Palestinian terror group Hamas, which rules Gaza, on Sunday condemned remarks by an Arab Israeli coalition lawmaker indicating the Islamist Ra’am party would not bolt the government in the event of an Israeli military operation in the Strip.
MK Walid Taha made the comment in a Saturday interview with Channel 12’s “Meet the Press.” He is a member of Ra’am, which, like Hamas, is affiliated with the pan-Arab Muslim Brotherhood movement.
When asked what his party would do in the event of a war reminiscent of a flareup seen in May, Taha said: “We despise wars, no matter [if they are held by] the former, current or next government. What is the alternative? Let’s assume, God forbid, that there is a war with Gaza. So we have left the coalition, and then will the next government do good for Gaza?
“We want to have influence also over matters of peace and war,” he added.
On Sunday, Taha’s comments stirred controversy and he attempted to tone them down in an interview with Makan, the Kan public broadcaster’s Arabic-language radio.
“We won’t sit idly in the face of any war,” he said. “We cannot ignore such a situation and we don’t want it to happen, but we won’t preempt such a situation.”
But Hamas on Sunday evening lambasted Taha’s “hesitant declarations” on the matter.
A spokesperson for the terror group, Abdel Latif al-Qanou, said the remarks are a “national and moral misstep and attest to a disconnection from the Palestinian Arab identity.”
The comments “don’t express authenticity and don’t reflect our values,” he added.
Taha, who is the head of Ra’am’s Knesset faction, entered the Knesset in 2019.
He was selected earlier this month to chair the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, replacing his late colleague Said al-Harumi, who died last month.
Several right-wing committee members from the opposition had protested the selection and claimed that Taha is a terror supporter.
Al-Harumi died in late August after suffering a sudden heart attack while driving.