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PA daily op-ed criticizes Hamas for not causing enough damage to Israel

Excerpt of an op-ed by Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul, regular columnist for the official PA daily

The op-ed refers to a speech given by Hamas Political Bureau Chairman Yahya Al-Sinwar on May 26, 2021, following a ceasefire on Hamas rocket barrages; see note below -Ed.

Headline: “Al-Sinwar’s damaging arrogant words”

“I wish to address the speech given by Yahya Al-Sinwar before publicists and journalists on Wednesday, May 26 [2021]… following the cessation of the barbaric Israeli war against our people in the Gaza Strip districts on May 21, 2021 (refers to Israeli defensive operation in response to Hamas rocket barrages -Ed.). In his speech, the chairman of the Hamas Movement in the Gaza Strip looked impulsive and arrogant, and he superficially analyzed the political, military, security, social, economic, and cultural equation.

I did not want to dwell on this aspect, but the chatter and arrogant words of ‘Abu Ibrahim’ [Yahya Al-Sinwar] required that I clarify a number of points and reveal the flaws and weakness in the speech and its security failings. These all prove that the founder of the Hamas ‘Majd’ security forces has no connection to security and responsibility regarding his Hamas and his forces. He clearly failed in terms of security, and gave the Israeli occupation information for free…

Regarding a number of the points in the speech, I can say the following:

A. The so-called ‘Sword of Al-Quds’ battle was unequal by every standard – in terms of weapons, capabilities, and results. Al-Sinwar knows that firing 4,300 rockets on the cities in Israel, including Tel Aviv – despite its significance and the significance of the positive change that this created in the confrontation with the ethnic cleansing state – was unequal, and the balance of powers is distorted and scandalously in favor of the Israeli colonialist state. The losses in the ranks of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and the infrastructure damage were several times that which struck the rogue State of Israel, without ignoring or detracting from the pride in the resolve of the Palestinian people and its living forces, and from the appreciation for the fact that the resistance arms continued to fire rockets until the last minute of the confrontation. Therefore, the disregard for the enemy and its capabilities and the exaggerated estimation of your own power were not objective or correct.

B. There is no doubt that the enemy made many security mistakes, and the commanders of its security forces were unable to precisely estimate the prospects of the Jerusalem uprising and its Palestinian consequences within the eternal capital Jerusalem, the West Bank in general, the Galilee (i.e., in northern Israel), the Triangle (i.e., a concentration of Israeli-Arab towns and villages in northern Israel), the Negev (i.e., in southern Israel), and in the mixed [Jewish-Arab] cities…

However, the Zionist project state was left with leads, information, and security data, and it harmed a number of the institutions of Hamas and [Islamic] Jihad… More importantly, it destroyed infrastructures [to a degree that is] unprecedented inside the cities of the Gaza Strip and its districts, which did not happen in the 51-day war in 2014…

C. Yahya Al-Sinwar’s declaration saying that there are more than 500 kilometers of underground tunnels was a scandalous and embarrassing mistake and a security failing. It enabled – and will yet enable in the future – the Zionist enemy, the West, and their communications platforms to use this piece of information in order to incite against the Palestinian people, and to present in a distorted manner the innocent victims – children, women, and elderly…

Hamas chairman in the Gaza Strip, you sinned greatly. You did not speak well, you did not protect the security of your establishment, and you gave the Zionist enemy state information for free in exchange for nothing. You failed in the test of national partnership, because you deviated from that which is accepted even though you spoke about putting the Palestinian house in order. Put all that you spoke about on the table before you and check it. The following day, go out and apologize to the people, to your Hamas, and to the national movement, because on the battlefield they were all partners, and foremost among them Fatah with its various arms, the Popular Front [for the Liberation of Palestine] (PFLP), the Democratic Front [for the Liberation of Palestine] (DFLP), and of course before them [Islamic] Jihad. Therefore, you were not alone on the battlefield, and you were not just the two of you on the battlefield, you and [Islamic] Jihad, but rather all the patriots [were there]. If it were possible for the other resistance arms to break free of the grasp of your militias and their persecution, they would have had much more than the [Izz A-Din] Al-Qassam Brigades (i.e., Hamas’ military wing) in terms of weapons, strength, and giving. Remember the heroic battles of the PLO and its national factions from 1965 to this day.”

Yahya Al-Sinwar - Palestinian terrorist and senior member of the Hamas terror organization. Al-Sinwar was involved in the kidnapping and murder of Israeli soldier Nachshon Wachsman in October 1994. Israeli soldier Nir Poraz was murdered during Israel's attempt to rescue Wachsman. Al-Sinwar was sentenced to 4 life sentences, but was released in the exchange deal for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2011.

Fatah/Hamas Riot and Rocket War 2021 – On April 30, 2021, facing certain electoral defeat, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas cancelled the first PA elections scheduled in 15 years. Hamas, which expected to win the elections, denounced it as a “coup.” In need of a conflict to divert public discontent, Abbas artificially generated a crisis over Jerusalem. His Fatah party called for "raising the level of confrontation,” and Abbas' spokesman told Palestinians "the battle of all battles is here.” Jerusalem Arabs responded by attacking Jews with rocks and Molotov cocktails. Hamas, Abbas' political rival, could not allow Abbas to lead the battle, so on May 10, 2021, Hamas launched rocket barrages targeting Israeli population centers including Jerusalem. Over the next 11 days, Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired over 4,300 rockets into southern and central Israel from the Gaza Strip, killing 9 Israelis and 3 foreign nationals, and wounding hundreds. In response, Israel launched Operation Guardian of the Walls to target Hamas terror leaders and terror infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. Already in mid-April, a planned eviction of some Palestinian families illegally living in Jewish-owned buildings in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem had led to clashes between Palestinian residents and Israeli police. This dispute provided Palestinians with a pretext for violent rioting. Adding to the crisis, Israeli Arabs started rioting throughout Israel, especially in cities with a mixed Jewish and Arab population. Two Jews were murdered and many were wounded. According to Walla, an independent Israeli news site, 10 synagogues were wholly or partly burned down; fires were set in 112 Jewish homes and 1 Arab home mistaken for a Jewish home; 386 Jewish homes were plundered and 673 were damaged; 849 cars were set ablaze; and there were 5,018 rock-throwing attacks. In response, Jews started attacking Arabs and their properties as well, but on a much smaller scale. No mosques were burned; 13 Arab homes were damaged; 13 Arab-owned cars were burned; and there were 41 rock-throwing attacks by Jews. [Walla, May 16, 2021] The fighting between Israel and Hamas ended with a ceasefire on May 21, 2021.