Editor’s note: Below is the second profile of Frontpage’s new series, “Voices of Palestine,” which will illuminate the core beliefs, in their own words, of leading figures in the Palestinian death cult. To view the profile of Ahmad Bahr, click here.
When Hamas released Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit after five years in captivity in exchange for over 1,000 jailed Palestinian terrorists, it was met with considerable opposition from those who believed it would only encourage more kidnappings and terrorism. Almost immediately, Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar fully confirmed this worry, saying in a newspaper interview, “The lessons we’ve learned by kidnapping soldiers leads us to continue the kidnappings. We still have 7,000 prisoners in (Israeli) jails, and they also need to be released.” But, unlike Israel, al-Zahar is not interested in these prisoner exchanges for the purpose of liberating innocent Palestinians. Rather, he is determined to amass as many foot soldiers as possible in order to obliterated Israel and drive its Jewish population into the sea.
To achieve this goal, al-Zahar’s Hamas has for decades employed suicide bombings and rocket attacks against Israeli military and civilian targets. While al-Zahar currently resides in the “political-wing” of Hamas, prior to that he cut his teeth planning these attacks in Hamas’s “armed-wing,” the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.
When al-Zahar first ascended to his ministerial post in 2006, he outlined Hamas’s foreign policy agenda in a series of public broadcasts. In one broadcast, al-Zahar said Hamas “would not change a single word in its covenant,” which calls for the destruction of Israel and Jewish genocide. He added, “Israel is not a legitimate entity, and no amount of pressure can force us to recognize its right to exist.” Then, for those who may still not have understood the message, al-Zahar further assured them, “By God, we will not leave one Jew in Palestine. We will fight them with all the strength we have. This is our land, not the Jews.”
In a 2010 television broadcast, al-Zahar made clear that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has nothing to do with a dispute over territory, but the very existence of Israel itself. The entire country, as far as al-Zahar is concerned, is “occupied’: “We have liberated Gaza, but have we recognized Israel? Have we given up our lands occupied in 1948? We demand the liberation of the West Bank, and the establishment of a state in the West Bank and Gaza, with Jerusalem as its capital – but without recognizing [Israel]. This is the key – without recognizing the Israeli enemy on a single inch of land…I say this loud and clear so that nobody will accuse me of employing political tactics. We will not recognize the Israeli enemy.”
Thus, even if Israel were to cede all “disputed territories” — Gaza and the West Bank — that wouldn’t be enough to satisfy al-Zahar and his Hamas compatriots. Al-Zahar made that point clear as early as 2005 when he said, “Neither the liberation of the Gaza Strip nor the liberation of the West Bank or even Jerusalem will suffice us. Hamas will pursue the armed struggle until the liberation of all our lands. We don’t recognize the state of Israel or its right to hold onto one inch of Palestine. Palestine is an Islamic land belonging to all the Muslims.”
Al-Zahar has been equally clear as to his plans for the Jews after Palestine is “liberated”: “We are no weaker or less honorable than the peoples that expelled and annihilated the Jews. The day we expel them is drawing near…We have learned the lesson – there is no place for you among us, and you have no future among the nations of the world. You are headed to annihilation.”
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