May 15, 2019 Special Dispatch No. 8065

Hamas Columnist And Former Haniya Advisor Slams Assad Regime For Failing To Respond To Israeli Attacks On Syria

May 15, 2019
Syria, Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 8065

On April 13, 2019, Syria's official news agency reported that Israeli planes had targeted a "military outpost" in the city of Masyaf in the Hama Governorate.[1] Syrian opposition websites reported that the targets were a site for developing Iranian medium-range missiles and headquarters of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and of Iran-backed militias.[2] Responding to this incident and to earlier Israeli strikes in Syria, Yousuf Rizka, a columnist for the Hamas-affiliated daily Filastin and former advisor to Hamas leader Isma'il Haniya, wrote an article titled "Cowards Do Not Make History," in which he castigated the Syrian regime and Iran for failing to retaliate against Israel for its strikes. He accused them, as well as Hizbullah, of leaving Syria unprotected and allowing Israel to do as it pleases in its territory and airspace.

It should be noted that this is not the first time Rizka has the Assad regime and its failure to confront Israel.[3]


Yousuf Rizka (source:

The following are excerpts from Rizka's recent article:[4]

"Several days ago, the Zionist navy targeted the Syrian [city of] Masyaf...  The missiles struck military bases in Masyaf where Iranian Zilzal missiles are kept and upgraded... According to experts, this is the first time Israel has attacked Syrian bases from the sea. This may be due to [Israel's] concern that its planes might encounter Russian planes [above Syria]. It is also possible that Israel wants to humiliate the Syrians and the Iranians together, with Russian acquiescence. The missile attack went unanswered, and the results were as Israel intended them to be. The Syrians and Iranians gritted their teeth and refrained from reacting, as though the incident was inevitable or there was no possibility of responding. The [Syrians and Iranians] did not even [bother to] threaten in the media that retaliation would come at a time and place of their choosing.

"Why does Syria – which has been so cruel to the Syrian people in the recent years – remain silent? [Because] Israel is scary and frightening to deal with. Iran does not want a war with Israel on Syrian soil. [Furthermore,] Iran and Syria had no way of knowing how Russia would respond if they reacted to the deliberate Israeli attack, so they found no solution but to remain silent, swallow their pride and downplay the significance of the attack. Israel thus emerged victorious, saying to the two sides [the Syrians and Iranians]: If you repeat [your bad behavior], we will [strike] again, and nothing in Syria is safely outside the range of our planes and our navy. The Syrian Golan has become the Israeli Golan, or perhaps we should say 'the American-Israeli Golan' [a reference to U.S. President Trump's March 25, 2019 recognition of Israel's sovereignty over the Golan] – yet there has been no Syrian reaction to this momentous change.  The Syrian [city of] Masyaf [was attacked]... yet Syria did not respond. What more can happen tomorrow?!

"Even Lebanon and Hizbullah responded more forcefully than Syria. Hizbullah threatened Israel, whereas Syria did not [even] threaten to respond to the Zionist strike by opening the gates of resistance from the Syrian Golan, for example, or with a Syrian missile attack [on Israel]. Sadly, Syria is an arena where the [Israeli] enemy does as it pleases, despite the presence of Russia, Iran and Hizbullah... What has happened to Syria, which has been dubbed 'the first land of resistance'?! What would have happened if the Damascus regime dared to respond to the attack on Masyaf?! What would have happened to Iran if it dared to retaliate?! Cowards do not make history..." 


[1], April 13, 2019.

[2],, April 13, 2019.

[3] In an article he penned in 2013, after the Syrian regime threatened to open up a "resistance front" against Israel in the Golan, he noted that, instead of attacking Israel, this regime was actually attacking its own people. See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 5307,  Assad And His Allies Threaten To Open A Front In Golan Heights, May 21, 2013.

[4] Filastin (Gaza), April 16, 2019.

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