DAMASCUS, (PIC)-- Ezzat Al-Resheq, a member of the political bureau of Hamas, has castigated the attempts to obstruct Gaza pilgrims from returning to their homeland after having completed the Hajj rituals in Saudi Arabia, considering that the stipulated return of pilgrims through the Israeli-controlled Awja crossing would enable the IOF troops to arrest some of the pilgrims.
"We strongly reject punishing the homeward-bound Gaza pilgrims, and we do not accept any justification or excuses threatening their safety and security," Resheq confirmed on Friday in an exclusive statement to the PIC.
The Jordanian authorities had informed the Gaza pilgrims, who are stranded at the Jordanian port of Aqaba, that Egypt had set the condition that they sign undertakings to return through the Awja crossing.
The pilgrims, however, confirm that they are determined to return to their homes through the Rafah border crossing and that they will be staying in the buses until their return via Rafah crossing is ensured.
The Hamas leader also underlined that the issue is now subject to the two governments of Jordan and Egypt, expressing the confidence that Egypt and Jordan will not respond to the Zio-American pressures, which are also approved by the PA leadership after it had expressed its rejection of the pilgrims' departure through the Rafah crossing.
The Hamas leader pointed out that more than 2,000 pilgrims, most of them elderly, sick or disabled, were now stranded, warning of the repercussions of their waiting after the death of an aged female pilgrim called Shafiqa Al-Buhaisi, 62.
He appealed to the UN, the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and all worldwide human rights organizations to intervene to stop the suffering of those pilgrims, pointing out that the caretaker government is conducting calls with Egypt to ensure their safe return through the Rafah crossing.
For his part, Ahmed Bahar, the acting speaker of the PLC appealed on Friday, in a press release received by the PIC, to Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to issue a verdict as soon as possible to allow thousands of stranded Gaza pilgrims to return to their homes through the Rafah crossing, hailing at the same time the good efforts exerted by Egyptian authorities to facilitate the travel of Gaza pilgrims to perform Hajj rituals in Makkah.
For his part, MP Khalil Al-Hayya, a Hamas prominent leader who is among the stranded pilgrims, affirmed on behalf of Hamas its rejection of the Egyptian decision which binds the Gaza pilgrims to sign undertakings to return through the Awja crossing, calling on the Egyptian leadership not to pressure the pilgrims because of external pressures.