January 27, 2022 Special Dispatch No. 9740

Gulf States Furious At Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad Over Expressions Of Support For Houthis

January 27, 2022
Kuwait, Palestinians, Yemen, The Gulf | Special Dispatch No. 9740

Following reports about heavy loss of life in January 21, 2022 airstrikes by the Saudi-led Arab coalition against the Iran-backed Houthi movement in Yemen,[1] the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) held a mass rally in the Gaza Strip. At the rally participants held up pictures of Houthi movement leader 'Abd Al-Malik Al-Houthi and of other leaders of the Iran-led resistance axis, such as Hizbullah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah and Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated by the U.S.[2] In his speech at the rally, PIJ political bureau member Khaled Al-Batsh slammed the Saudi-led coalition, accusing it of perpetrating "massacres" and "murdering women, children and unarmed civilians" in the service of the U.S. and  Israel. He added that "the Arab armies have abandoned Palestine and now their role is to protect the thrones [of the leaders] from the fury of the peoples."[3] An official PIJ statement harshly condemned the "aggression" of the Arab coalition and of the Arab regimes "that have tied their fate to the American-Zionist policy in the region."[4]

It should be mentioned that no Hamas leaders were seen at the rally, but since this movement controls the Gaza Strip, the rally was probably held with its approval.

January 21 PIJ rally in Gaza: Participants hold up pictures of PIJ leaders, alongside pictures of resistance axis leaders: Houthi leader 'Abd Al-Malik Al-Houthi, Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, assassinated Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, and assassinated Hizbullah commander 'Imad Mughniyah (Source:, January 23, 2021)

The same day, Hamas political bureau member Mahmoud Al-Zahhar made similar statements to the Lebanese channel Al-Mayadin, saying that "the Gulf regimes that are attacking Yemen will pay a price for their policy," and that "the Saudi coalition wants to appease the West and the Zionist entity."[5]

The expressions of support for the Houthis at the Gaza rally, and the statements of Hamas official Al-Zahhar, rekindled the anger in the Gulf against Hamas. Articles in the Saudi and Emirati press and posts on social media accused Hamas of treachery and ingratitude for turning its back on the Arabs in general and the Gulf states in particular, and of serving Iran. One Saudi journalist even called to stop all aid to the Palestinians, who have "committed every possible [transgression] against the [Saudi] kingdom."

On January 23, 2022, apparently in order to appease the anger in the Gulf, Hamas issued a press release renouncing the blunt remarks voiced against the Gulf states and stressing that they "do not reflect our position and our policy, which is known and unchanging, of refraining from interfering in the internal affairs of [Arab] countries." The statement stressed that Hamas is interested in maintaining "balanced" relations with all Arab and Islamic elements, hinting at its close relations with Iran, the Houthis' patron. [6]

Hamas political bureau member 'Izzat Al-Rishq clarified on his Twitter account that Al-Zahhar's statements did not reflect Hamas' position.[7]

It should be noted that this is not the first time Hamas' expressions of support for the Houthis have evoked anger in Saudi Arabia. In June 2019, the Hamas representative in Yemen awarded the Houthi movement with a shield of honor, an act that was described in the Saudi press a betrayal of the kingdom.[8]

This report reviews the expressions of support for the Houthis by the PIJ and by Hamas official Al-Zahhar, and the criticism they evoked in the Gulf press.

PIJ Political Bureau Member Khaled Al-Batsh At Rally In Support Of Houthis: The Arab Coalition's Massacres In Yemen Are A Mark Of Shame

As stated, on January 21 the PIJ held an unprecedented mass rally in Gaza to express solidarity with the Houthis in Yemen, at which participants held up pictures of Houthi leader 'Abd Al-Malik Al-Houthi and of other leaders of the Iran-led resistance axis, such as the assassinated Iranian general Soleimani, Hizbullah secretary-general Nasrallah, and the assassinated Hizbullah commander 'Imad Mughniyah. In addition, slogans like "death to [the Saudi royal family] Aal Sa'ud" and "America is the Great Satan" were heard.   

For a MEMRI TV Clip of the rally, click below:

In his speech at the rally, PIJ official Khaled Al-Batsh condemned the Arab coalition's airstrikes against the Houthis, while expressing support for the latter and questioning the legitimacy of the Gulf states' rulers. He stated that the "massacres" perpetrated by the Arab coalition in Yemen are a mark of shame for the coalition countries, which, he said, are taking part in the murder of women, children and unarmed civilians in their homes, mosques and workplaces. He added: "The Arab armies have abandoned Palestine and now their role is to protect the thrones [of the leaders] from the fury of the peoples…The tens of thousands of innocent victims and the billions [of dollars] which have been burned in Yemen are a pure achievement for Israel and a loss for the Palestinian cause and the resistance project… The only way to liberate Jerusalem is by means of a [real] Arab coalition  supported by the masses, which will turn to besieged Gaza and occupied Palestine and support the resistance [there] with funds and weapons until Palestine is liberated."

Al-Batsh emphasized that it behooves the Arab leaders, the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to invest their efforts in stopping the war in Yemen and to maintain neutrality instead of supporting one side at the expense of the other. Stating that the war is "pointless" and serves only Israel and the American interests in the region, he called on the entire Arab nation to come out against the targeting of civilians in Yemen and the hostility against it, and stressed that it is vital to promote national reconciliation among all the sides in Yemen, without exception.[9]

PIJ Statement: The Arab Coalition Has Tied Its Fate To The American-Zionist Policy, Is Deliberately Targeting Civilians

The PIJ statement, issued on the same day, likewise condemned "the crimes of the so-called Arab Coalition against the Muslim Arab people of Yemen," and added: "The deliberate targeting of civilians in Yemen using American planes, and possibly [also] with the participation of the planes of the Zionist enemy, proves that this aggression has failed and has been defeated on the battlefield. This is a desperate and cheap attempt to break the spirit of the [Yemeni] people, which has decided to refuse the dictates of the regimes that have tied their fate to the American-Zionist policy in the region and have given up Palestine and Jerusalem…"[10]

Hamas Official Mahmoud Al-Zahhar: "The Gulf Regimes Attacking Yemen Will Pay A Price For Their Policy"

Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahhar made similar comments in an interview to the Al-Mayadin channel. He too slammed the Arab coalition's attacks in Yemen, and even encouraged Houthi attacks on the coalition countries, saying: "There is similarity between the aggression against Yemen and the occupation's aggression against the Palestinians… I urge the perpetrators of these crimes to return to their religion and their history. There is no benefit in an alliance with the West and the Zionists… The Gulf regimes that are attacking Yemen will pay a price for their policy… The Saudi coalition wants to appease the West and the Zionist entity… [The Gulf leaders] are completely turning their backs on the history of honor and stability in order to remain in their seats." Addressing the Yemenis, Al-Zahhar said: "Whoever attacks you – attack him back. Defend yourselves by every means in response to the aggression."[11]

Anger In Gulf Press: Hamas' Treacherousness Does Not Surprise Us; There Isn't A Single Enemy Of Ours They Have Not Befriended

In response to these statements from Hamas and the PIJ, the Saudi and Gulf press published critical articles attacking Hamas and the Palestinians in general, accusing them of ingratitude and betrayal.

Saudi Daily: Hamas Is A Treacherous Puppet In The Service Of Iran's Regional Expansion

In addition to these columns, 'Okaz also published an article critical of Hamas, titled "Hamas Is an Iranian Puppet – Betrayals In Islamic Guise," which stated: "For Hamas treacherousness is a method. The history of this movement, which purports to be religious but actually has nothing to do with religion, shows that it exists for the sake of Iran's plan of regional expansion, and that it is one of Iran's three proxies in the region, along with the Houthi militia and Hizbullah. The most blatant proof of this is that Hamas forced the people of Gaza to put up black banners in mourning over the death of Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Qods Force of [Iran's] Revolutionary Guards [Corps], after erecting a mourning tent for him in the [Gaza] Strip. It is not strange that Hamas commits political depravity, and holds parades in Gaza in support of Al-Houthi and yearn for his victory. These parades are paid for in advance, as Khaled Mash'al, Isma'il Haniya and all of Hamas' leaders know."[12]


The article on the 'Okaz website (', January 24, 2022)


Saudi Writer: The Foolishness Of The Hamas Gang Is Endless, And There Is Nothing Dirtier Than Its Betrayal

Another 'Okaz columnist, Hamoud Abu Taleb, claimed that the "Hamas gang" has betrayed Saudi Arabia, and stated that the Palestinians will no doubt eventually "get rid of it": He wrote: "It is neither strange nor surprising that the Hamas gang organizes parades with portraits of the dead Qassem Soleimani and of Nasrallah. What is new today is that Hamas has also added the picture of 'Abd Al-Malik Al-Houthi… while chanting crude slogans against Saudi Arabia.

"We are not surprised that the Hamas gang has sunk so low. Those who betray their own people cannot be loyal to others, and we do not expect them to show noble [gratitude] in return for everything Saudi Arabia has done for Palestine. Hamas has abused the people of Gaza, and holds ties with all the elements its leaders curse and are hostile to in their speeches. Not a year goes by without Hamas creating some crisis, which results in Gaza being bombed and destroyed. At the same time, the Hamas thieves enjoy [payments of] millions [of dollars] and lead lives of wellbeing and comfort in their fortified homes that are protected by Israel.

"The foolishness of the Hamas gang is endless, and nothing is dirtier than its betrayal. No matter how long this movement survives, it will eventually end up on the ash heaps of history, like all gangs, and the Palestinians will no doubt get rid of it."[13]


Saudi Writer: It's Time To Disengage From The Palestinian Issue; We Helped The Palestinians And Were Rewarded With Nothing But Slander

In his column in the Saudi state daily 'Okaz, journalist Muhammad Al-Sa'ed wrote: "It is time to disengage from the Palestinian cause. The Saudis are not the ones who created [the Palestinian problem] and they are not responsible for the great crimes the Palestinians have committed against themselves, which started with their disregard of the [1947] partition [resolution] and did not end with the 1993 Oslo Accords, in which the PLO recognized Israel's right to exist as an independent state in return for Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza, [self-rule] that exists today. 

"The entire region has an interest in disengaging from the Palestinians and their cause, because the most pressing issue for the Saudis and the [other] peoples of the region is their daily lives, their future and the future of their children. Saudi Arabia has suffered enough for [the Palestinian cause]. It ignored many things and bore the burden [of this problem], of which it is innocent. In fact, since its founding and to this very day, the [Saudi] kingdom and its leadership have been the target of false and unfounded slander. The Palestinians have committed every possible [crime] against the kingdom and its people, and there isn't a single Saudi enemy they have not befriended.

"So why are we sacrificing our wealth, [the integrity of] our stances, and our political alliances? Are we doing this for the sake of a cause whose own people have forsaken, traded in and transformed into a source of income[?] More than that, they have deliberately left the Palestinian cause in a state of perpetual impasse, so it would be an obstacle to the growth of Arab states. The Palestinian cause is used to prevent any [Arab] country from securing its future [by forcing it] to bear the burden [of this cause instead]. If we take a glance at Cairo, Baghdad, Damascus, Jordan, Beirut and any [other] region where the Palestinian [cause], or its so-called fidayyoun, have set foot, we will see that all these regions are devastated…"[14]


Emirati Writer: Mahmoud Al-Zahhar And Others Like Him In Hamas Came To The End Of Their Road When They Insulted The Gulf States

In an article in the daily Al-Bayan, Emirati journalist Muhammad Yousuf attacked Hamas for supporting the Houthis and the Iranian axis, focusing on the movement's official Mahmoud Al-Zahhar. He wrote: "Nothing good can be expected from a gang that sold out its religion and followed a religious sect that abandoned God and worshipped a man [the reference is to the Shi'ites, who ascribe divine qualities to 'Ali]… Mahmoud Al-Zahhar is the most despicable of the Hamas leaders, although he is not the only despicable one among them. Ultimately, they are all equal in their blind subordination and their dual loyalty, and they have a habit of selling [their] loyalties. There is no point feeling angry or complaining about Al-Zahhar, who now happily waves the portraits of Qassem Soleimani, Hassan Nasrallah and 'Abd Al-Malik Al-Houthi. He lost his credentials on that black day when he exposed the true face of his movement.  I refer to the day he said: 'Palestine means no more to us than a toothbrush. Our plan is more important and larger than Palestine, which does not appear on any map.'[15]

"If Palestine is small and unimportant to the 'Gazan Muslim Brotherhood and the supporters of [Iranian Supreme Leader] Khamenei,' what do they say about Gaza?! Al-Zahhar and his cronies reached the end of their road when they insulted the Gulf states and their leaders. We will not say to them: 'Look around you and notice that behind every stone, street, school and hospital [in Gaza] there is a [helping] and from the Gulf.' Rather, we will say that the Gulf, which resisted invaders and defended its land, its Arab identity and its religion for centuries, will continue to hold its head high and will shatter all the hopes, dreams, illusions and ambitions of others. The Gulf has never neglected and will never neglect [its duty]. It is not moved by the childish manipulations and nonsensical statements of your masters [i.e., Iran]."[16]

Cartoon in Emirati daily slams Hamas leader Isma'il Haniya (Al-Arab, London, January 26, 2022)

Hamas Movement In Attempt To Allay Gulf Anger: "The Statements Published In The Recent Days Do Not Reflect Our Position And Policy"

On January 23, in response to the furious reactions in the Gulf states, Hamas issued a press release renouncing the comments that had been made against these states and claiming that they do not reflect its position, which is to refrain from any interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries and in the conflicts between them. The press release stressed that Hamas is interested in maintaining "balanced" relations with all Arab and Islamic elements, hinting at its close relations with Iran, the Houthis' patron. It said: "In response to the comments published in the recent days and to calls that were heard in our Palestinian arena against Arab and Gulf states, we, the Islamic resistance movement of Hamas, stress that [these comments] do not reflect our position and our policy, which is known and unchanging, [and calls for] refraining from interfering in the internal affairs of [Arab] countries and in conflicts and controversies between them, and to avoid anything that can undermine the unity of the [Arab] nation and its security and stability... We are deeply pained by any drop of blood lost by any member of our [Arab] nation in these internal conflicts, demand to prevent bloodshed and call to replace the fighting with dialogue… The [Hamas] movement embraces a policy of openness towards all the world's countries and peoples, especially towards the Arab and Islamic peoples and countries, whom we honor and respect. The [Hamas] movement aims to build balanced relations with them, for the sake our [Arab and Islamic] nation, its security and its prosperity, and for the sake of our [national] cause, our [Palestinian] people and its steadfastness. We emphasize that our conflict is with the Zionist enemy [alone], and therefore call to distance our jihad-fighting people from other conflicts."[17]

Hamas political bureau member 'Izzat Al-Rishq shared this press release on his Twitter account and clarified that it "underscores our movement's positions and permanent policy, and any comment that contravenes it reflects only [the position of] whoever made it." Replying to a reader who asked whether this also applies to Al-Zahhar's statements, Al-Rishq answered in the affirmative. [18]


[1] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), January 21, 2022.

[2] Hamas and the PIJ recently marked the second anniversary of Soleimani's death, See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 9717 - On Second Anniversary Of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani's Killing, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad Continue To Praise Him; Controversy In Gaza Over Billboards Commemorating Him – January 10, 2022.

[3], January 21, 2022.

[4], January 21, 2022.

[5], January 21, 2022.

[6], January 23, 2021.

[7], January 23, 2022.

[9] January 21, 2021.

[10], January 21, 2022.

[11], January 21, 2022.

[12] 'Okaz (Saudi Arabia), January 24, 2022.

[13] 'Okaz (Saudi Arabia), January 24, 2022.

[14] 'Okaz (Saudi Arabia), January 23, 2022.

[15] Al-Zahhar is heard making these statements in a video that was leaked to Al-Arabiya TV.

[16] Al-Bayan (UAE), January 24, 2022.

[17], January 23, 2021.

[18],, January 23, 2022.

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