Brenda Yablon

Hamas Loves Dead Palestinians

Very recently Ali Barakat, identified as a Hamas senior official, gave an interview in Arabic aired on Russia TV Today. The English subtitled translation is provided by MEMRI and can be found online. (MEMRI@ MEMRIReports)

Here are the points he made:

-The attack on southern Israel was meticulously planned and had been in the works for 2 years.

-Hamas deliberately adapted a “rational” approach, meaning they had kept a low profile to “make them think that 2.5 million Palestinians in Gaza have abandoned the resistance altogether.”

-The Palestinians in Gaza are prepared to be martyred for their cause while Israelis are not. “The Israelis are known to love life. We on the other hand, sacrifice ourselves. We consider our dead to be martyrs. The thing any Palestinian desires the most is to be martyred for the sake of Allah, defending his land.”

-The Gazans have built extensive munition factories. “We have factories for mortars and shells. Rockets with varying ranges.
Factories for manufacturing guns, Kalashnikov rifles and we have a Russian license to produce Kalashnikov bullets in Gaza.

-Iran is their major benefactor. “First and foremost, it is Iran that is giving us money and weapons.”

Given the opportunity to interview you, Mr. Barakat, these are the questions I would like to ask:

Since the barbaric attack on Israeli civilians was so well planned and executed, Hamas would have known from vast past experience that Israel would retaliate by heavily bombing Gaza. You knew that this would cause huge damage to the citizens of Gaza. Why didn’t you take steps to protect the civilian population? Your answer would likely be that you want martyrs.
Put another way, you don’t care how many innocent Palestinian civilians are killed, because the more that are killed the better the photo opps you have to show the world how brutal Israel is.

And to make sure that as many civilians as possible are killed, you place your rocket launchers and munitions factories in schools, hospitals, mosques, and residential buildings
knowing and hoping that Israel will bomb them. Now we finally get it: Hamas loves dead Palestinians. So much so that when Israel who cares more about the death of the people of Gaza than you do warns them to evacuate because they are going to bomb their buildings you tell your people that it’s Israeli propaganda. And if they don’t believe you and still try to flee, you stop them at gunpoint or take away the keys to their cars. That’s how much you love dead Palestinians.

You say that what any Palestinian desires the most is to be martyred defending his land. Really? Do you speak for the thousands of Gazans who have already died in air strikes because you put them in harm’s way with your military installations?

Do you speak for almost a million people who are fleeing their homes with no place to go? What your people want, and have said so repeatedly through numerous clandestine channels is to be left in peace to earn their livelihoods and raise their families. In a recent survey of Gazans by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, over 70% of respondents said that they wish you were gone. And that was before your recent butchery in Israel and their ensuing reprisals, which made an already miserable people even more destitute.

And speaking of destitute, the unemployment rate in Gaza is 47% and the poverty rate is 65%, among the highest in the world. (Figures from Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.)

How can this be, Mr. Barakat, when billions of dollars in aid and materials have been pouring into Gaza every year? Sorry, sir. I see you’ve already provided the answer. You’ve built lots of munition factories for the sole purpose of attacking Israel. And though you didn’t say so in this interview, it is well known that you have also built hundreds of kilometres of tunnels, often using child labour, for the purpose of entering Israel to kill and kidnap as many people as possible as well as to move military equipment. So it’s fair to say that since Hamas forcibly seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, you haven’t really made it a policy to improve housing, create infrastructure like water and sewage treatment plants, build viable industries (except munitions) that create jobs and generally make lives better for your people?

You haven’t built, schools, hospitals or roads. That’s been done by agencies like UNRWA the EU, and donor countries like the US, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Norway, etc. In fact, you don’t even feed your people. UNRWA provides food assistance to almost a million Gazans. That’s nearly half the population. (United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.) 50% of Palestinians would starve, if not for foreign aid. But in light of how much you love dead Palestinians, it’s starting to make perfect sense. Iran, your beloved benefactor, except for munitions, doesn’t build anything in Gaza that is of value to the people. If they did they wouldn’t keep it a secret, now would they? And they don’t care about dead Iranians so you’ve got a lot in common.

You have a genius of a system going with foreign contributors to the Strip, Mr. Barakat. Not only are they paying to keep Gazans at a on a bare subsistence level, without which they wouldn’t survive, but when the time comes to rebuild Gaza yet again because of the consequences of another war that you started, foreign donors will once more step up to the plate, providing Hamas with more opportunities to become even richer. Once again this goes to show how much you love dead Palestinians. Without them you couldn’t get rich. I’m curious to know, Mr. Barakat. Are you and your Hamas friends also prepared to martyr yourselves?

We’ve heard it said that you don’t even live in Gaza but that you’ve built opulent villas for yourselves in places like Qatar. It’s also been reported for years now that you don’t allow anyone to challenge your authority. For one thing you haven’t had any elections since you came to power 16 years ago. You eliminate people in Gaza who try to make you accountable for your actions by throwing them off rooftops, torturing them in prisons, or by making them disappear. That’s how much you love dead Palestinians.

There are demonstrations today in cities throughout North America and Europe as well as in Arab countries supporting Hamas and calling for Palestinians to be free. What will you do Mr. Barakat if one day it becomes undeniably clear, even to your supporters, that it is Hamas who keeps the Palestinians in Gaza from being free?

About the Author
I was born in Montreal and educated at McGill University (BA 1966) and the Université de Montréal (MA 1969) I was a journalist in radio, television, newspapers and magazines, as well as a screenwriter. I made Aliyah 8 years ago and divide my time between Tel Aviv and Vancouver.
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