Hamas official Dr Mahmoud Al-Zahar spoke at the memorial ceremony for the criminal killer Qasem Soleimani on the second anniversary of his assassination at the hands of the Americans. Zahar praised this criminal and his courage and support for the Palestinian resistance. He glorified him and described him as a martyr, and claimed that those who celebrated Soleimani's killing are deviants, normalisers and Arab Zionists.
This provoked millions of Arabs, especially those in the countries that suffered at the hands of late Iranian general who killed and displaced their people, and destroyed their homes. Not quite singlehandedly, Soleimani turned their lives into hell in Syria, Yemen and Iraq. So did he really deserve to be eulogised?
Some of those who were happy at Soleimani's assassination may have been among those who have normalised relations with Israel, as Zahar claimed, but they were also among the millions of his victims in Syria, Yemen and Iraq. It is unfortunate that the Hamas official did not acknowledge these victims in his speech, or mention Qasem Soleimani's crimes.
I am known for my love of Palestine and that I am neither a deviant nor an Arab Zionist (I was one of the first commentators to use the term). However, I was one of the free people of our nation who celebrated the death of the criminal who killed Sunni Muslims in Syria, Yemen and Iraq. If former US President Donald Trump did one good deed, it was to kill Qasem Soleimani, who was implementing Iran's project to destabilise the Arab world bring back the Persian Empire on the ruins of the Arab nation.
Since the 1979 return to Iran of Ayatollah Khomeini from exile in Paris after the success of the Iranian revolution, the declared aim was to export the revolution to the Arab countries and sow the seeds of strife between Sunni and Shia Muslims. This has resulted in wars in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon, in which Soleimani was instrumental. I cannot forget the image of him walking through the ruins of Aleppo after his forces had destroyed the city over the heads of its people. Iran then displaced the remaining Sunni Muslims and replaced them with Shia.
So how can the Syrians and others not be angry at Mahmoud Al-Zahar's speech? The words of the former minister of foreign affairs in the Hamas government lacked prudence, diplomacy and balance.
However, we know that Iran supports the resistance with weapons and money at a time when the Arab governments are largely absent from Palestine and have withdrawn such support. Indeed, some have even participated in the siege of Gaza and outlawed the resistance. Some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, have reached a new low by arresting members of the resistance and those associating or sympathising with it. At the same time, Arab countries have established diplomatic relations with Israel, normalising links at the expense of the Palestinian cause and the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. But does Iran offer support to the Palestinians for the sake of The Almighty, or in its own interests, hoping to boost its influence and hegemony in the Arab world?
It is unfortunate that some Hamas leaders are still unaware of the fact that Iran benefits from supporting the resistance against the Israeli occupation. Hence, the resistance does not need to express its gratitude to Iran in such a disgraceful way, in which it appears to be sympathetic to Tehran and its ambitions. This approach damages supporters of the resistance who denounce Iran's interference and ambitions in the region, and its use of Shiism as a weapon in support of tyrants and corruption as it tries to spread its influence and dominance.
We know that Mahmoud Al-Zahar is a Palestinian intensely loyal to Palestine — two of his sons and a son-in-law have been martyred for the sake of the cause — but this should not stop me from expressing my distaste at his speech. He made a mistake with his shameful words, which has hurt millions of people. Pictures of Soleimani were, remember, burnt by the people in the streets of Gaza.
While, the resistance should not be held responsible for the errors of some of its members, it is important to note that those in senior roles cannot afford to behave like ordinary citizens. Their lapses will not go unnoticed, and will reflect negatively on the cause they represent. That is why we must remain honest to the cause and to ourselves, and not flatter leaders by staying silent about their errors.
May God protect the Palestinian resistance and keep it away from the evil of sedition; and may it triumph over the enemies of Palestine. Amen.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.