This is a cross-post from Just Journalism.
Following the comments made last Wednesday by Hamas’ foreign minister, Mahmoud Zahar, reiterating that the Islamist group would never recognise Israel, further statements by senior figures have emerged that also highlight the group’s extreme ideology.
The Hamas cleric Yunis Al-Astal, who is a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, argued that:
‘All the predators, all the birds of prey, all the dangerous reptiles and insects, and all the lethal bacteria are far less dangerous than the Jews.’
According to Memri, Al-Astal made the comments on Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV channel on 11 May, expressing his belief that Allah had brought Jews to Palestine in order to ‘relieve humanity of their evil’:
‘The [Jews] are brought in droves to Palestine so that the Palestinians – and the Islamic nation behind them – will have the honour of annihilating the evil of this gang.’
‘In just a few years, all the Zionists and the settlers will realize that their arrival in Palestine was for the purpose of the great massacre, by means of which Allah wants to relieve humanity of their evil.’
The translation of Al-Astal’s words comes the day after Ismail Haniyeh, the incumbent leader in Gaza, told hundreds of Palestinians to ‘pray for the end of the state of Israel’. According to official website of Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades:
‘The Zionist project in Palestine must end,’ Haniya told participants at the dawn prayers at al-Omari Mosque, as Palestinians were marking Nakba Day.’
Haniyeh’s comments were widely cited during the coverage of the Nakba protests, which saw hundreds of Palestinians in various locations stream towards Israel’s borders. Notably, there was no mention of his statement in any of Harriet Sherwood’s coverage for The Guardian, despite her authoring five different articles on the subject for the broadsheet.