In November 2020, Hamas Politburo Chief, Ismail Haniyeh, called on supporters at the First Electronic Pioneers Conference for money and weapons to “liberate” Jerusalem and combat the United States-Israeli “scheme” to dismiss the Palestinians. Haniyeh said, “We want to shift from a strategy of support to a strategy of full cooperation in order to liberate Palestine and Jerusalem, and in order to confront the plots aiming to do away with the [Palestinian] cause and reinforce the American-Zionist hegemony over our Arab and Islamic region” – a misleading and bigoted statement that fosters more hatred and brings harm to Israel and the Jewish people. #FreePalestine, or “liberate Palestine,” has become a catchy phrase that celebrities and antisemites alike tout. It suggests that a country called “Palestine” exists within the borders that Israel currently and legally holds, which was never historically true according to the British Mandate. But “freeing” Palestine doesn’t chiefly denote justice for the Palestine people. It means the destruction of the Jewish state of Israel and the people who live there. For decades, Palestinian and other Arab leaders have orchestrated a myriad of terrorist attacks to accomplish this goal. This continues today; for example, explosive balloons launched from the Gaza Strip were defused on November 1, 2020 after they landed in the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council district. A few days later, a terrorist attack was neutralized near Nablus in the West Bank. Yet, British media organizations such as the BBC, Guardian, and The Independent repeatedly deceived their audiences with misleading reports on Israeli efforts to protect civillians from terrorism incited or sponsored by the Palestinian leadership in Gaza. Hamas is an extremist, totalitarian regime recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States, Canada, and the European Union. They proliferate belligerent and threatening calls to destroy Israel. Hamas holds its people of Gaza captive, and encourages its citizens to put themselves in harm’s way. The families of Palestinian “martyrs” killed, injured, or imprisoned by Israeli armed forces are financially supported by the Palestinian Authority. In a 2019 video, a Hamas political bureau member proudly announced the participation of one million Gazan children in a “national, Islamic, jihadi, religious course” and where they all received “first place in fence-breaking and confrontation.” Haniyeh’s appeal to the international community to supply financial and military support for the purpose of “liberation” is laughable, considering Hamas directs much of its resource pool toward terrorizing the Jewish State of Israel at the expense of its own people. This message could not come across more powerfully than from Mosab Hassan Yousseff, the son of Hamas leader Sheikh Hassan Yousseff. He worked undercover for Israel’s internal security service to prevent dozens of suicide attacks and assasinations of Israelis. “Peace is a choice,” said Youseff at a webinar hosted by Rimon Movement in early November. Yousseff went on to say that, while it is “important to build bridges between the Palestinians and the Israelis, it is too late for stability right now. There will always be a problem in the Middle East so long as there is delusion and anger and hatred and lust for power.” As long as Hamas actively seeks to destroy Israel, there will not be peace. Israel has the right to defend itself and its people. However, Yousseff said it is important to stay truthful to the facts. “Jewish and Israeli contribution to life on all levels is tremendous and for those who know cannot deny it.” When Hamas suggests that Israel does not help those in Gaza, it is a blatant misconception. Humanitarian aid is delivered, but it is used to construct tunnels that enable Hamas’ ability to conduct attacks, rather than support the Gazan people. That task is not Israel’s primarily; instead, it is Hamas’ and the Palestinian Authority’s, even if they play a “mind trick that they care about the Palestinian people,” as Yousseff suggested. The truth shows this. “Hamas is an ugly organization,” Yousseff said. “They are racist. They are torturers. They are criminals.” When are we going to recognize this and stop blaming Israel?
Monica Sager is a 2020-2021 fellow for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis.