On December 12-14, 2014, Hamas celebrated its 27th anniversary with numerous marches and rallies throughout the Gaza Strip, attended by tens of thousands of people. The central rally in the north of the Strip was reportedly attended by nearly 100,000. The anniversary celebrations also included a large military parade by Hamas' military wing, the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades.
Senior Hamas officials who spoke at the marches and rallies stressed that the movement would never recognize the Zionist entity or be satisfied with a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, and called for continuing on the path of resistance and jihad until all of Palestine, from the river to the sea, is liberated. Al-Qassam Brigades spokesman Abu 'Ubaida thanked Iran for providing Hamas with funds, weapons and missiles and thus helping it to build its army, with its many advanced units. He also declared that Hamas would soon bring about the release of Palestinian prisoners through prisoner-exchange deals.
At the same time, the speakers warned of an impending "explosion" if Gaza does not receive the recovery funds it was promised. They did not spare the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its leaders from their criticism, calling them "traitors" and urging the people of the West Bank to rise up against them.
It should be noted that Hamas political bureau head Khaled Mash'al was conspicuous in his absence at the anniversary celebrations, whereas senior officials Mahmoud Al-Zahhar and Al-Qassam Brigades spokesman Abu 'Ubaida were conspicuously involved and publicly participating. A recorded speech by Mash'al was to be broadcast at a mass rally in Hebron, but this rally was canceled following intervention by the PA and Israeli security apparatuses. A special interview with Mash'al on the occasion of the anniversary was posted on the website of Hamas' mouthpiece Al-Risalah.
The following are translated excerpts from speeches by Hamas officials and photos from various rallies and marches and from the military parade:
From video of Gaza military parade (source: Youtube.com/watch?v=ojmbZwamO4s, December 12, 2014)
Mahmoud Al-Zahhar: Palestine Stretches From Egypt To Lebanon, And From Jordan To The Sea, We Will Establish Our Rule Over The West Bank
Speaking at a December 12 rally in Khan Younes, Hamas political bureau member Mahmoud Al-Zahhar said: "Anyone who thinks that we will recognize the existence of the [Zionist] entity or the 1967 borders is deluded... Palestine stretches from the Egyptian border in the south to Lebanon in the north, and from Jordan in the east to the Mediterranean sea in the west, and we will never recognize anything less than this." He added: "If part of our land is liberated, we will establish our state in that part without relinquishing even an inch of the rest. Just as we liberated Gaza and established a genuine administration in it, [with] an army and security apparatuses that defend us, rather than the Israeli enemy [unlike those of the PA], we will do the same in the West Bank, as a prelude to attaining all of Palestine."
Al-Zahhar called to grant freedom of action to the people in the West Bank, "who invent means of resistance that the occupation never imagined, such as vehicular [attacks] and stabbings." He also harshly attacked the PA and its president, accusing them of treason against the Palestinian people, saying: "The West Bank is suffering from two conflicts: [a conflict] with the Israeli enemy, which is directing its weapons at its face, and [another conflict] with the PA, which is stabbing it in the back while purporting to govern Palestine... Al-Zahhar called on the people of the West Bank to "get rid of the traitors first, so that we can get rid of the occupation." He also urged Fatah "to become real partners in the liberation of Palestine, and [steer] clear of [intra-Palestinian] squabbling."
Mahmoud Al-Zahhar speaking at the rally (Alresalah.ps. December 12, 2014)
Salah Bardawil: We Adhere To Jihad And Resistance Until Liberation
In his speech at a rally in the central Gaza Strip, Senior Hamas official Salah Bardawil said: "We renew our promise and our oath of loyalty to the blood of [our] martyrs the illustrious leaders, [promising] to continue the path of jihad and resistance until [the attainment of] victory and liberation." He noted that "Hamas, along with other Palestinian dignitaries from among the [Palestinian] people, preserved the national capabilities from destruction and succeeded in withstanding all those who schemed to eliminate the Palestinian people's just cause..."
In an exclusive statement to the Hamas mouthpiece Al-Risalah on the occasion of the movement's 27th anniversary, Bardawil said that Hamas still has considerable surprises up its sleeve, which it will unveil at the suitable time, following the surprises it already unveiled in the latest Israeli war against Gaza, which was won by the resistance. He added that Hamas would not run out of surprises as long as it adheres to the path of resistance and of defending the Palestinians' rights, and as long as it refuses to shackle the weapons of the resistance to some negotiations with the Israeli side. He said further: "Every day, the Al-Qassam Brigades... unveil a new surprise, which reflects the movement's method of struggle against the occupation and its army."
Banners announcing the anniversary celebrations: On left: the Dome of the Rock, a Hamas fighter carrying a kidnapped Israeli soldier, and Hamas missiles, with the caption "Persistence in Truth and Resistance'; on right: call to join the "100,000- man demonstration in the northern Gaza Strip" (images: Facebook.com/OmamhPalestine)
Fathi Hammad: Kerry's Anti-Hamas Coalition Will Fail
Fathi Hammad, a former interior minister in Hamas' government in Gaza, said in his speech: "'The Gaza Strip experienced three wars in succession, and despite this the Palestinian people's will remains unbroken." He emphasized that Hamas' resistance has altered the balance of power vis-a-vis the occupation, moving the war from the stage of defense to the stage of offense."
In response to remarks by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to the Saban Forum on December 7, 2014, about "the ability to create a new regional alliance" against Hamas and other extremist movements, Hammad said: "The more powerful the alliance [against us] and the siege [upon us] grows, so our victory will be magnified, and this referendum [apparently the mass rally] about jihad, resistance and preparation for the next battles is proof of this..." He added: "Hamas's makeup and structure will liquefy the security coordination, and the West Bank will rise up against its jailers and the collaborators within it..."
He said further: "We will attain the rehabilitation [of Gaza] by force of arms, and if there is no rehabilitation, an explosion will come... Thousands joined the Al-Qassam Brigades since the last Gaza war,... The West Bank will [also] rise up [in an intifada] against the occupation, and the resistance in Jerusalem must be intensified." 
Marches In Gaza Marking Hamas' 27th Anniversary
Images: Facebook.com/palinfo, Facebook.com/paldf, December 12, 2014.
The Al-Qassam Brigades Military Parade
On December 14, 2014, the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades held a large military parade in Gaza, the first since the conflict in Gaza this summer. Al-Qassam's various units were paraded, as well as its weapons, including the locally produced long-range R-160 and J-80 rockets and Iranian Ababil UAVs, one of which was flown during the parade.
Images: palinfo.com, facebook.com/palinfo, facebook.com/feelsteen, December 14, 2014;Abna.ir, December 14, 2014.
Al-Qassam Brigades Spokesman: We Thank Iran For Providing Us With Funds, Weapons And Missiles, And Also Qatar And Turkey
'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades Spokesman Abu 'Ubaida, who spoke at the close of the military parade, said: "The history of Hamas and its fighting brigades paint a glorious picture of manufacturing and preparing weapons and carving through rock in order to resist the occupation and hurt it. Now, after many years, this picture has yielded the Al-Qassam army that you and the world can see, with its fighting units that participated in today's impressive parade: the artillery unit, the naval unit, the commando unit, the tunnel unit, the sniper unit, the armored unit, the infantry unit and the air defense unit. These are not [just] names and labels; these are fighting units that vanquished the enemy on the threshold of Gaza, shattered its baseless arrogance and humiliated their foes on the ground, in the sea and in the air, with the help of Allah the Almighty...
"Since Allah graced us with this development [of the Al-Qassam Brigades], and with this victory and this humiliation of the enemy, we have only to thank those whom Allah enlisted to take part in this development... first and foremost the Islamic Republic of Iran, which did not withhold from us funds, weapons and other [forms of aid] and helped us in our resistance by supplying us with missiles that pulverized the Zionist strongholds during the attacks and battles we waged against the occupier, and also supplied us with quality anti-tank missiles that crushed the legendary Zionist Merkava [tank].
"We also thank on behalf of the resistance all the figures, organizations and countries, both Arab and Muslim, and [other] dignitaries worldwide, who helped our people and supported the Palestinian cause, especially Qatar and Turkey..."
Later in his speech, Abu 'Ubaida implied that Hamas would act to release Palestinian prisoners through prisoner-exchange deals: "A word to the heroic prisoners among us [who are incarcerated] today, and to their families: The 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades have committed themselves before Allah and have sworn to him and to you that your freedom is only a matter of time, and that the day you will see the light of freedom is now closer than ever. Do not tire yourselves thinking of numbers and quantities, about the living and the dead, about the body and bodies [to be exchanged], about how and when...
"To the Zionists we say: Yes, you have arrested 54 of the people who were released in the 'Loyalty to the Free' deal [i.e., the Shalit deal], and your oppressive courts once again sentenced them to life and to many years' [imprisonment]. You can sentence them to as many years and to as many life sentences as you want. You did not choose the day of their release the first time around, and you will not choose it now. These heroes and others will not be released at the juncture that you think and plan. The day will come soon, Allah willing. We say to you: the gang known as the Knesset has passed a ridiculous decision to prevent the release of prisoners... It thinks its decision will be more than a piece of paper, but as far as we are concerned, it is not worth the ink it is written in. Oh gullible people, the Al-Qassam Brigades advise you to start looking for an honorable way out of this miserable decision, otherwise we promise you that the same hands that voted in favor of this decision will vote again to cancel it...
"As for you, Zionist public, your leadership and those who coordinate with it [i.e. the PA] aim to thwart the rehabilitation of Gaza. We say to them again: when we and our people run out of patience, the repercussions will be felt by the public and the leadership of the enemy. We warn you of the moment of explosion. Our people have taught the enemy that [this explosion] is never in its favor."
Hamas Political Bureau Member Khalil Al-Hayyah: Resistance Will Spread Throughout Occupied Palestine, The West Bank And Jerusalem
Hamas public political bureau member Khalil Al-Hayyah also threatened that armed resistance would erupt throughout Palestine: "The prisoners are the apple of our eye and our life's breath. If the enemy evades agreements we know how to obligate him to honor them, just as we obligated him to honor previous agreements." Al-Hayyah emphasized that his movement would accept nothing less than Gaza's rehabilitation and the lifting of the siege, and warned of the approaching explosion. He added: "We will wage resistance throughout occupied Palestine, in the West Bank and Jerusalem. It will be concentrated in the West Bank, and Gaza will continue supporting and kindling resistance until all Palestine has been liberated. Zionists and the occupation have no place on [even] an inch of Palestine or Jerusalem, the unified capital of Palestine"
Mash'al In Skype Interview With 'Al-Risalah' Editorial Board: Confrontation With Occupation Must Be Waged In Gaza, The West Bank, The 1948 Areas, And Even In The Diaspora
As part of the events marking the anniversary of Hamas' establishment, Hamas political bureau head Khaled Mash'al gave a filmed interview to the website of Hamas' mouthpiece Al-Risalah. In it, he expressed readiness to reach an intra-Palestinian agreement on the struggle's strategy but said that as long as no such agreement was reached, "Hamas would continue to adhere to resistance in all its forms, first and foremost armed resistance, and would not cease to build up the resistance on the West Bank." Mash'al noted that "the creativity of the resistance and the Al-Qassam Brigades is unlimited and Gaza in particular furnishes a model for overcoming obstacles in its path, and stressed, "The confrontation with the occupation must not be confined to Gaza alone, but it is the responsibility of the Palestinian people and everyone - in the West Bank, in Jerusalem, and the occupied [1948 areas of the] interior and even in the diaspora areas."
Senior Hamas Official Criticizes The Celebrations: We Are Fed Up With Partisan Slogans
There were also those who criticized the anniversary celebrations. Senior Hamas official Dr. Ahmad Yousuf, who lives in the West Bank and has in recent years been critical of the movement, wrote on his Facebook page: "Hamas [recently] announced that it had canceled its annual rally. We welcomed this [news] and said, 'Well done, Hamas.' Following this, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine [also] canceled its rally and we said, thank God, everybody has started thinking about the suffering of the residents in the devastated areas ... And then, all of a sudden, Hamas [held] celebrations in more than four areas and with processions indistinguishable from the main rally! The question remains: if Fatah asks to hold a similar procession, will the security apparatuses allow it, or will they obstruct it?...
"I say again, spare us all this partisan activity and give us a national spectacle that will heal the wounds [via intra-Palestinian reconciliation]. We are fed up with partisan slogans, partisan colors, partisan voices and partisan weapons. This is everyone's homeland and our national program is one. Don't distort its melodies. We love everyone who is in it. May Allah forgive us and guide us on the proper path."
 Palinfo.com, December 12, 2014;Paltimes.net, December 12, 2014.
 Palinfo.com, December 14, 2014.
 It should be mentioned that Palestinian President Mahmoud 'Abbas recently called Hamas "liars" in an interview with the Egyptian daily Akhbar Al-Yawm. See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 5898, "'Abbas In Interview: Six Million Refugees Want To Return, And I Am One Of Them; Hamas And The MB Are Liars; Hillary Clinton Phoned Me And Asked Me To Persuade President Mubarak To Step Down," December 5, 2014.
 Palinfo.com, December 12, 2014.
 Alresalah.ps, December 14, 2014.
 Palinfo.com, December 12, 2014.
 Paltimes.net, December 12, 2014.
 Alresalah.ps, December 14, 2014.
 State.gov, December 7, 2014.
 Felesteen.ps, December 12, 2014.
 Paltimes.net, December 12, 2014.
 Palinfo.com, December 14, 201; Felesteen.ps, December 15, 2014.
 Palinfo.com, December 14, 2014.
 Almoslim.net, December 14, 2014; Al-Hayat (London), December 15, 2014.
 Al-Resalah.ps, December 14, 2014.
 Al-Hayat (London), December 15, 2014