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France calls for probe after MP says Hamas is a resistance movement

October 18, 2023 at 10:19 am

French riot police intervene to a pro-Palestinian rally at the Republique Square in Paris, France on October 14, 2023 [İbrahim Ezzat – Anadolu Agency]

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin yesterday called for a probe into a radical left-wing lawmaker on suspicion of “glorifying terrorism” after she described Hamas as a “resistance” movement.

The comments by lawmaker Daniele Obono of the France Unbowed (LFI) Party come as the party and its leader, ex-presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, have come under increasing pressure even within the left over their stance on the resistance’s surprise infiltration of the Israeli towns surrounding besieged Gaza.

“Hamas, a resistance movement? No! This is a terrorist movement,” Darmanin wrote on X, formerly Twitter, saying he was requesting prosecutors open a probe into justifying “terrorism”.

Asked repeatedly on Sud Radio if Hamas was “a resistance movement,” Obono, who has been a member of parliament since 2017, replied: “Yes. It’s an Islamist political movement that has an armed wing… It’s a resistance movement that defines itself as such.”

Her comments immediately stirred controversy, forcing Obono to take to social media to denounce “manipulations.”

“I said that Hamas was an Islamist political group that claims to be part of the resistance to the occupation of Palestine,” she said on X. “This is a fact,” she said, adding that her comments were “neither an excuse nor support” for “despicable war crimes against Israeli civilians.”

She added: “The UN only recognizes 2 terrorist organisations Daesh and Al-Qaeda.”

French Transportation Minister Clement Beaune described her comments as “disgusting.”

“She takes a new step in shame. By defending terrorism and anti-Semitism, by violating the law of the Republic,” he wrote on X.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne accused LFI of working against the French Republic’s values by refusing to describe Hamas as “terrorists.”

“In my view, you are distancing yourself from the Republican spectrum,” she told the National Assembly.

READ: Rights watchdog: Israel kills 100 children every day in Gaza