By Hidayah al-Saidi
GAZA CITY, Palestine
Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has vowed to pursue resistance to end Israel's decades-long occupation of Palestinian lands.
"Resistance is our strategic choice to achieve aspirations of our people for freedom," Haniyeh said in an address during a visit on Wednesday to the house of Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin in Gaza City to mark the 13th anniversary of his death.
Yassin was killed in an Israeli airstrike in 2004 as the chair-wheeled leader was en route to a mosque in eastern Gaza Strip to perform the dawn prayers.
Haniyeh said the Palestinian resistance was "unbreakable".
"The resistance has survived three Israeli wars on the Gaza Strip," he said.
"The accumulation of force in Gaza is not meant to only defend the strip, but also to defend Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque."
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Haniyeh reiterated that his group will not abandon a "single inch" from Palestine.
"Gaza is part of Palestine and there will be no Palestinian state without Gaza and there will be no state without whole Palestine."
Meanwhile, Haniyeh called for ending the inter-Palestinian rift and achieving national reconciliation.
"We are seeking to achieve reconciliation, end the rift, build a unified political system and draft a national program," he said.
In April of 2014, Hamas and rival Fatah group of President Mahmoud Abbas signed a reconciliation agreement that called for the formation of a Palestinian unity government tasked with overseeing Palestinian legislative and presidential polls.
Although the unity government was unveiled two months later, it has yet to take on a governing role in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, while the relationship between Hamas and Fatah remains beset by a host of outstanding differences.