TEL AVIV — Hamas politburo member Khali Elhayeh called on Arab countries not to confuse terrorism with “resistance” in a sermon for al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of the month of Ramadan.
The sermon, in which the Hamas official clearly tried to justify terrorism targeting Israelis and pass it off as “resistance,” was the main al-Fitr event in the Gaza Strip, attended by Hamas leaders and tens of thousands of others.
Elhayeh asked Arab countries “not to confuse Islam with extremism. Resistance isn’t terror. It is not violence or extremism; it is a legitimate right permitted according to all laws.”
Hamas has used the term “resistance” to refer to suicide bombings, shootings and rocket attacks targeting Israeli civilians.
The Hamas official claimed that the “enemies of the people” are exploiting extremism to distort the image of Islam. “The extremism our enemies are talking about, which is meant to distort Islam, does not correspond to the resistance and the struggle to liberate the homeland.”
In the same sentence, the Hamas official gave a shout out to Qatar, “which continues to aid our people in the Gaza Strip and in all areas of life.”
The Hamas official’s comments regarding “resistance” indirectly referred to the list of demands handed to Qatar by Arab states that broke their ties with the small kingdom — a list that included the demand to end Qatari support for Hamas.
Hamas must delicately maneuver between the Arab countries that support it like Qatar and countries demanding the end of aid to the terror organization, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt. Hamas’ media outlets in recent days emphasized a letter sent by Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh to Saudi King Salman just days after the publication of the list of demands. The letter expressed well wishes to the royal family, the government and the Saudi people during the holiday.
Meanwhile, a Hamas official told Breitbart Jerusalem that the movement’s leadership is continually engaged in feverish discussion in order to withstand the Arab attempt to harm Qatari and Arab support for Hamas.
According to the official, “We don’t know what the consequences will be, but we believe that the leadership may need to entirely vacate Qatar. In any case, the resistance will always know how to find channels of support to aid in the struggle against the occupation.”
The official denied that he was referring to Iran. Last Friday, however, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ so-called military wing, marked Iran’s Quds Day, an anti-Israel festival, saying that it was the best day to repair the state of the Muslim community “and to turn it into a quality turning point in the struggle to liberate Jerusalem.”