Hamas has disowned controversial remarks made by a member of its political bureau, Fathi Hammad, saying his comments “do not reflect the official stance” of the movement.
Hammad sparked controversy on Friday when he told diaspora Palestinians “you have Jews everywhere and we must attack every Jew on the globe by way of slaughter and killing, God willing.” Hammad made the remarks while addressing Palestinian protesters who gathered for the weekly Great March of Return in the besieged Gaza Strip.
In an official statement today, Hamas stressed that Hammad’s remarks “do not reflect the movement’s official stance or its policy, which states that our struggle is only against the Israeli occupation, which occupies our land and desecrates our holy places”.
“Our struggle is not with Jews elsewhere or with Judaism as a religion,” the movement reiterated, saying it “has condemned and continues to condemn any attacks against Jews and their places of worship around the world”.
Hamas also sought to distance Hammad’s comments from the Great March of Return, which has taken place every Friday since 30 March 2018 to call for an end to Israel’s 12-year-old siege of the Gaza Strip and the fulfilment of the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
“The Great March of Return is a peaceful, popular demonstration,” the statement read, adding, however, that “the national consensus that the march is popular and peaceful does not give the Israeli army the green light to target and kill these peaceful protesters”.
“We call on the Palestinian people to participate in the activities organised by the Higher National Committee of the Great March of Return,” the statement concluded.
Since the Great March began over a year ago, Israeli forces have killed 309 Palestinian protesters, among them 59 children. A further 32,000 Palestinians have been injured, over 7,700 of whom were hit by live ammunition fired by Israeli snipers, according to statistics from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHAoPt).