June 15, 2021 Special Dispatch No. 9393

Hamas Awards Shield Of Honor To Representative Of Houthi Movement, Sparks Rage In Saudi Arabia

June 15, 2021
Saudi Arabia, Palestinians, Yemen | Special Dispatch No. 9393

On June 6, 2021, Hamas' representative in Yemen, Mo'az Abu Shamala, met with Muhammad 'Ali Al-Houthi, a member of the Houthi Supreme Political Council. At the meeting, attended also by two other members of the Hamas office in Yemen – office head 'Omar Al-Subakhi and political affairs director 'Abdallah Hadi – Abu Shamala presented Al-Houthi with a shield of honor on behalf of Hamas, in appreciation for the Houthi's support of the Palestinian cause. Abu Shamala also conveyed greetings from Hamas political bureau head Isma'il Haniya to the Houthis and their leader, 'Abd Al-Malik Al-Houthi, and expressed the Hamas movement's gratitude "for the efforts, initiatives, and activities announced by the Houthis in support of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause."[1] Abu Shamala stressed that "by all indications, resistance is the correct path for liberating Palestine." [2]

Hamas representative Mo'az Abu Shamala present Muhammad 'Ali Al-Houthi with the shield of honor (Source:, June 6, 2021)

This meeting between the Houthi representative and the Hamas representative reflects the cooperation between the two movements, which both enjoy Iran's political, financial and military support. It is worth noting that, on May 26, 2021, a few days after the end of the recent round of fighting between Hamas and Israel, a delegation representing the Houthi Supreme Political Council visited the Hamas office in Sanaa to congratulate Hamas on "the victory of the resistance over the Zionist entity and its army in the Sword of Jerusalem campaign [Hamas' name for the recent round of fighting]. On the following day, another Houthi delegation, headed by the secretary-general of the movement's political bureau, Fadl Abu Taleb, also came to  congratulate Hamas.[3]

In addition to expressions of mutual support, the meeting between Abu Shamala and Muhammad 'Ali Al-Houthi apparently dealt with efforts to free Hamas members imprisoned in Saudi Arabia, including Muhammad Al-Khudari, Hamas' representative to Riyadh, who has been imprisoned in the kingdom along with his son Hani since 2019.[4] A few days after the meeting, Al-Houthi tweeted a proposal to the Yemeni Al-Islah party, which maintains good relations with Saudi Arabia, involving a prisoner exchange deal in which Al-Islah would press the Saudis to free Hamas operatives imprisoned in the kingdom in return for the release of Yemeni prisoners close to Saudi Arabia. The latter include former Yemeni defense minister Mahmoud Al-Subaihi and Gen. Mansour Hadi, the brother of the Yemeni president, who have been held hostage by the Houthis since 2015.[5] It should be noted that previous exchange deals proposed by the Houthis for freeing Hamas prisoners in Saudi Arabia were welcomed by Hamas but rejected by the Saudis.[6]

The meeting between the Hamas representative in Yemen and the senior Houthi official provoked rage in the Saudi media. Articles in the Saudi press described the meeting as an act of betrayal by Hamas reflecting overt support for Iran's Houthi agents, who seek to undermine the kingdom's stability. The article added that  presenting a shield of honor to the Houthis was an act that crossed all the red lines,  and that Hamas was no longer a national resistance movement but had become a pawn on the Iranian chessboard – and would consequently end up on the "trash heap of history."

Responding to the bitter criticism in both Saudi Arabia and Yemen[7] over his meeting with the Houthi official, Hamas representative Abu Shamala issued a press release, in which he clarified that "Hamas' relations with all components of the Yemeni people are fraternal and are equally close," and that "Hamas does not favor one side over the other in the internal dispute within Yemen."[8]Furthermore, political analyst Fayez Abu Shamala, who is close to Hamas, published an article in which he rejected the criticism against the meeting between the Hamas and Houthi representatives, and claimed that Iran, Hizbullah and the Houthis have aided and armed Hamas and therefore deserve appreciation and thanks.

This report presents criticism of Hamas by Saudi writers in the wake of the meeting, as well as excerpts from the response by Fayez Abu Shamala.

Cartoon in Saudi daily: Hamas representative presents the "shield of collaboration" to the Houthi representative, while saying "I do not represent myself [but the Hamas movement]" (Al-Iqtisadiya, Saudi Arabia, June 11, 2021)

Chief Editor Of 'Okaz Daily: Gazan Children Will Not Know Peace As Long As Hamas Is A Puppet Of Iran

Jamil Al-Dhiabi, chief editor of the daily 'Okaz, wrote:  "The fact that Hamas paid tribute to the Iranian agent, the chair of the so-called Supreme Revolutionary Committee in Yemen [which has since been replaced by the Supreme Political Council], Muhammad 'Ali Al-Houthi, [precisely] on the day this revolutionary militia, funded and armed by Iran, staged an attack on the town of Marib [in Yemen] in which  innocent people were killed, reveals the ugly face of Hamas and the intensity of its leaders' hostility and treachery.

"Hamas is addicted to the schizophrenia that [tends to] afflict the ostensibly devout Islamic movements. It will embrace any idea in order to achieve its aims, even if this means renouncing [principles] and debasing itself, as is the custom of all members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas, which is part of the Muslim Brotherhood, trumpets the slogan of resistance and revolution, while it is [actually] subordinate to Iran, which occupies Arab countries, kills their peoples, sows hatred and spreads and encourages division. Hamas continues to claim it is not like [Iran], despite the rift it has caused within the Palestinian homeland, to the point of tearing this homeland apart…

"It is well known that Iran is afraid to enter the fray itself… and prefers to let its foolish agents in the region realize its filthy agenda and fight in its stead. It doesn't care about [spilt] Arab blood or the stability of the region, for it seeks to swallow [the region] and take it over, from the Gulf to the Mashreq [the Arab countries east of the Mediterranean], and from Sudan to the Maghreb. 

"In the last round of fighting between Hamas and Israel, it became clear that Iran has managed to smuggle missiles into Gaza, so that [Hamas,] the Muslim Brotherhood movement that is subordinate to the Ayatollahs of Qom, can 'make noise' and change the rules of the political game. To whose benefit? Certainly not to the benefit of Palestine, or even of the people of Gaza. It fired rockets on Israel so that Palestinians would be burned every night by Israel's attacks and bombs while [its own] leaders enjoy the pleasures of Arab capitals…

"As long as Iran activates Hamas whenever it pleases, as it does with Hizbullah and the Houthis, Gaza's children will not know peace. But the day will come when Hamas faces the guillotine of the Palestinian people, for whom Hamas' coup [in Gaza] brought nothing but destruction, death and devastation… As Palestinian academic Ahmad Barqawi said, 'Iran is a country of hypocrites, a trash heap. It feeds upon the corpses of disintegrating countries.'  Whoever makes an alliance with this trash [heap] is surely consigning himself to the trash heaps of history!"[9]

Saudi Journalist: Hamas Betrays The Countries That Supported It, Chief Of Them Saudi Arabia; Forming An Alliance With The Houthis Is A Red Line

Columnist Muhammad Al-Sa'ed wrote in the daily 'Okaz under the headline "Hamas in Houthi Garb": "If some people think that the reason for Saudi Arabia's fury with Hamas is the wooden shield worth no more than 20 riyals [i.e., the shield presented by Hamas to the Houthi official]… then they are sorely mistaken. The reason for [Saudi Arabia's] rage is Hamas' repeated betrayals, starting with [the acts of] forming a coalition with the Houthis, training [their] fighters and granting them logistic support, and ending with the incitement [against Saudi Arabia] in the Arab street and adopting the hostile positions of Iran and the Houthis towards Riyad…  

"The event held last week in honor of the head of the Houthi gang is not an isolated action by the Hamas representative in Sanaa. It is [part of] Hamas' policy of clearly announcing its complete support for the Iranian plan, which is hostile to Saudi Arabia…

"Perhaps the gravest [aspect] of the Palestinian actions is that they are the worst enemies of their own cause, especially when they interfere in inter-Arab affairs and conflicts. During the recent crisis, Hamas took sides against Saudi Arabia, and during the [Arab Spring] protests in Syria, Hamas split into two camps: one that fought against the [Syrian] regime, and another that joined the Iranian [Islamic] Revolutionary Guards [Corps], which is responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of innocent Syrians…

"Hamas regards itself as the region's pampered child… [who can] do whatever it likes in the guise of a fighting [movement]: steal funds and launder them through [various foreign] capitals, establish commercial entities and build apartment towers bearing local names in Arab cities. At the same time, it betrays countries that backed it, especially Saudi Arabia… It has no problem perpetrating political and security crimes against Saudi Arabia while maintaining popular pressure that prevents Riyad from reacting. But this time, Riyad surprised Hamas and unmasked it. If Hamas thinks that it has red lines… then Saudi Arabia has red lines [too,] and they are: [forming] an alliance with Tehran, Hizbullah and the Houthis and joining any camp that is hostile to the [Saudi] kingdom. Our red lines are more important than yours, and our lives are no less important than yours. In fact, they are more important."[10]

Columnist For Al-Jazirah Daily: Hamas Displays Hostility To Saudi Arabia, As A Service To Iran

Maha Al-Sharif, a columnist for the Saudi Al-Jazirah daily, wrote: "After Hamas shook the hands of the Houthi [representative Muhammad 'Ali Al-Houthi], does any reasonable person still doubt its hostility towards the [Saudi] kingdom and towards all the Arab states, [hostility which it displays as] a service to our bitter enemy, Iran?... In the past, Hamas asked Saudi Arabia for assistance in rebuilding Gaza, and today [its officials] appear on satellite channels and thank Iran and the Houthis – Saudi Arabia's enemies – for supporting the Palestinian cause…

"There is a connection between this betrayal and the loss of the Palestinian cause. The terrorists have all united under the banner of [ostensibly] defending Palestine. These terrorist militias and parties, supported by Iran, have reached rock bottom and have become [Iranian] tools… Slavery crushes people's honor and soul, [yet] the [Hamas] movement, the [Houthi] militia and the [Hizbullah] party are slaves of Iran that have betrayed their countries and their peoples…"[11]

Saudi Columnist: Hamas Is An Iranian Agent That Will Wind Up On The Trash Heap Of History

Al-Jazirah columnist Muhammad Bin 'Issa Al-Kana'an wrote: "Iran focused [all its attention] on the Palestinian resistance movements Hamas and [Palestinian] Islamic Jihad [PIJ]. It established ties with them and gave them unconditional support, to the extent that they became enslaved to Iranian money, and turned from resistance movements into [Iranian] contractors and bargaining chips in the game between the regional axes and in [Iran's] plans to undermine the Arab world.

"This is what actually happened: Iran first managed to embrace PIJ and draw it into its camp by means of the Syrian regime, whereas Hamas tried to make decisions independently, without connection to Iran. But [eventually] Hamas was unable to resist the Iranian enticements, and fell into the Iranian net as well. It began to shamelessly identify with Iranian policy, in a manner provocative to every honorable Arab who witnesses the destruction and corruption that the Iranians have wrought in the Arab world. It  has come to the point that Hamas leaders describe the terrorist and criminal Qassem Soleimani [the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards' Qods Force, who was assassinated in  2020] as a 'martyr,' and hold up portraits of this murderer of Syrian women and children.

"Then Hamas fell right into the muck of disgrace when it sided with the Houthis, who target the [Saudi] kingdom with rockets and drones. [Hamas] failed to understand that it is illogical to call for liberating Al-Aqsa and at the same time acquiesce to the harming of [Saudi Arabia], the Land of the Two Holy Places [Mecca and Medina]. Hamas thus proved it was a disgraceful agent of Iran and a pawn on the chessboard of the Persian plan. Perhaps the signs of disgrace were [most] evident when the Hamas representative in Yemen, [Mo'az] Abu Shamala, visited the Houthis, declared support for them and honored one of their leaders.

"How can Hamas look the Palestinian children [in the face] and claim to be their protector, and at the same time shake hands with those who are killing the children of Yemen [i.e. the Houthis], whose latest crime was against the children of Marib?! This is a political stain that Hamas has worn ever since it sold its loyalty to Iran, at Palestine's expense, and later at the expense of its Arab environment... Hamas has stepped out of the line of fire and fallen into the muck of disgrace. It has left the [Gaza] trenches and moved into hotels that are generously financed by the Revolutionary Guards.

"[However,] Hamas' fall does not mean that the Palestinian blood is lost and that Palestine has no free and noble people – people who are part of their Arab environment and who know and esteem the countries that support them in the restitution of their rights, chief of them Saudi Arabia. These people are the Palestinian horses to bet on, whereas those who trade in the [Palestinian] cause, Iran's mercenaries, will end up on the trash heap of history."[12]

Palestinian Columnist Close To Hamas: The Houthis, Hizbullah And Iran Arm Hamas And Deserve Our Gratitude

Political analyst Fayez Abu Shamala, a member of the Palestinian National Council and the former mayor of Khan Younis, responded to the criticism against Hamas in an article that was published on the London-based daily and on the website of the Iranian television channel Al-Alam. In the article – titled "Yes, We Thank the Houthis, Hizbullah and Iran – Is That a Problem? And Why We Will Welcome Any Bullet [Provided by] the Saudis" –Abu Shamala wrote:  "I received messages from many brothers in Iraq, Syria and Yemen criticizing Hamas and condemning its representative in Yemen, Mo'az Abu Shamala, for the statements and words of gratitude he addressed to the Houthis [in appreciation for] their support of the Palestinian resistance. The Arab criticism of Hamas stems from its position on Iran, Hizbullah and the Houthis. [The critics] wonder how a Sunni Muslim movement [like Hamas] can thank and praise the positions of Shi'ite organizations which, they say, have massacred Sunnis in Iraq, Yemen and Syria. [They ask:] Is it proper that Hamas, which has received funds and support from the Arab peoples, now turns its back on the warm bosom of the Arabs – who gave up part of their daily livelihood to put bread in [Hamas'] mouth – and expresses gratitude to Iran and Hizbullah…?

"First, let me inform anyone who is interested that I am not a member of the Hamas movement and I have not appointed myself as its advocate.[13] I am a Palestinian Arab who believes in his complete right to the Palestinian lands… and, in my opinion, the condemnations directed at Hamas by certain people are nothing but a certificate of good character confirming Hamas' morality, its place in the heart of the nation and its positive impact on the coming generations. This is [my] basic assumption [as I] answer the question of whether Hamas was wrong to thank all those who help it.

"As it fights the Zionist enemy on Palestinian soil, Hamas is not fighting an enemy with clear characteristics, [because] it is [also] fighting the agents of the Israeli enemy in the region and opposing all its allies in the West. The regimes that support the U.S. and Israel are the ones attacking Hamas. In other words, the Palestinian resistance needs an international Arab-Islamic alliance to take its side in the fight against the U.S.-Israel alliance and its puny supporters, [namely] its treasonous agents within the Arab and Islamic nation.

"Faced with the severe Israeli siege and sanctions, and having to oppose the U.S.-Israel alliance and its agents, the members of the Palestinian resistance in Gaza were forced to seek any possible source of weapons, assistance and funds – whether Arab, Islamic or even foreign – that would enable [them] to confront the enemy alliance. Were it not for this Arab-Islamic alliance that fought the U.S.-Israel alliance, Hamas and the resistance in Gaza would not have been able to take up arms and fire rockets on Tel Aviv…  

"The Palestinian resistance in Gaza needs arms and money, and no resistance fighter or patriot in Gaza denies the importance of the help extended [to Gaza] by the Arab peoples. But in the same way, nobody denies the role played by Iran in meeting the military and material needs of the Palestinian resistance, including by securing the weapons supply lines and [extending] logistic assistance. I claim that Hizbullah in Lebanon constituted a base for supplying many of the weapons of the Gaza resistance, and so did Yemen, which opened up its ports on the Red Sea to store the weapons of the resistance and ensure their delivery to Gaza.

"I say that the Israeli and U.S. intelligence apparatuses know this, but are helpless [to stop it], and that Hamas' representative in Yemen, Mo'az Abu Shamala, is equally aware of this as he follows the details of this military assistance extended by the Houthis to the resistance.

"We thank the Arab Houthis for the military services they have extended to the resistance in Gaza. But this gratitude does not mean that the Palestinian resistance [intends to] use its weapons against the rivals of the Arab Houthis on Yemeni soil [i.e., against Saudi Arabia]. The resistance will transcend the regional conflicts that will [eventually] end at a moment of national catharsis, when the Arab peoples in Iraq, Yemen and Syria reembrace wisdom and understand that the internal strife between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims is wholly manufactured by Israel and serves only the enemies of the nation…

"The Palestinian people, who thank the Houthis, Hizbullah and the Iranians, would have been willing to kiss Saudi Arabia's feet and the very soil under its feet had [the Saudis] supplied [the Palestinian] resistance with even a single bullet to repel the occupying Zionists. Our Palestinian people would have loved it if the port of Jeddah on the Red Sea became a safe passage for arms intended for the resistance in Gaza, instead of the port of Al-Hudaydah in Yemen.

"If this vision comes true, we will all thank Saudi Arabia and present the UAE with the Shield of Gaza and Jerusalem in gratitude for their military assistance. But Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who fight the Houthis in the name of the Sunnis, [actually] fight the Palestinian resistance in the name of Islam and conspire against it, [as evident from the fact that] UAE spy cells have been discovered in Gaza, whose mission was to gather information for the Israeli enemy…

"Muslim moral [values] compel Hamas and the resistance factions to thank every Arab, Muslim, Christian and even Jew who helps them in their war against the U.S.-Israel camp. This does not mean that the resistance stands with any leader against his people, or that the Palestinian people is willing to let its cause be sold [to the highest bidder] in a political auction. The Arab peoples understand that any compass that does not point towards Jerusalem is a false compass, that any gun pointed at the Israeli enemy is a true gun that follows the correct path of Islam, and that anyone who casts doubt on the resistance, shakes hands with the Zionists as allies, and normalizes [relations with them] as their friend or meek neighbor, is [actually] declaring war on Islam and the Muslims." At the end of his article Abu Shamala added a remark: "Just as the Palestinians thank the [Qatari] Al-Jazeera channel, they also thank the [pro-Hizbullah Lebanon-based] Al-Mayadeen channel."[14]




[1] This is possibly a reference to statements by 'Abd Al-Malik Al-Houthi in a June 3, 2021 speech, in which he declared that the Houthis were an integral part of the equation announced by Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, and that the threat to Jerusalem meant a regional war in the framework of the resistance axis., June 3, 2021.

[2],, June 6, 2021.

[3], May 26, 2021, May 28, 2021.

[4], June 9, 2021.

[5], June 9, 2021.

[6],, March 26, 2020; Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), April 24, 2020.

[7] Criticism of the meeting between the Hamas and Houthi officials was also voiced by elements in Yemen. The Al-Islah party, for example, called Hamas' gesture of appreciation for the Houthis "a provocation against the Yemenis, who oppose the war [forced] upon them by the Houthis." Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), June 11, 2021.

[8] Filastin (Gaza), June 9, 2021.

[9] 'Okaz (Saudi Arabia), June 10, 2021.

[10] 'Okaz (Saudi Arabia), June 10, 2021.

[11] Al-Jazirah (Saudi Arabia), June 10, 2021.

[12] Al-Jazirah (Saudi Arabia), June 13, 2021.

[13] It should be noted that the author of this article, Fayez Abu Shamala, is identified with Hamas and is a columnist in the Hamas mouthpiece Filastin.

[14], June 13, 2021.

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