Hamas co-founder admits ‘we are deceiving the public’ about peaceful protests
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Hamas co-founder admits ‘we are deceiving the public’ about peaceful protests

Mahmoud al-Zahar says Gaza border demonstrations are 'peaceful resistance bolstered by a military force and by security agencies'

Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar speaks to Al Jazeera on May 13, 2018. (Screen capture: MEMRI)
Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar speaks to Al Jazeera on May 13, 2018. (Screen capture: MEMRI)

A Hamas leader said in an interview that the terror group was “deceiving the public” when it spoke of “peaceful resistance” a day before 60 people were killed in violent protests on the Gaza border, according to a translation released by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) Wednesday.

Speaking to Qatar’s Al Jazeera network on Sunday, Mahmoud al-Zahar, the co-founder of Hamas and a senior member of the terror group’s leadership, said that his group was using “clear terminological deception.”

He was asked why Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, which dominates the Palestinian Authority, could not agree on a united platform since “Hamas is employing the same peaceful resistance that has been advocated by Fatah since day one and for many years.”

In reply Al-Zahar said, “This is a clear terminological deception.”

Senior Hamas Official Mahmoud Al-Zahhar on Gaza Protests: This Is Not Peaceful Resistance, It Is Supported by Our Weapons

Senior Hamas Official Mahmoud Al-Zahhar on Gaza Protests: This Is Not Peaceful Resistance, It Is Supported by Our WeaponsSenior Hamas Official Mahmoud Al-Zahhar said that Hamas was employing "peaceful resistance bolstered by a military force and by security agencies, and enjoying tremendous popular support." Speaking on Al-Jazeera on May 13, Al-Zahhar, former foreign minister in the Hamas government, said that the option of armed struggle has not diminished. "On the contrary, it is growing and developing," he said.

Posted by The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) on Tuesday, 15 May 2018

“This is not peaceful resistance. Has the option (of armed struggle) diminished? No. On the contrary, it is growing and developing. That’s clear,” he said. “So when we talk about ‘peaceful resistance,’ we are deceiving the public. This is a peaceful resistance bolstered by a military force and by security agencies, and enjoying tremendous popular support.”

Another Hamas official on Wednesday acknowledged that 50 of the 62 Palestinians reported killed during Gaza border riots on Monday and Tuesday were members of the Islamist terrorist group, bringing the total number of known members of terror groups among the fatalities up to 53.

Al-Zahar also boasted in the interview of Hamas’s weaponry and military capabilities.

“When you are in possession of weapons that were able to withstand the occupation [Israel] in the wars of 2006, 2008, 2012 and 2014… When you have weapons that are being wielded by men who were able to prevent the strongest army in the region from entering the Gaza Strip for 51 days, and were able to capture or kill soldiers of that army – is this really ‘peaceful resistance’?” he asked.

The Hamas leader also slammed Fatah for what he indicated he considered to be its genuine peaceful resistance, claiming this was not what the Palestinians wanted.

“As for (Fatah’s) ‘peaceful resistance,’ it consists of rallies, demonstrations, protests, pleas and requests in order to improve the terms of the negotiations, or to enable talks with the Israeli enemy,” he said. “This deception does not fool the Palestinian public.”

Palestinian demonstrators burn tires near the Gaza-Israel border, east of Gaza City, during protests over the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018 (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)

Israel has blamed Hamas for the deadly Gaza violence, saying the terror group encouraged and led the protests, which included attacks on Israeli troops and attempts to breach the border fence. The IDF had said Sunday that Hamas planned to send armed terrorists through any breach in the fence to “massacre” Israelis.

Last Thursday, Hamas’s Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar said he hoped to see a mass breach of the Israeli border during Monday’s protests timed to coincide with the US embassy’s move to Jerusalem.

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