May 9, 2017 Special Dispatch No. 6914

The Positions And Statements Of Hamas's New Political Bureau Head Isma'il Haniya: "We Are Truly A People Who Love Death As Much As Our Enemies Love Life"; Bin Laden Was A "Muslim Mujahid... May Allah Cover Him With His Mercy, Next To The Prophets, The Righteous, And The Martyrs"

May 9, 2017
Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 6914

On May 6, 2017, Hamas announced that its senior official Isma'il Haniya had been elected as head of its political bureau, in place of Khaled Mash'al, who had held this position since 1996. Haniya, who had been Khaled's deputy, was elected in a movement-internal procedure that took place simultaneously in Gaza and the West Bank via video conference. Haniya previously served as Hamas's leader and prime minister in Gaza.

Over the years, MEMRI has presented Haniya's views and positions on various issues. In his statements Haniya reiterated his movement's commitment to the values of jihad and martyrdom, stressing that jihad is a religious duty that must never be subject to negotiations and that Palestinians are "a people who love death as much as [their] enemies love life." He emphasized that armed resistance is a Palestinian right and a "strategic option" which Hamas will pursue and intensify until the final liberation of Palestine "from the river to the sea." He also emphasized that Hamas regards it as its mission to develop increasingly sophisticated means of warfare, from rockets to attack tunnels, and to train the next generation of fighters in their effective use. Accordingly, he praised terrorists who had carried out attacks on Israelis, including on civilians, calling them heroes. He also emphasized that Hamas would never recognize Israel, under any circumstances.

Haniya's rhetoric has been consistently anti-American, for instance when he condemned the U.S. for killing "the mujahid" bin Laden, calling this an expression of America's "policy of oppression," and when he hoped that Allah would "declare war" on the U.S.

The following is a sampling of statements by Haniya, as presented in MEMRI reports published between 2008 and today.

Isma'il Haniya (image:


"We Love Martyrdom, Whose Path Our Leaders Followed In Death"

At a March 23, 2014 Hamas rally in Gaza under the heading "Perseverance and Loyalty to the Martyr's Path," marking a decade after the death of the movement's founder, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, Haniya stressed the value of martyrdom and called for liberating Palestine via resistance and sacrifice. He said: "All the decision-makers within Palestine and abroad must understand the message conveyed by this rally: Yes, we are a people that yearn for death, just as our enemies yearn for life. We yearn for martyrdom for the same goal for which our leaders died, just as the others love their seats of power. We do not demand jobs or seats [of power]. [You can] take all the jobs and all the seats and leave us the homeland."

Addressing Israel, Haniya said: "The resistance conceals more than you can imagine. The occupation will pay dearly for any aggression or foolish measure it takes. Oh Zionists, you still have Yassin's blood on your hands... We ejected you from Gaza in the days when we had limited weaponry and when you oppressed us in the solitary confinement cells of the Saraya [compound] in Gaza [once the seat of the Israeli prison, and the site of the rally]. Today we are stronger. We have developed the resistance and it has redoubled its strength..." He added: "Self-sacrifice and resistance are the way to liberate Palestinian soil and restore Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa... Out of deprivation, we shall establish the balance of terror. Out of the ruins, we shall rock Tel Aviv. We our bare hands, we shall dig into the rock and do the impossible..."

See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 5709, Hamas Gaza Rally: In A Few Years The Resistance Will Destroy Israel, April 11, 2014.

To watch a MEMRI TV clip of the rally, click on the player below:


Palestine Will Be Liberated "From River to Sea"; "Jerusalem Shall Not Be Divided Into Western And Eastern Jerusalem"

In a Friday sermon he gave in Kairouan during a January 2015 visit to Tunisia, Haniya reiterated Hamas's commitment to liberating Palestine "from the river to the sea," telling his audience: "Your honor is the honor of Palestine – Palestine from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River... The land of Palestine, oh brothers and sisters, is an Islamic waqf, as decreed by the second caliph, Omar ibn Al-Khattab. We shall not relinquish the Islamic waqf on the land of Palestine, and Jerusalem shall not be divided into Western and Eastern Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a single united [city], and Palestine stretches from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, and from Naqoura [Rosh Ha-Niqra] to Umm Al-Rashrash [Eilat] in the south."


Hamas Will Never Recognize Israel

During this visit he also reiterated Hamas's refusal to recognize Israel: "[We say] to the monstrous entity on the land of Palestine: As long as the people in Tunisia, in Sfax, say: 'The people wants the liberation of Palestine,' we say to Israel: 'Dark days await you, Allah willing.' Dark days await the Zionist entity. Brothers and sisters, we were told [during the Gaza War] that if we wanted the war to stop and the siege to be lifted, and if we wanted the red carpet to be rolled out, so that we could reach the White House and other places, we would have to recognize Israel, to curse the resistance, and to release [Gilad] Shalit. We said, from the very heart of the siege, from under the ruins, from the places being bombarded by the F-16 planes… We said then, and I say to you now, in the capital of south Tunisia: We will never ever recognize Israel."

See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 4416, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, in Visit to Tunisia: We Shall Not Relinquish Palestine from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River; Crowd Chants: 'Killing the Jews Is A Duty', January 11, 2012.

To see a MEMRI TV clip of Haniya's statements during the visit, click on the plater below:


Terrorist Who Participated In Deadly Tel Aviv Shooting Is "A Hero"

Following a June 8, 2016 shooting attack in Tel Aviv, in which four Israeli civilians were killed and six were wounded, Haniya posted a response that welcomed the attack and praised its perpetrators, two cousins from Hebron named Ahmad Moussa Makhamra and Khaled Muhammad Moussa Makhamra. He tweeted a photo of one of the terrorists (see below), remarking: "This is one of the heroes that carried out the operation in Tel Aviv. A thousand [wishes of] mercy and light upon your good souls."

See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6466, Palestinian Reactions Immediately Following Tel Aviv Shooting: It Was 'A Natural Reaction'; 'A Ramadan Operation'; Palestinian Presidency One Day After Shooting: 'We Oppose Actions Against Civilians From Any Side' , July 9, 2016.


"Resistance [Is] A Strategic Option"; "Hamas Will Continue To Gradually Build Up Its Weapons... And Will Maintain Them Until Palestine Is Fully Liberated"

During a visit to a Hamas military training camp in April 2014, Haniya stressed that resistance is "a strategic option": "Hamas's enterprise focuses on resistance as a strategic option for [realizing the goal of] liberation and return and not [the goal of establishing] a temporary state or a state in the Gaza Strip." In a Friday sermon in early October 2014, shortly after the end of the round of fighting with Israel in July and August of that year, Haniya said: "Hamas will continue to gradually build up its weapons, its means of resistance, and its strength, and will maintain them until Palestine is fully liberated."

See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6020, Hamas Prepares For Next Military Confrontation With Israel, April 13, 2015.


"This Magnificent Creative [Palestinian] People, Which Began With Rocks And Continued With Rockets, Can Persist In Its Resistance And Its Intifada, Generation After Generation"

In a prerecorded video speech screened during a December 8, 2015 conference in Beirut, held under the title "Support the Al-Quds Intifada,"[1] Haniya said that the Palestinians' armed resistance would continue, "generation after generation, until liberation": "The intifada will continue, even by force of inertia, because our people have embarked on a path and will never stop, even if everything surrounding it is dense and difficult in light of the fading international [interest in the] matter and the countries' and peoples' attending to their own problems and wounds... The intifada has not yet revealed all its [means and methods] to the occupation. This magnificent creative people, which began with rocks and continued with rockets, can persist in its resistance and its intifada, generation after generation, until liberation." He also called on the Arab and Islamic ummah to support the intifada in all possible ways.

See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6258, Hizbullah Deputy Secretary-General Na'im Qassem At Beirut Conference For Palestine: Our Goal Is To Eliminate Israel, January 12, 2016.


Our Training Camps Are "A Strategic Enterprise [Aimed At] Raising The Generation Of Victory And Liberation"; Resistance And Bearing Arms Have Become "A Culture Embraced... By Every Palestinian Home And Every Palestinian Sector"

On January 27, 2015, at the closing ceremony of a Hamas camp that provided military training to Gaza teens, Haniya stressed the importance of training the next generation of fighters, saying: "The people's rallying around the resistance will thwart all of [Israel's] plans to harm the image of Hamas and of [its military wing,] the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades... The Al-Qassam Brigades' camps are a strategic enterprise [aimed at] raising the generation of victory and liberation. Resistance and preparations for bearing arms against the enemy are no longer optional, but have become a culture embraced not only by Hamas, but by every Palestinian home and every Palestinian sector."

See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6020, Hamas Prepares For Next Military Confrontation With Israel, April 13, 2015.


"The Weapon Of Tunnels Played A Prominent Role In Achieving Our Victory"

In his January 29, 2016 Friday sermon at a Gaza mosque, Haniya spoke of Hamas's tunnels, describing them as a strategic weapon for fighting and defeating Israel. He said: "Gaza bids farewell to the martyrs of the preparations for any conflict with the Israeli occupation that may come. Gaza has constructed twice as many tunnels as there were in Vietnam.[2] The Al-Qassam Brigades have dug tunnels around Gaza in order to defend the people and liberate Al-Aqsa and the holy places." He added: "This weapon, the weapon of the tunnels, played a crucial role in bringing about our victory. From these tunnels, the mujahideen emerged to carry out the Nahal Oz operation. [3] From these tunnels, the mujahideen emerged to capture (Israeli MIA soldier) Oron Shaul. These tunnels enabled the fighters to emerge behind enemy lines. Thanks to these tunnels our military spokesman said: 'The mujahideen carried out their operations, and returned safely to their bases.

"...East of the city of Gaza, there are heroes underground, digging through rocks and building tunnels. West of Gaza, there are heroes testing rockets every day. This is all in preparation - in tunnels underground, by means of missiles in the air, as well as in the sea, and everywhere. This constant preparation is for the sake of Palestine, Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa, and for the sake of the Jerusalem Intifada."

To watch a MEMRI TV clip of excerpts from his statement, click on the player below.

Haniya also referred to the tunnels at the March 23, 2014 Hamas rally in Gaza under the heading "Perseverance and Loyalty to the Martyr's Path." Calling to formulate a joint national strategy "and enlist all means of power, primarily armed resistance, and all categories of struggle," he noted that "the Al-Qassam Brigades have launched a new strategy in the confrontation with the Israeli occupation by means of the tunnels. The mujahideen are attacking the Israeli occupation above and below ground to remove it from Palestine's soil."

See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 5709, Hamas Gaza Rally: In A Few Years The Resistance Will Destroy Israel, April 11, 2014.


"The Strategic Option Of Jihad Was Determined By Allah For This Nation... At No Time May Muslims – Especially Under Occupation – Negotiate Whether There Should Or Shouldn’t Be Resistance Or Jihad"

In a sermon he delivered in September 2010, Haniya spoke of Ramadan as the month if jihad, while stressing that jihad is a religious duty decreed by Allah as well as a strategic option that must never be subject to negotiation. "Anyone who studies the history of Islam discovers that most of the great victories and decisive battles took place in the blessed month of Ramadan – beginning with the Battle of Badr, followed by the conquest of Mecca, the Battle of Hittin, the Battle of Ein Jalut, the conquest of Andalusia, and the 1973 war.... Even the mujahideen in Palestine – Allah has granted them success in the holy month of Ramadan, crushing their enemy, thus pleasing the hearts of the believers...

"The strategic option of Jihad was determined by Allah for this nation... At no time may Muslims – especially under occupation – negotiate whether there should or shouldn’t be resistance or Jihad. This cannot be discussed by a group of believers, a Muslim people, especially a people under occupation. This is inconceivable. We have no choice in this matter. The strategic option was determined when the first arrow was shot, the first spear cast, and the first bullet fired."

To watch a MEMRI TV clip of excerpts from the sermon, click on the player below:


Haniya Condemns Killing Bin Laden: "An American Policy Based On Oppression"

Reacting to the killing of 'Osama bin Laden by a U.S. force on May 2, 2011, Haniya condemned the U.S. for "the killing of a Muslim mujahid" and hoped that Allah would "cover [bin Laden] with his mercy": "We believe that this continues an American policy that is based on oppression and on the shedding of Arab and Muslim blood. Regardless of the different views in Arab and Islamic circles, we, of course, condemn the assassination or killing of a Muslim mujahid and an Arab. We pray for Allah to cover him with His mercy, next to the prophets, the righteous, and the martyrs."

To watch a MEMRI TV clip of his statements, click on the player below:


"The American Enterprise In The Region Has Begun To Crumble"

At a televised address he delivered in early September 2010, following the withdrawal of the majority of U.S. forces from Iraq, Haniya saluted the "heroic Iraqi resistance" for "breaking the backbone of Americans," who came to Iraq in order to swallow it up," and predicted that the American enterprise would crumble. He said: "On this day of blessed celebration, the glad tidings of victory are emerging. The first is the defeat of the U.S. army in Iraq. Those Americans, who came to Iraq in order to swallow it up, along with the entire region, and in order to strike a blow at the Arab and Islamic countries, and to strike a blow at the enterprises of resistance, and to try to eliminate the Palestinian issue – the price they paid in Iraq was very high, in terms of material and human losses.

"The U.S. administration and the American people are no longer able to bear the cost, both in human lives and in material losses. They had no choice but to withdraw from Iraq, on the grounds that they could not attain victory on the soil of our sister, Iraq. Therefore, we salute the heroic Iraqi resistance, which persevered in the true battlefield of resistance – confronting the occupier and the Western coalition. Iraq has paid the price with the blood of its sons, and with prisons such as Abu Ghreib, but they were steadfast and broke the backbone of America.

"Today, none of the U.S. leaders, past or present, can deliver a victory speech. There is no victory. There is only withdrawal from Iraq in the dark of night. These are the first glad tidings of victory. It has bearing upon the blunder in Afghanistan – the blunder and collapse in terms of security and morale of the armies of the Western coalition in Jihad-fighting and Muslim Afghanistan. Yes, dear brothers, we can say with all confidence that the American enterprise in the region has begun to crumble, from Iraq to Afghanistan, and here, on the land of Palestine."

To watch a MEMRI TV clip of excerpts from this address, click on the player below:


Haniya To U.S.: "The Time Has Come For Allah To Declare War On You, Oh Usurers"

In a speech that aired on Al-Aqsa TV on October 10, 2008, on the eve of the Gaza war (December 2008-January 2009) and at the height of the financial crisis in the U.S., Haniya stated that Allah would punish the Americans for their position on Palestine and for their practice of usury: "Oh Americans, Allah will punish you because you have attacked Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia, and because you have fought anyone who raised the banner of Islam. The time has come for Allah to declare war on you, oh usurers! How could He not? After all, in the Koran, Allah declared war in only one case - that of usury. 'Be warned of war from Allah and His Messenger.'"


[1] "The Al-Quds Intifada" was the name given by Palestinians to the wave of terror attacks that began in Jerusalem in October, 2015 and continued until mid-2016.

[2] A reference to the tens of thousands of miles of Cu Chi Tunnels dug by the Viet Cong during the war.

[3] On July 28, 2015, several Al-Qassam gunmen used a tunnel to breach the Israeli border and infiltrate an army base near Kibbutz Nahal Oz, killing five soldiers.

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