Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Disclaimer: the views expressed here are solely those of the author, weekly Judean Rose columnist Varda Meyers Epstein.

The whole world blames Israel for the loss of life and devastation in Gaza. But the people of Gaza are having none of it. The president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, went so far as to compare Israel’s actions in Gaza to those of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler against the Jews and the president of Colombia, President Gustavo Petro, agreed with him. And still, the Gazan people know better. They know who bears the fault for laying waste to Gaza, and it's not Israel. The body responsible for destroying Gaza is Hamas. 

But try telling that to the Zionist- Jew-hating, Israel-hating world, and they’ll only double down. UN Relief Chief Martin Griffiths, for example, said that he did not consider Hamas to be a terrorist group. In spite of the clamor from regular Gazans.

Michelle O’Neill, the recently elected First Minister of Northern Ireland, also does not care what the people of Gaza think, going so far as to claim that Hamas will come to be regarded as the future partner for peace in the Middle East! The people of Gaza, however, vehemently disagree with this naïve assessment, and now that Hamas is on the way to extinction, have begun to lose their fear of speaking out. They know that Israel not to blame for their suffering, and they’re pointing their collective finger at the real culprit, Hamas. 

The IDF, for example, posted a video compilation of Gazans speaking out against Hamas on December 15. One of the most striking moments in this video occurs during a news reporter’s interview of a Gazan man: “And if I told you that Hamas ruined Gaza? What would you respond?”

“Obviously. It’s obvious,” said the interview subject, “The reason of this destruction is Hamas.”


Here’s another IDF clip of a Gazan blaming Hamas for the war.

The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center on December 13, published bulleted lists of Gazans criticizing Hamas in the media and on social networks. Some excerpts:

Criticism of Hamas in the media

·        The Palestinian Authority’s Wafa TV interviewed residents and evacuees from Khan Yunis who left the city for the Rafah area. One of them angrily claimed that they had been forced to evacuate Rafah to a place where there was no water, food or showers. He wondered why “they” [Hamas] were doing it to them. “Hamas, protect the people!” he said. Another resident who was riding in a horse-drawn cart, shouted “May Allah  disgrace the honor of Hamas and al-Sinwar” (Wafa YouTube channel, December 6, 2023).

·        Radio Alam, which broadcasts from Hebron, aired an interview with residents of the Gaza Strip who criticized Hamas and its leadership. One of the interviewees cursed Yahya al-Sinwar and claimed, “You destroyed us.” He said, “the Palestinian civilians speak without fear because they now know that death is everywhere, the leaders of Hamas must pay attention to the Gazans to protect what is left of the Gazan people and end the useless war.” He spoke of the civilians’ difficulties after they moved from Khan Yunis to Rafah, and emphasized that the Hamas leadership did not care. Another interviewee appealed to Yahya al-Sinwar in distress, saying there was no food or water and the number of evacuees was increasing, while there are 20,000 people in one school. He called for help for the children and expressed fear of epidemics spreading among the citizens (Assaf Mustafa’s X account, December 6, 2023).

Hamas rats hide in tunnels while Gazan civilians suffer (Issa Alris X account, November 23, 2023)

·        Al-Hadath TV, an Arab channel, played a recording of a Palestinian evacuee, which was originally broadcast on the local radio, who claimed Hamas had destroyed them and that everything happened because of al-Sinwar. He said they had gone from Gaza City to Khan Yunis and from there to Rafah. He said Hamas stole humanitarian aid meant for the Palestinian public, adding that the Hamas leadership, including al-Sinwar and Muhammad Deif, were underground and did not care about what was happening [to the Gazans above ground]. He also appealed to al-Sinwar to release the hostages (al-Hadath TV, December 6, 2023).

·        Ahmed Rifat Muheisen, an evacuee, was interviewed by QudsN channel TV, a Palestinian TV channel, from the tent camp of the evacuees in western Rafah, and complained that at night it rained on them. He complained there was no [central] entity in the Gaza Strip, not even a governmental entity [i.e., the Hamas administration] taking care of them. No one, he said, gave them answers about their situation (QudsN X account, December 6, 2023).

·        The American satellite Alhurra network broadcast a video of a Palestinian sheltering in al-Aqsa hospital in Deir al-Balah, after members of her family were injured in an IDF attack. She shouts [at Hamas] to end the war in Gaza, stating that enough is enough, they do not want more destruction or a prisoner exchange deal (Alhurra TV X account, December 4, 2023).

A Palestinian woman calls for the end of the war in Gaza (Alhurra TV X account, December 4, 2023)

Criticism of Hamas on social networks

·        Kareem Jodha (4,300 followers) posted a quote from senior Hamas terrorist Osama Hamdan, which read, “Gaza was and will continue to be a cemetery for invaders and occupiers.” Jodha replied, “True, it was, but people like you turned it into a cemetery for its residents and genocide” (Kareem Jouda’s Facebook page, December 4, 2023).

·        Ghattas (1,012 followers) wrote, “When the war is futile and the defeats taste like massacres, retreat is courage, admitting defeat is chivalry, and the one who preserves the blood, honor and livelihood of the innocent is the winner. That is of course part of the morality of “the knights,” however, insane al-Sinwar and the other leaders of the tunnels and the Hamas Muslim Brothers who live in fancy hotels are not among them” (@Moraqeb2020 X account, December 4, 2023). He attached a photo of Yahya al-Sinwar.

·        Ghattas also retweeted a tweet by a Saudi journalist, who wrote, “With all the destruction and killing, where are Yahya al-Sinwar, Mashaal and Haniyeh, where is their offer of protection for their people? Maybe they enjoy the torture and bloodshed, as is the custom of the Muslim Brotherhood? Where is the wisdom of the leader and his compassion for his people? The world will not stand with you, because on October 7 you foolishly gave your enemy the chance to go down in history. So be brave and take action to stop the killing of your children and women Are the lives of some Israelis you bargain for more valuable than the lives of your own civilians?” After that he added, “Hamas is not only an armed movement, but a movement of seats [of power], rule and money. History has taught us that the Muslim Brotherhood does not leave the seat of power unless they and those who rule them are [forcibly removed], and Gaza will be no exception” (@Moraqeb2020’s X account, December 4, 2023).

·        Naama Hassan (7,431 followers) wrote that “Displacement and death will not stop unless the war stopped. The war in Gaza has to stop. The lives of the people of Gaza are more important than all your negotiations and demands. Share our demands, we have the right to choose life” (Naama Hassan’s Facebook page, December 2, 2023).

·        Amjad Abu Kush (6,387 followers) wrote, I hope that in a future prisoner exchange deal we will not see another dog being carried by an Israeli captive. It will hurt our hearts that he and the dogs that protect him are safe underground, while their people are being destroyed now. #Open_the_shelters, #Open_the_tunels, and #lead us to al-Sinwar, take our children somewhere safe, as the released hostage was told” (Abu Kush’ Facebook page, December 1, 2023). He added that whoever wants to create a flood must first build a ship to save his people, and not a submarine to save himself (Amjad Abu Kush’s Facebook page, December 5, 2023).

·        Marwan Abu Sharia wrote: “Protect us! If Hamas sees itself as the ruler, it must protect the homes of the displaced from thieves. The dogs stole from us” (@elthwrah X account, November 27, 2023).

·        Hani al-Hassan posted a video of a man wearing a yellow vest putting a tray of food in front of a child and then walking away with the tray in his hand. Alhassan wrote that Hamas members are seen in a shelter for the displaced, photographing a child they offer a meal to and then take it from him even though he reaches out to take it (@Hanialhasn1999 X account, November 27, 2023).

Hamas operatives beat civilians in the Shejaiya neighborhood and steal their food (IDF spokesperson in Arabic, Dec 9, 2023)

A Wall Street Journal piece from December 21 cites a survey from a Ramallah-based think tank, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, which found that one in five Gazans blames Hamas for their suffering as a result of the war. The article quotes a 56-year-old Gaza businessman, “People are dying every minute. Hamas is the one that dragged us into this terrible vortex.”

A hairdresser from Gaza City, now taking refuge in Rafah was also quoted, “Damn Hamas. If I see Ismail Haniyeh, I will hit him with my slippers,” she said. In the Arab world, throwing shoes at a person is a serious insult.

The use of civilians as human shields, has not helped to endear Hamas to the people of Gaza. On February 12, for example, Gaza-based journalist Jehad Saftawi said that Hamas had sacrificed his family members and neighbors as cannon fodder in its war against Israel.  

"Hamas terrorists used my family and hundreds of our neighbors as human shields. Hamas continues to hold the people of Gaza captive," Saftawi wrote on X. "There should be no reconstruction of my family's home while a stockpile of weapons lies underneath.

"Goals rather than causes are what is behind Hamas's masterminds' wars. The case for removing Hamas is not to fuel escalation but to prevent it, which is why they should never be allowed to retake control of Gaza.”

The journalist also said that this was the first time in over 10 years that he felt “able to speak about this publicly,” adding that it’s "a cry for realignment for our Palestinian society as well as an appeal to the international community."

Saftawi further related that while his family home was being built, there were masked men who built a tunnel below. "In the years since my family or their neighbors heard sounds or movements from time to time. They wondered sometimes if there really were tunnels, if they were active. My family was too afraid to speak about this with anyone, so it was our secret. It felt shameful even though we knew we were deeply opposed to whatever Hamas had done on the other side of that cement slab."

Just after October 7, Saftawi and his family evacuated to southern Gaza, and his home and neighborhood are now reduced to rubble. "I may never know if the house was destroyed by Israeli strikes or fighting between Hamas and Israel. But the result is the same. Our home, and far too many in our community, were flattened alongside priceless history and memories.

"This is the legacy of Hamas. They began destroying my family home in 2013 when they built tunnels beneath it. They continued to threaten our safety for a decade—we always knew we might have to vacate at a moment’s notice. We always feared violence. Gazans deserve a true Palestinian government, which supports its citizens’ interests, not terrorists carrying out their own plans. Hamas is not fighting Israel. They’re destroying Gaza," concluded Saftawi.

The Gazan voices crying out against Hamas injustice grow louder by the day. Only yesterday, on the night of February 20, residents from Jabaliya in northern Gaza, and from Rafah in the south, took to the streets in protest against the leaders of Hamas, in particular calling out the head of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, and Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh, who is living in the lap of luxury in Qatar. The people of Gaza protested against these Hamas leaders first and foremost for stealing the humanitarian aid meant for them, "We need food, we need flour, Sinwar and Haniyeh, stay away from us, you thieves.”

The Gazan protesters were also heard to condemn Hamas’ representative in Lebanon, Osama Hamdan, "Hamdan, leave Lebanon; the people are the victims. With spirit and blood, we will redeem you, Gaza."

Even as the voices of the people of Gaza swell to ear-piercing decibels, the academics in their ivory towers continue to stick their fingers in the ears. They want to put the onus on Israel and the Zionists Jews for the leveling of Gaza. This is because like Hamas, these antisemites are two-legged beasts with black hearts of stone.

Someday the people of Gaza will curse not only Hamas, but these Jew-haters too, for misleading the world and pointing it in the wrong direction as so many Gazans lost their homes and died.

Not because of the Jews. But because of Hamas. Something the world would rather not know.

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

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