A senior member of the Hamas terror group which governs the Gaza Strip gave an address last week in which he called to rid “Palestine of the filth of the Jews” and vowed it would happen by 2022.
In a video of the July 12 rally, aired on Al-Jazeera and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, former Hamas interior minister Fathi Hammad said: “We are looking forward to two important things which are within sight.”
The first was “the cleansing of Palestine of the filth of the Jews, and their uprooting from it,” which he promised would happen imminently. “Four years, my brothers… By 2022 we will be rid of them,” he said.
The second goal Hammad called for was the establishment of an Islamic caliphate “once the nation has been healed of its cancer — the Jews.”
Speaking a day before an IDF officer was wounded when a grenade was hurled at him by Palestinian assailants and a 15-year-old Palestinian was killed during clashes at the Gaza border fence, Hammad described the weekly “March of Return” protests against Israel as peaceful, but vowed violence.
“The fact that we participate in the peaceful March of Return does not mean that we have abandoned the military path of jihad,” he said. “Our finger is on the trigger and our plants are operating and working day and night. Every day we invent something new, using all our strength, our nerves, our bones and our flesh. Every day we manufacture more military power.”
He claimed that Israel was “terrified” of war with Palestinian terror groups including Hamas’s Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades and “our brothers in other factions.”
Hammad also claimed that Israel controlled some of the Arab states, and called for a second Arab Spring, “which will focus on the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Allah willing. We are your embers and your fuel, Allah willing.”
A day later, in a rally broadcast on the Hamas-owned Al-Aqsa TV channel, Hammad threatened Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.
“We say, facing this challenge with courage and bravery: We are coming for you Netanyahu. We are coming for you Liberman,” he said. “We are coming to chop your heads off your necks. We are coming to chop off that entity and to destroy that army, which our prophet [Muhammad] informed us that we would defeat.”
The following day, over the course of approximately 24 hours, Hamas fired some 200 rockets and mortar shells at southern Israel, while Israel bombarded Hamas targets in the Strip, in one of the largest exchanges of fire since the 2014 Gaza war.
Since March 30, weekly clashes have taken place on the Gaza border, with Israel accusing Hamas of using the demonstrations as cover to carry out attacks and attempt to breach the security fence. The “March of Return” protests have also seen Palestinians fly airborne incendiary devices toward Israeli territory, sparking hundreds of fires in southern Israel and causing millions of shekels in estimated damages.