Palestinian Pro-Hamas Cleric: October 7 Attack Justified Due To: 'Unprecedented’' Israeli Attack On Al-Aqsa; 'Unbearable' Distress Of Palestinian Prisoners In Israel; Information About Israeli Intention To Deal 'Decisive Blow' To Gaza Strip

November 9, 2023

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On November 6, 2023, Al-Mahajjah [The Straight Path], a jihadi magazine, released its fourth issue on its Telegram channel.[1] The issue was devoted to the war that was being waged at the time between Israel and other Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip, and included an article written by Muhammad bin Muhammad Al-Astal, a Palestinian cleric and resident of the Gaza Strip, who is also a member of the Hamas-affiliated, The Association of Palestinian Scholars. His article was titled, "Why Are We Starting to Fight Them?[2] The article attempts to provide "a swift response" to the contention that Al-Astal claimed was expressed to him several times following the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, 2023, which he says was: There was no need to provoke the "Zionist enemy," and then it wouldn’t react in this manner.[3]

Al-Astal listed four major reasons that he claimed justify the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, 2023:

The first reason he listed is that "the enemy had begun to desecrate the Al-Aqsa Mosque, to Judaize it and to build the Temple in quick and unprecedented bursts." This was in addition to "the humiliation and abuse" by Israel of the Arab residents of Jerusalem; the detention of their dignitaries; and the numerous restrictions place on the worshipers at Al-Aqsa Mosque, which, he claimed, prevent many Muslims from praying at the mosque. In this context, Al-Astal stated that in the days that preceded the Hamas attack, "about 5,000 settlers, if not more, desecrated Al-Aqsa," which he maintained is unprecedented over the last 20 years.

The second reason listed by the Palestinian cleric is that "the enemy has been carrying out actions of slow death against us, for the past 15 years, and we have an entire generation which was born into the crisis." He wrote that many members of this generation do not receive an education and cannot marry, build a home or find work, and stated that this is in addition to the migration of tens of thousands, in the recent period, to Western countries, in search of a source of income, among whom there were dozens or hundreds who died at sea.

Claiming that "the enemy… tortures our masters the prisoners," humiliates them and holds them in cruel conditions which have recently become unbearable, Al-Astal cited this as the third reason, which he attributed to "the harsher religious line in the Zionist government, led by Ben-Gvir and his ilk." He contended that the prisoners had begun to feel that the Islamic nation had abandoned them and that "no one feels their pain or is even aware of their situation." He added that this was in addition to the humiliation of the women prisoners “in a manner which violates religion and modesty."

Al-Astal wrote that the fourth reason was stated openly by the resistance itself, and is, "The acquisition of secret information that the enemy was preparing a cruel attack on the Gaza Strip." The Palestinian cleric explained that the resistance wanted to preserve the element of surprise and to deprive the enemy of it.

In this context, the writer maintained that something similar occurred in the round of fighting in Gaza in the summer of 2014, when the resistance realized that the enemy wanted to deal Gaza a decisive blow, and thus provoked it by launching dozens of rockets until it was compelled to enter the Gaza Strip. He wrote that thus the enemy could not achieve what it would have been capable of achieving if it had had the advantage of surprise.

The writer is critical of Muslim clerics living outside of Gaza who spoke out against the action taken by Hamas and adopted what he referred to as "the version of the tyrannical [Arab] regimes that adopt the Zionist version." He asserted that the residents of a specific place are more knowledgeable about it than others are, and he further stated, "a time of crises is a time to provide assistance and not a time to criticize."



[1] Telegram, November 6, 2023.

[2] The article was first published on October 26, 2023, on the website of The Palestine Scholars Association, under the title, "Why Did the Mujahideen Choose to Attack the Enemy, Despite Knowing How It Would React?"

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