Hamas Holds Military Parade

Hamas Holds Military ParadeHamas Holds Military Parade

Hamas paraded some 2,000 of its armed fighters and truck-mounted rockets through Gaza on Sunday, marking its 27th anniversary with its biggest show of force since the end of the Gaza war this summer.

A ceasefire in August halted 50 days of fighting with Israel in which local health officials said more than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed. Israel put the number of its dead at 67 soldiers and six civilians, according to Reuters.

At the parade, a senior Hamas leader reaffirmed the movement’s founding charter’s pledge to destroy Israel.

Abu Ubaida, the spokesman for al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas), said another confrontation with Israel might be inevitable unless tens of thousands of homes damaged or destroyed in the Gaza Strip in last summer’s conflict are rebuilt soon.

“We will accept no less than the rebuilding of everything that was destroyed by the savage Zionist aggression,” said the masked spokesman.

Palestinians have voiced disappointment over the slow pace of reconstruction and a limited flow of building material into Gaza since international donors pledged more than $5 billion in October.

Trucks carrying what Hamas said were three-long range rockets, and other vehicles with multiple-launcher rockets drove in the parade. A drone with Hamas markings was on one flatbed truck, and another unmanned aircraft, identified by the group as one of its own, flew overhead, as did an Israeli fighter jet.

During the war, Hamas long-range rockets disrupted daily life in Israel’s major cities.

  Netanyahu Rejects Palestinian Ultimatum

Meanwhile Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday rejected any Palestinian attempt to set an ultimatum through a UN Security Council resolution for Israel to end its occupation.

“We will not accept attempts to dictate to us unilateral moves on a limited timetable,” he said in a statement before heading for Rome to meet US Secretary of State John Kerry.

The Palestinians on Sunday announced they would present a draft resolution to the Security Council on Wednesday setting a two-year deadline for Israel to withdraw from occupied Palestinian territories.

Kerry and Netanyahu were to meet later Monday to discuss the vote, with the US expected to veto the draft.