Hamas Chief: Rebel against the 'Occupation'

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Gaza-based Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh called on all Palestinian Arabs to rebel against what he called the Israeli "occupation."

Hamas openly calls for the destruction of Israel and wants to replace Israel with an Islamic state.

In a message posted Thursday on Hamas' al-Qassam website, Haniyeh called on Palestinians to use the "language of rebellion" against Israel instead of against one another -- a reference to the rift between its faction and the Palestinian Authority's Fatah faction in the West Bank.

"Palestine is the homeland of all Palestinians and Gaza was liberated by its people," Haniyeh said. "It belongs to them and to all the Palestinians everywhere," said the Hamas chief, who still refers to himself as prime minister, a position he held for three months before his faction took control of Gaza from its Fatah rivals in the spring of 2007.

Haniyeh stressed that "liberation of the country [i.e., getting rid of Israel] can only be achieved with the unity and the end of division" and called on the Fatah government in Ramallah to reopen "all institutions that were closed in the West Bank, as they were reopened in the Gaza Strip.

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