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Hamas: We killed Zionist soldiers in Gaza; PA: All of Gaza is civilian

Itamar Marcus and Ephraim D. Tepler  |

Mahmoud Abbas’ senior advisor, Mahmoud Al-Habbash:

  • Israel not doing anything to protect civilians in Gaza

  • “All the institutions and facilities in the Gaza Strip are civilian facilities”


As Palestinian Media Watch has reported many times, the Palestinian Authority regularly denies reality in order to promote its political objectives and to demonize Israel in particular.

Israel is fighting an active war against terror in the Gaza Strip. On June 1, 2024, Israel found rocket launchers and a weapons depot in Rafah in southern Gaza. On May 26, eight rockets were fired from Gaza at central Israel. On May 21, IDF troops found a cache of rockets and launchers in a mosque in Jabaliya in northern Gaza. Some 121 hostages are still being held there by Hamas. Hundreds of IDF soldiers have been killed in the fighting. Yet, senior PA official Mahmoud Al-Habbash still has the audacity to claim that “all the institutions and facilities in the Gaza Strip are civilian facilities.”

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Mahmoud Al-Habbash: “Israel… is not attempting to implement any measures to protect the [Palestinian] civilians nor taking any action for that purpose. The proof is all the civilian victims who will fall in the Gaza Strip and who have fallen since the start of the [Israeli] aggression in October [2023] until now (i.e., in the 2023 Gaza war). The Gaza Strip is tantamount to a civilian human bloc. All the institutions and facilities in the Gaza Strip are civilian facilities.

[PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Advisor on Religious Affairs and Islamic Relations Mahmoud Al-Habbash, Facebook page, May 23, 2024] 

Al-Habbash’s statement is of course completely false. Just one day prior to his claim, Hamas’ military wing itself issued a statement that “Al-Qassam fighters managed to snipe 3 Zionist soldiers in northern Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip and killed 2 Zionist soldiers at point-blank range in the Brazil neighborhood southeast of Rafah city” [Middle East Monitor, May 22, 2024]. Hamas is proud that it still maintains military capabilities in both the northern and southern Gaza Strip.

On one hand, it is bizarre that a senior PA official would deny overt Hamas activities in Gaza. Then again, if the PA is able to get away with successfully claiming that all Palestinian activities in Gaza are civilian, it can then libel Israel with accusations of wanton murder. After all, it is a fundamental of PA libels: Never hesitate to falsify reality if doing so enables demonization of Israel.

Mahmoud Al-Habbash also serves as Chairman of the Supreme Council for Shari'ah Justice. In August 2019, PA Chairman Abbas dismissed all his advisors by Presidential decree. It is unclear what their status is today.

Hamas war on Israel October 2023 - Over 1,100 Israelis, including over 800 civilians, were murdered and over 5,000 wounded, in addition to approximately 251 who were abducted into the Gaza Strip (including 135 later released or liberated - 19 of them whose bodies were retrieved - and at least 41 who were killed and had their bodies held), in a Hamas terror war that began when approximately 3,000 Hamas terrorists and thousands of Gazan civilians broke through Israel's security fence at the Gaza Strip border and launched a surprise attack, taking control of several Israeli towns and attacking a music festival on the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah, which fell on the Sabbath, Oct. 7, 2023. During the massacre the terrorists tortured, raped, shot, beheaded, and burned their victims alive, murdering entire families and leaving at least 21 children without parents. Hamas terrorists also fired at least 5,000 rockets at Israeli population centers. In response, Israel launched Operation Iron Swords to counter the Hamas terror threat. Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon joined Hamas' terror war starting from the following day, attacking Israel from the north. Occasional rocket launches and shootings continued from Lebanon throughout the war. A ceasefire and prisoner exchange deal began on Nov. 24, 2023, in which Israel agreed to release 150 terrorist prisoners, pause drone surveillance in the Gaza Strip, and allow movement between the northern and southern Gaza Strip, in return for 50 Israeli female and child hostages held by Hamas. The deal was subsequently extended with additional releases, until Hamas violated the agreement and resumed attacking on Dec. 1, 2023.

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