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Hamas’s Co-Founder Mahmoud al-Zahar Explains the Gaza Riots

Hint: They’re not peaceful

Liel Leibovitz
May 16, 2018
Hamas militants in Gaza City on March 25, 2018.MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images
Hamas militants in Gaza City on March 25, 2018.MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images

Yesterday, I wrote a piece arguing that the so-called “protests” in Gaza were deliberate attacks on Israel, led by armed terrorists. I further suggested that Hamas was using the western media to portray these attacks as non-violent, and that there was something sickening about staging this kind of spectacle at the cost of dozens of Palestinian lives.

The piece made a lot of people angry. Not because anyone could find even a single factual error in the piece, but because the entire frame of my analysis seemed outrageous—because it contradicted the pieties of the press and the feelings of people who know that Israel is to blame, or people who are convinced that at the very least there must be good arguments on both sides. How could anyone not empathize with innocent Palestinians being gunned down by the IDF? Only a monster could dare to blame Hamas without casting equal if not greater blame on Israel.

So I thought it might be nice to get some support for my point from someone intimately familiar with the working of Hamas, the group’s co-founder and a member of its senior leadership in Gaza, Mahmoud al-Zahar.

“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?” al-Zahhar said on an interview with Al Jazeera earlier this week. “When we talk about ‘peaceful resistance,’ we are deceiving the public,” he explained. “This is peaceful resistance bolstered by a military force and by security agencies.”

You can watch the video here, or you can continue to listen to very smart American foreign policy experts in the media and in academia who don’t speak Arabic or Hebrew and can’t name any of the founders of Hamas, but are glad to parade their virtue beneath footage of dead Palestinians—who, let’s face it, might be alive today if the world stopped tolerating and often glorifying the terrorist cult that uses human beings as chess pieces in a cynical, murderous game.

Liel Leibovitz is editor-at-large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One. He is the editor of Zionism: The Tablet Guide.