Hamas belittles those who criticize high civilian death toll
Hamas belittles "defeatist" Palestinians
who criticize high civilian death toll
Hamas and Fatah defend demands
that Palestinians act as human shields:
"[Israel] has been sending tens of thousands
of voice messages to citizens' phones...
asking them to evacuate their homes by a certain time...
There is no reason to be concerned by them
or pay attention to them
and by no means should they be heeded."
[Hamas Ministry of Interior spokesman's Facebook page]
"[Fatah] Central Committee member [Amal Hamad] said
the occupation has distributed letters to citizens
residing near the border area,
ordering them to evacuate their homes.
She emphasized that the citizens will not respond
to these letters,
will not leave their homes"
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 12, 2014]
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
Hamas' recurring demands that its civilian population remain in war zones, and Hamas' need to justify these demands to the Palestinian people, indicate that there may be growing popular dissatisfaction with Hamas' policy of using civilians as human shields to protect Hamas fighters and infrastructure in Gaza.
In a striking talk on Hamas TV, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri belittled the Palestinians who are counting the "number of Martyrs," calling them "defeatists." He argued that those "defeatists" should consider the current situation in light of the history of Algeria, which he said lost 45,000 people in one day in 1945. He then made a slip of the tongue in speaking about the population in Gaza: "We are leading them to death," he said, then quickly corrected himself: "I mean, to confrontation."
"The resistance (i.e., Hamas) is truly glorifying our people and our nation. We are paying a price, but we remember our brothers in Algeria, who had at least a million and half Martyrs... In 1945, in a single day in Algeria, 45,000 Algerians died. In a single day. It wasn't described in Algeria's history as forsaking the blood of the Algerians, as some defeatists are describing today the number of Martyrs as ‘trading with Palestinian blood and forsaking Palestinian blood’... We are not leading our people to execution as we stand by and look on. No. We are leading them to death - I mean, to confrontation."
[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), July 13, 2014]
Palestinian Media Watch's conclusion that there is Palestinian dissatisfaction with Hamas policy is supported by findings of a poll in Gaza published yesterday by David Pollock of the Washington Institute, who reported that "70 percent of the poll respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement 'Hamas should maintain a ceasefire with Israel in both Gaza and the West Bank.'" An Egyptian-brokered ceasefire was accepted by Israel yesterday for several hours, but rejected by Hamas, who continued rocket attacks.
Despite loss of life and growing opposition, Hamas continues to order civilians to stay in their homes and act as human shields, contrary to Israeli warnings to vacate the area:
"An important and urgent call to our people:
In the past hours, the occupation has once again been sending tens of thousands of voice messages to citizens' phones, especially in the border regions, requesting they evacuate their homes by a certain time.
We emphasize that these are arbitrary calls, not intended for specific people. There is no reason to be concerned by them or pay attention to them; and by no means should they be heeded. They are part of the psychological war, and their purpose is to sow confusion on the home front...
We emphasize that for eight years, the occupation has failed in its psychological war against our people and that it will fail again in view of our people's resolve and awareness."
[Facebook page of Hamas Ministry of Interior spokesman Iyad Al-Buzum,
July 15, 2014]
Even Fatah Central Committee member Amal Hamad issued a statement demanding Palestinian civilians act as human shields:
"Fatah Central Committee member Amal Hamad said there is real partnership, [both] on the political level and on the ground, between all organizations and national activity factions in the Gaza Strip, as they have established a joint war room since the beginning of the Israeli aggression...: [Hamad] said the occupation has distributed letters to citizens residing near the border area, ordering them to evacuate their homes. She emphasized that the citizens will not respond to these letters, will not leave their homes, and will continue to stand firm in the face of this malicious attack, until the arrogance of the occupation falls." (Emphasis added)
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 12, 2014]
All week, Hamas has been encouraging civilians to defend buildings with their bodies. Palestinian Media Watch has also reported on Hamas' policy of using civilians as human shields in previous conflicts.