While much of the world is busy criticizing Israel for trying to destroy Hamas’ terror infrastructure in the Gaza Strip in order to prevent a repetition of the Oct. 7 massacre, almost no attention is given to Hamas’ repeated statements of its goal to destroy Israel entirely, or Hamas’ intentional use of civilians as human shields.
No outcry has been heard over Hamas Political Bureau member Osama Hamdan’s promise of a “future liberation battle” that will be worse than the massacre on Oct. 7:
Interviewer: “Were you to go back to Oct. 6 , would you carry out Oct. 7 [i.e., Hamas’ massacre on Israel]?”
Hamas Political Bureau member Osama Hamdan: “Why do some people assume we would relinquish our role and our resistance?”
Interviewer: “In other words, there is no regret?”
Osama Hamdan: “Regret over how we crushed the Gaza Division, an entire division in the [Israeli] occupation army?”
Interviewer: “You told me that if the Israelis will come back to carry out new arrests after emptying the prisons [i.e., Israeli-Hamas exchange deal], you would carry out an additional operation ([i.e., terror attack]. Can you promise a new Oct. 7?”
Osama Hamdan: “I can promise a future liberation battle, and not just Oct. 7.”
Interviewer: “In the foreseeable future?”
Osama Hamdan: “I don’t think it will be long. What happened on Oct. 7 and what happened after it clarified that the future of this [Zionist] entity in the region is not guaranteed.”
[“Bel Moubashar,” YouTube video, Nov. 29, 2023]
The world has also been silent about Hamas’ cynical use of civilians as human shields.
Palestinian Media Watch has released statements by Hamas officials Political Bureau member Ghazi Hamad and Khaled Mashaal praising the many dead civilians as being necessary sacrifices for “liberation.”
From a third top Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh — who like Hamad and Mashaal also lives safely outside of the Gaza Strip — it becomes clear that Hamas leaders exploit “the blood of the children, women, and elderly” because they need it to provoke anger and a willingness to fight Israel and ultimately die as “Martyrs” among Palestinians.
In Haniyeh’s words, this “blood” is used to “ignite within us the spirit of revolution”:
Hamas Political Bureau Chairman Ismail Haniyeh: “The blood [spilled] in the Gaza Strip, alongside the resistance and the [Izz A-Din] Al-Qassam [Brigades] will defeat this occupier ([i.e., Israel], will defeat this enemy … As I said, and I repeat every time, the blood of the children, women, and elderly — I do not say that it shouts out to you, but rather we need this blood so that it will ignite within us the spirit of revolution, so that it will arouse within us persistence, so that it will arouse within us defiance and [a forward] advance.”
[Website of Al-Jazeera TV, Oct. 26, 2023]
If the world wanted to be helpful it would be valuable to see it react to Hamas’ lethal manipulation of its civilian population to seek Martyrdom rather than simply criticizing Israel’s self-defense.
The author is a senior analyst at Palestinian Media Watch, where a version of this article was originally published.
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Russia Extends Invitation to Palestinian Factions for Talks in Moscow
i24 News – Russia has extended invitations to various Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Fatah, for discussions on the Israel-Hamas conflict and broader issues in the Middle East.
Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov announced the initiative on Friday, highlighting Moscow’s desire to engage with all major players in the region amid heightened tensions.
The invitation included a dozen Palestinian groups and is slated for “inter-Palestinian” talks scheduled to commence on February 29.
Bogdanov, serving as President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for the Middle East, emphasized the inclusivity of the invitation, stating, “We invited all Palestinian representatives — all political forces that have their positions in different countries, including Syria, Lebanon, and other countries in the region.”
Among the invitees are Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, alongside representatives of Fatah and the broader Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
The invitation comes at a critical juncture as the Israel-Hamas conflict continues to escalate, drawing international attention and concern. Russia’s proactive stance in convening discussions reflects its growing criticism of Israel and its Western allies, underscoring Moscow’s efforts to assert its influence in the region.
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Netanyahu: Those Who Want us to Desist from Rafah Op Are Telling Us to Lose
i24 News – Hamas drops its “delusional” demands, productive hostage talks could begin, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday, stressing Israel would not agree to the terror group’s current demands.
WATCH: PM Netanyahu delivers a statement after Hamas suspended negotiations pic.twitter.com/nxISPb4JUm
— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) February 17, 2024
“I insist that Hamas should abandon its delusional demands – and when it does, we will be able to move forward,” Netanyahu said in a statement live on TV.
“Those who want us to desist from the Rafah operation,” the leader said in an apparent reference to the U.S. administration of President Joe Biden, “are telling us we should lose. We won’t be dictated to.”
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Iran Unveils New Air Defense Weaponry
i24 News – Iran demonstrated new weaponry on Saturday, including what it said was the locally made Arman anti-ballistic missile system and the Azarakhsh low-altitude air defense system, said the official IRNA news agency. Saturday’s unveiling ceremony of the two vehicle-mounted systems was held in the presence of Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani.
“With the entry of new systems into the country’s defense network, the air defense capability of the Islamic Republic of Iran will increase significantly,” said IRNA.
Video of the new Azarakhsh SHORAD engaging a target drone
— Iran Defense|نیروهای مسلح جمهوری اسلامی ایران (@IranDefense) February 17, 2024
The Arman missile system is said to be able to “simultaneously confront six targets at a distance of 120 to 180 km,” while the Azarakhsh missile system “can identify and destroy targets up to a range of 50 km with four ready-to-fire missiles.”
The announcement comes amid tensions across the Middle East, with Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis attacking vessels linked to the United States, UK and Israel in the Red Sea in a show of solidarity with the Gaza Strip.
— Press TV (@PressTV) February 17, 2024
The U.S. and its allies in the Middle East are concerned with Iran’s growing role at the international global arms market, The Wall Street Journal said on Friday. The transformation of the industry, boosted by Russia’s “purchase of thousands of drones that altered the battlefield in Ukraine, has helped Tehran scale up its support of militia allies in Middle East conflicts,” read the report.