“Our struggle is not against the Jewish people, but against oppression and occupation. This is not a religious war,” says Basim Naim, Gaza’s Minister of Health, in the Guardian:
We believe in resistance, not revenge
Sixteen days into its attack, Israel continues to bombard all areas in the Gaza strip from F16s, Apache helicopters, ships and tanks. Weapons used against our people include white phosphorus rockets, made in America, which burn the skin black and destroy human soft tissue completely. Now we can hear shooting around the outskirts of Gaza City.
Ninety per cent of the targets attacked are civilian. Of nearly 900 confirmed dead, 32% are children. More than 40% of the 4,000 wounded are children, while medical centres and 13 ambulances have been destroyed.
Hamas is not the only group fighting against this aggression: its fighters are joined by members of Islamic Jihad, the PFLP and Fatah. But the popularity of Hamas has increased during the invasion. Every occupied people has the right to resist if negotiation fails. People know very well that those who took the other path – of negotiation without resistance – got nothing from it: only more settlements, checkpoints, killings, prisoners and occupation without end.
We have made clear our conditions for a ceasefire: a halt to the aggression, full withdrawal and the lifting of the siege. We have rejected any international force inside the Gaza Strip, but international monitoring at the crossings can be discussed. However, last week’s UN security council resolution has given a green light for the Israelis to continue their killing under an international umbrella.
Now that their massacres of women and children and their destruction of schools and mosques have been exposed before the world, the Zionists’ propaganda machine is trying to discredit our liberation struggle more desperately than ever. Through flagrant misquotation and mistranslation, they have falsely claimed that Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar has called for the killing of Jewish children around the world and attacks on synagogues.
He did no such thing – nor would any Hamas spokesman. Such a call would be against Islam and the teachings of the Prophet, who prohibited the killing of children and attacks on places of worship. And from the beginning of our struggle, Hamas has always insisted that its operations are restricted to the field of battle, Palestine itself.
What Dr Zahar did do is warn that by carrying out these barbaric massacres of children and women, and by destroying our mosques, the Zionists are creating the conditions for people to believe it is justified or legitimate to take revenge. That is not the call of Hamas. Dr Zahar did not even mention “Jews” in his comments. And throughout this latest offensive, hundreds of Palestinian children have been killed, while not a single Israeli child has died.
Our struggle is not against the Jewish people, but against oppression and occupation. This is not a religious war. We have no quarrel with the Jewish people. We welcome and appreciate the stand taken by leading Jewish figures in Britain and around the world against Israel’s aggression against Gaza and for the rights of our people. It is also not the case, as has been claimed, that Hamas is seeking to enforce sharia law in Gaza: we respect the democratic process and individual rights.
The continuing attempt to discredit and demonise Hamas by Israel, and its US backer, cannot hide the real atrocities and massacres they are now inflicting on our people. Hamas and its administration in Gaza remains intact, despite the devastation. This aggression will not succeed.