doubt that this retreat from the Gaza Strip is a big victory for the Palestinian resistance. It is also an indication that the armed resistance is the only option the Palestinians possess."

Asked if Hamas would cease its attacks on Israel after the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, Rantisi said: "The Zionist withdrawal from the Gaza Strip does not mean the end of the Palestinian tragedy. There can be no ceasefire until we achieve all our goals. Palestine, in general, and the West Bank in particular, remain occupied, Jerusalem continues to be desecrated and thousands of our prisoners are still behind bars. All this means that the resistance will continue and it will not stop with the retreat of the Zionists from the Gaza Strip. On the contrary, it will enhance the resistance operations. The armed wing [of Hamas] has its own methods to chase the enemy after they flee from the Gaza Strip."

JPost: The voice of Dr. Muhammad Deif, both Hamas' co-founder and top bomb maker, who tops Israel's most wanted list, was heard on a recorded tape for the first time since he escaped an IAF targeted strike in September 2002, reported Channel 2 on Monday.

"We began to hear from the crazy Sharon, who always claimed Netzarim as his home town, talking about withdrawing from the whole of the Gaza Strip," Deif was heard saying.

"Israel's fall is near, with Allah's help, and it is closer than they imagine. We will see victory with our very own eyes. Martyrdom is the ultimate desire of Palestine's elderly, young, and female young" the Hamas fugitive said.

Deif declared that Hamas engineers will persist perfecting explosive devices and rockets, that the organization receives hundreds of volunteer suicide-bombers, including entire families, and that the number of joint operations with other Palestinian groups will increase.

Maariv/Hebrew only: Deif made clear that Hamas' Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades makes no distinction between the two sides of the "green line." "There is no difference between our land that was conquered in 1948 and that which was conquered in 1967," he said.