Hamas is on a new offensive. This one is not fought with rockets and missiles, but words. With the gruesome murder of reporter James Foley last week, people are making the connection between the ideology of Hamas and that of ISIS. I posted this blog just before Foley’s execution. Benjamin Netanyahu minced no words when he made the obvious comparison:
“Hamas is ISIS. ISIS is Hamas, they’re the enemies of peace, they’re the enemies of Israel, [and of] of all civilized countries, and I believe they’re the enemies of the Palestinians themselves.” He added that Israel faces the “same savagery” that befell Foley, noting that Hamas is known to “wantonly rocket our cities and conduct mass killings, and when they can, they murder children, teenagers, shoot them in the head, throw people from the sixth floor, their own people, and use their people as human shields.”[i]
A Hamas official took issue with the comparison on twitter: “This is a cheap and deplorable attempt from Netanyahu to compare between the organizations. They aren’t fooling anybody.”[ii]
Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal went even further to explain the differences between ISIS and Hamas.
Mashaal stressed that Hamas differed from ISIS — which he called a “religious, violent group” that is a “totally different phenomenon” from Hamas — in that [Hamas] does not target civilians, aiming its rockets “most of the time” at military targets and IDF bases.
“This is an opportunity for me to say we are against the killing of any civilians, any journalists,”… Mashaal vowed that Hamas would, in the future, take measures to warn Israeli civilians of impending attacks, just as Israel does in the Gaza Strip.[iii]
And it was reported that Mashaal said all that with a straight face… Impressive!
Hamas is on a rebranding PR offensive to convince you that “Hamas is a national movement and its members are freedom fighters who are trying to liberate Palestine along with its citizens and their rights.”[iv]
Let’s examine these claims one by one.
1. Hamas is a liberation, freedom movement? Lie!
Hamas is not the PLO. And the PLO was not created to liberate Gaza or the West Bank, as they were in the hands of Egypt and Jordan (not Israel) when the PLO formed in 1964. They wanted to liberate Tel Aviv and Haifa—not Gaza! Hamas is a branch of the now-outlawed-in-Egypt Muslim Brotherhood—a radical Islamic terror group.
Mashall claims that Hamas is not seeking a caliphate (one large Islamic State) like ISIS, but is merely resisting the occupation. Zvi Mazel, former Israeli ambassador to Egypt and expert on foreign affairs, disagrees:
Hamas is a radical Islamic movement founded by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, with the express purpose of destroying Israel and establishing on the ruins of the Jewish state an Islamic state, which will go on fighting until it has restored a caliphate in the entire Middle East.[v]
2. Hamas does not target civilians with their rockets. Lie!
This is laughable. Just yesterday, as we were worshiping at the end of our service, sirens began to sound. We stopped the music and prayed. Then we heard several booms, indicating that the Iron Dome had taken out the Hamas rockets.
So, Hamas, that doesn’t target civilians, aimed its rockets at Tel Aviv, a city full of civilians, and shot. In fact, Hamas has not killed or injured even one soldier on duty[vi] with its rockets—only civilians including four-year-old Daniel Tragerman on Friday.
Hamas released a music video in Hebrew at the beginning of this war, meant to strike fear in all Israel. It has had the opposite effect and has become a summer hit and a favorite tune of Israeli soldiers. All laughs aside, the song calls on Palestinians to “eliminate all Zionists”—not just soldiers. It goes on to encourage Palestinians to “attack, carry out terror strikes.” By definition, terror acts target civilians. So again, Hamas is lying.
3. Hamas is concerned about the rights of Gazans. Lie!
Was Hamas concerned about the rights of the 18 suspected collaborators it executed on Friday? A witness said Hamas lined up seven men on a street and opened fire. Six were grabbed from a mosque. Eleven more were gunned down earlier in the day. Dozens of Muslim Arabs have been executed in the last month by Hamas.
But they were collaborators. Really? Without a trial? Without evidence? What about the dozens of tunnel diggers Hamas executed out of fear they may reveal tunnel locations to the “Zionist enemy”?
4. Unlike ISIS, Hamas is not a ‘religious, violent group.’ Lie!
Hamas has a religious police. They have turned Gaza into a Taliban-like prison. One female reporter was arrested for not wearing a hijab while swimming and for laughing in public. A young man was kidnapped and blindfolded. His crime? Using hair gel!
“I could hear the screams of people being beaten in the rooms next to me,” he recalled. “Two men held my legs down and tied them together on a wooden board then they beat the soles of my feet with a plastic rod. They beat me for at least five minutes. I was crying and screaming with agony. It was the worst pain I’ve ever felt.”
Afterwards, Hamas operatives shaved his head and dropped him off at home. He could not walk for three days.
Hamas seeks to impose a strict Sharia law on Gaza.
Jonathan Schanzer writes, that in the two years since the 2007 coup, the Gaza Strip has exhibited the characteristics of Talibanization, a process whereby the Hamas government has imposed strict rules on women, discouraged activities commonly associated with Western or Christian culture, oppressed non-Muslim minorities, imposed Sharia law, and deployed religious police to enforce these laws.[vii]
5. Hamas is against the killing of civilians and journalists. Lie!
Two months ago, three teenage boys were kidnapped and shot by Hamas operatives, which Hamas now admits. Mashaal would have you think that they were legitimate targets because they live in the West Bank. But even if you could make the ridiculous case that adults who live in the West Bank are actually ‘militants,’ these were children who did not live there by their own choice.
Michael Grynszpan recently met with a Spanish journalist coming out of Gaza.
He was very friendly. I asked him how come we never see on television channels reporting from Gaza any Hamas people, no gunmen, no rocket launchers, no policemen. We only see civilians on these reports, mostly women and children. He answered me frankly: “It’s very simple, we did see Hamas people launching rockets, they were close to our hotel, but if ever we dare pointing our camera on them they would simply shoot at us and kill us.”[viii]
6. Hamas Cares About the Common Palestinian. Lie!
We already shared how Hamas executed dozens of tunnel diggers. Yesterday they fired upon their own border crossing, injuring several Arabs! The crossing is used to transport wounded Gazans to Israeli hospitals where we treat them for free (once again, showing that our war is not against Gaza, but Hamas). However, they would prefer these people die than get treated in Israel. When Palestinians get help from Israel it makes Hamas look weak and incapable, and reveals Israel’s compassion. So to prevent that they fire on their own wounded!
But this should not be news. In the twisted logic of Hamas and its leader Khalid Mashaal, they are doing their Arab brothers a favor! See last part of this Hamas tweets (Al Qassam is the name of Hamas’ military wing) from just a few days ago.
We are continuing our struggle. ALLAH IS OUR GOAL, THE PROPHET IS OUR LEADER, JIHAD IS OUR WAY, AND DEATH FOR ALLAH IS OUR MOST EXALTED WISH
— Al-Qassam Brigades (@Qassam_English) August 16, 2014
No, Hamas has not changed—they are simply rebranding. They are trying to distance themselves from ISIS for one reason and one reason only. ISIS dared to reveal to the world how evil they are and Hamas prefers to keep it quiet. Nevertheless, ISIS is Hamas and Hamas is ISIS.
[vi] An off duty soldier was critically wounded on Friday.