TEL AVIV – A senior Hamas official on Monday attempted to walk back his call to “attack all Jews on the planet” after the terror group distanced itself from his comments.
Fathi Hammad, a Gaza-based member of the terror group’s politburo, said he supports “Hamas’s consistent, adopted policy of limiting its resistance to the Zionist occupation that usurps Palestine’s land and desecrates its holy sites,” according to a quote on Hamas’ website.
He added: “Our resistance to this usurping entity will continue in all of its forms whether that is armed or popular peaceful struggle.”
After Hammad’s comments were condemned by a Palestinian official and a UN envoy, among others, Hamas said in a statement that his words did not reflect its policy.
“These statements do not represent the movement’s official positions and consistent, adopted policies that stipulate that our conflict is with the occupation, which is occupying our land and sullying our holy sites, and not with Jews around the world or with Judaism as a religion,” Hamas said in an official statement posted on its website.
During a speech at Friday’s so-called March of the Return protests, Hammad warned that if the blockade of Gaza, imposed by Israel and Egypt for security reasons, is not lifted by July 19, “every Jew on the planet” should be killed.
“Our patience has run out. We are on the verge of exploding. If this siege is not undone, we will explode in the face of our enemies, with God’s permission and glory. The explosion is not only going to be in Gaza but also in the [West] Bank and abroad, if God wills,” Hammad said in the speech, which was broadcast on the Hamas-owned Al-Aqsa TV.
“But our brothers [in the diaspora] are still preparing. They are trying to prepare. They are warming up. A long time has passed with them warming up. All of you seven million Palestinians abroad, enough of the warming up. You have Jews everywhere and we must attack every Jew on the planet by way of slaughter and killing, if God permits. Enough of the warming up,” he added.
Hammad also warned that despite what Israel might think, Gazans are not rational, and that if they die they will do so honorably while “cutting off the heads of Jews and killing them with explosive belts,” which he said Hamas has been actively manufacturing in factories, according to a translation of his speech by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
Hammad, according to MEMRI, also urged Palestinians in the West Bank to purchase knives in order to “cut the necks of Jews,” saying that knives only cost five shekels.
“O, the people of the West Bank, until when will you be quiet?” he said. “We want knives to come out. Five shekels. How much does the neck of a Jew cost? Five shekels or less?”
“We will die while exploding and cutting the necks and legs of the Jews. We will lacerate them and tear them to pieces, Allah willing!” Hammad said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Arabic-language spokesman, Ofir Gendelman, tweeted Sunday that Israel would “use [Hammad’s comments] to garner support for us and reveal Hamas’s true face. Thanks Fathi!”
Hammad has in the past called Jews “cancer” and issued the warning, “We are coming to chop your heads off your necks!”
In July 2018, he called on Muslims to kill Zionist Jews. “O Muslims, wherever you find a Zionist Jew, you must kill him because that is an expression of your solidarity with the al-Aqsa Mosque and an expression of your solidarity with … your Jerusalem, your Palestine and … your people,” he said.
Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Hammad’s comments made him want to “vomit.”
“The just values of the Palestinian cause include love for freedom, justice and equality. The repugnant statement of Hamas leader Mr. Fathi Hammad about Jews doesn’t represent any of them,” Erekat tweeted. “Religion shouldn’t be used for political purposes.”
Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations special coordinator to the Middle East peace process, also slammed Hammad’s remarks as “repugnant.”
“A dangerous, repugnant and inciteful statement! It must to be clearly condemned by ALL. There can be no complacency with such rhetoric. Ever!” he tweeted on Monday.