The wave of violence and terror taking place in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel in the past weeks has been welcomed and encouraged by Hamas. Taking advantage of rumors that Israel intends to change the status-quo at Al-Aqsa mosque, the movement called to oppose the occupation by every means. Hamas spokesmen praised the attacks, saying that they were a spontaneous and natural response to Israel's actions in Al-Aqsa, and called the attackers, some of whom were members of the movement or affiliated with it, "heroic martyrs" and models of courage and creativity, urging other Palestinians to follow their example and continue the attacks.
Articles in Hamas newspapers and websites likewise glorified the violence and promised that the future would see attacks even more devastating and creative. Some also emphasized that the war underway today is a religious war, not a political one.
In addition, Hamas is making efforts to expand the unrest in Jerusalem to the West Bank and fan it into a new intifada. Its spokesmen are directing harsh criticism at the Palestinian Authority (PA), demanding that it halt the security coordination with Israel and allow the Palestinian public to voice its protest, resist the occupation and launch the "Al-Aqsa and Jerusalem Intifada."
This paper reviews the efforts of Hamas spokesmen and media aimed at escalating the unrest in Jerusalem and elsewhere in the name of defending the Al-Aqsa mosque.
Hamas Political Bureau Head Khaled Mash'al: The Volcano Will Erupt At The Occupation Very Soon
Hamas Political Bureau head Khaled Mash'al called on all the Palestinian factions to oppose the occupation's actions in Jerusalem, and criticized the political weakness of the PA. In an interview with the Qatari daily Al-Sharq, he said: "[Israel] has a plan to harm Al-Aqsa mosque, to desecrate its sanctity, and to divide it [between Muslims and Jews, first], in terms of the times [during which each will be allowed to pray there] and later by [actually dividing] the space – with the ultimate aim of destroying [the mosque] and building the [Jewish] 'Temple.' Its recent closure to Muslims is a dangerous precedent. This prompts us to say that Al-Aqsa is now within the heart of the danger, and not [merely] facing it." Mash'al said further: "We believe that the response to these crimes and these plans to harm Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa should be expressed on two main levels [the Palestinian one and the pan-Arab one]. The first level is resistance and prompting the [Palestinian] people to rebel against the occupation, for this is what deters the enemy. This is not just the responsibility of Hamas, but of all the factions together and of the Palestinian leadership. Every Palestinian leader should shoulder his national, political and historic responsibility in the face of the severe and unprecedented danger threatening Al-Aqsa. On the second level, the entire [Arab] nation, including all its official and popular sectors, its leaders, movements, organizations, clerics, intellectuals and writers, and all Muslims and Christians who hold Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa dear, must initiate the consolidation of a serious stance, and voice its rage to the world in an open-ended [struggle]..."
He added, "Throughout the last century, the Palestinian people has never given up the struggle, the jihad, the resistance, and the martyrdom. At all times, Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa were planted in the heart of our people, as in the heart of the nation. The problem is not the Palestinian people or its willingness to rebel or resist, but the weakness of the policy and of the official options. Resistance is the right of the Palestinian people, and this is uncontroversial. The very existence of the occupation warrants resistance, as do the settlements, the daily killing, and the arrests – as well as the Judaization of Jerusalem and the harming of Al-Aqsa mosque."
Asked whether he foresaw a third intifada, Mash'al replied: "There is seething below the surface, and some of [it has already erupted] to the surface, and all the obstacles and attempts to thwart and bury it will fail, Allah willing. The Palestinian volcano will not wait, but erupt in the occupation's face. Calm is required in the domestic arena, among the Palestinian people, but when it comes to the occupation... there is no place for calm, but only for resistance and struggle by all means."
Mash'al congratulated "the Palestinian public in Jerusalem, whose sons, daughters, children, and elderly are the first line of defense of Jerusalem and of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and all our holy places, [both] Christian and Muslim. We bless also our people within the 1948 [borders, i.e. Israeli Arabs], who have for the past few years made the Al-Aqsa mosque and Jerusalem into a main issue and a daily struggle. Together with the residents of Jerusalem, they are the first line of defense of Al-Aqsa."
Hamas And Its Leaders Glorify The Terrorists And Their "Creativity"
Hamas and its leadership have been glorifying the attacks in Jerusalem, depicting their perpetrators as heroic and creative martyrs who courageously sacrificed their lives for Al-Aqsa. For example, following the October 22, 2014 vehicular attack at a Jerusalem light rail station, Hamas praised the perpetrator, 'Abd Al-Rahman Al-Shaloudi, who is the nephew of Fatah military wing 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades commander in the West Bank Muhi Al-Din Al-Sharif and was himself a former prisoner in Israel for his Hamas affiliation. The movement called him a "heroic martyr," and added: "Praise to the Al-Shaloudi family, its jihad, and the sacrifices it made in its steadfastness."
"The Heroes of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque - attackers Al-Shaloudi, Hijazi, Al-'Akari, and ?" (source: almajd.ps, November 6, 2014)
Hamas also expressed pride at Mu'taz Hijazi's October 29, 2014 attempt to murder Jewish activist Yehuda Glick in Jerusalem on October 29, 2014, writing "We are all Mu'ataz," even though he was not a member of the movement. Hamas Political Bureau deputy head Isma'il Haniya boasted about Mu'ataz's "heroic operation," and columnist and Hamas associate 'Imad 'Afana wrote to Mu'ataz: "We see in Jerusalem only you. You brandished the pure rifle against the plunderers, to become the compass for all the revolutionaries and the mujahedeen throughout the Arab and Muslim world."
Also praised by Hamas was the vehicular attack perpetrated at another light rail station in Jerusalem on November 5, 2014 by Ibrahim Al-'Akari, the brother of Moussa Al-'Akari, a member of the Hamas cell that abducted and murdered Israeli Border Police officer Nissim Toledano in 1992. Taking credit for the account, the movement said that it had been "carried out by its heroic son... who sacrificed his life... and avenged his people and the sanctity of the Al-Aqsa mosque and Jerusalem, following [the example of] 'Abd Al-Rahman Al-Shaloudi and Mu'taz Al-Hijazi."
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum called the attack a "natural response" and exhorted the residents of Jerusalem and the West Bank to carry out further attacks of this sort. The 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades congratulated "the holy warriors of Hamas and the heroes of Jerusalem who mobilized to defend Jerusalem with their souls and sacrificed their blood on her threshold." Muhammad Al-Sheikh, a columnist for the Hamas mouthpiece Al-Risalah, waxed enthusiastic in his praise of the attack, writing: "This time the eruption did not take the form of bombs... but a creative form... [of] an operation of running down settlers... [Al-'Akari] was not satisfied with running people down; he stopped his car, got out, and attacked people with a metal rod, courageously and with his own unique creativity, in order to take vengeance upon the Israeli occupier."
Ibrahim Al-'Akari (source: Palinfo.com, November 6, 2014).
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said: "Hamas welcomes the heroism operations in the streets of the homeland. The most recent of these, in Tel Aviv and [near] Bethlehem, are a response to the crimes of the occupation at Al-Aqsa, and sent a warning to Israel before the situation explodes following these crimes. The movement calls for continuing these acts of heroism."
Following the November 15, 2014 attack in which a young Jewish man was stabbed at Jerusalem's Damascus Gate, Abu Zuhri claimed that this was a natural reaction to "the occupation's crimes." In response to the November 18, 2014 Har Nof synagogue massacre, Hamas senior official Moussa Abu Marzouq said: "We are on the threshhold of a genuine intifada under the heading of Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa and the settlement. The procession of righteous martyrs, the last of whom were Ghassan and 'Uday Abu Jamal, [the perpetrators of the synagogue attack], are milestones on the way [to this intifada].
Hamas cartoon showing the synagogue massacre. The knife-wielding attacker says "Where are they?" (Facebook.com/palinfo, November 17, 2014)
"In Jerusalem I see only Resistance" (source: Facebook page of Hamas' Al-Risalah paper, November 19, 2014)
"Oh hero, prepare your weapon" (source: Facebook page of Hamas' Al-Risalah paper, November 19, 2014)
Hamas spokesman Husam Badran declared, "The attack is a first-rate development in standing up to the occupation and a practical response to its continued crimes, the last of which was the execution of [Yusuf Hassan] Al-Ramouni [the Palestinian bus driver who was found hanged on November 16, 2014].
Announcement of a "March of Rage"" for Al-Aqsa: "Jihad, Victory or Martyrdom" (Paldf.net, October 10, 2014)
Hamas poster calls to participate in "March of Rage": "Our Al-Aqsa [Mosque] – Not Their Temple" (Facebook.com/Paldf, November 12, 2014)
Hamas Websites: Calls To Continue The Attacks For Al-Aqsa
In an effort to encourage further attacks, the Hamas website described the rejoicing that they sparked among the Palestinians, writing in the wake of the November 10, 2014 stabbing murder of Israeli soldier Almog Shiloni, and the November 6, 2014 vehicular attack in Gush Etzion: "The news of the stabbing attack, in which an Israeli soldier was killed by Nour Al-Din Abu Hashiya, sparked enthusiasm and joy in Nablus, especially in the 'Askar refugee camp. Many residents went to his home to offer the family help and support. Social media activists called the stabbing attack an act of heroism, encouraged the young people of the resistance to find new ways of causing distress to the occupiers, and expressed hope for an intensification of vehicular and stabbing attacks against the Zionists in revenge for the oppression and the provocations in Jerusalem and the West Bank."
Fahmi Sharab, columnist for Hamas' Filastin website, wrote in his November 9 column that Israel has no weapon against vehicular attacks, and predicted that more devastating attacks are yet to come: "The Islamist factions' welcoming of the attacks, and the solidarity [expressed by] the Palestinian residents and media, are encouraging many young people in Jerusalem and in the area of the seamline between [the West Bank and] Israel to carry out similar attacks soon... There is no weapon against these attacks, and Israel is helpless in the face of a large vehicle going 120 km/hr down the street and suddenly swerving to take with it four, five, or 10 people whose deaths need not be regretted. These attacks are the high price paid by the Israelis for the war against Gaza and its residents in all of Palestine. What comes next is going to be worse."
The encouragement of violence was also expressed on social media. Journalist Muhammad Abu Zaida Wrote in Al-Risalah that, because they have no weapons, Palestinians "can step on the gas and surprise the soldiers and the settlers... The Palestinian people behind them call, 'Palestinian, run [them] over, run [them] over, and Allah will send you a bride...' One tweet, in a conversation on the car intifada, said: 'If the missiles from Gaza reach you from the sky, then the missiles of Jerusalem reach you from the ground, in cars... Go look for sirens and an Iron Dome against car [attacks]... The residents of Jerusalem are thinking up creative ways to attack the Israelis and take vengeance... No one can prevent the Palestinians from developing ideas and inventing means of waging the resistance to the occupation."
A Religious War Against The Apes And Pigs Who Defile Al-Aqsa
Columnists on websites close to Hamas claimed that the war underway today is a religious war, and warned that there would be an explosion. Dr. 'Issam Shawer wrote on the Hamas website: "Ibrahim Al-Akari's martyrdom operation... was not the first [such operation], and will not be the last... In the coming days and weeks, [further] surprises and quality operations by the Palestinian resistance are expected, as long as the Jews continue to test the patience of the Palestinian people and to defile holy places in an unprecedented manner.
"Palestinian and Arab voices are warning that religious war could break out in the region because of what they term 'the Israeli violations'... Our battle against the occupier is fundamentally religious, not geographic, historic, or economic.. We must stop arguing that our battle against the enemy is political, waged in the arena of the UN, the Security Council, or negotiations. All this nonsense contradicts the Koran and the Hadith.
"The boiling [anger] that invaded the heart of the Palestinian people is intensifying daily; the Palestinian rage is building, and it surges when we see the sons of apes and pigs defiling Al-Aqsa Mosque [and], starving the Gaza Strip residents..."
Shawer went on to warn: "If those who seek quiet in our region do not rectify their mistakes and [do not deal with] Israel's brutality, the situation will explode not only in Jerusalem, but also in Gaza and the West Bank."
Another columnist for the Hamas website, Fayez Abu Shamala, wrote: "In Jerusalem, there is a religious war, the conflict of which centers on Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Jews are acting to remove it, claiming that it is situated on a site holy to them, and that the foundations of the Jewish state will not be complete unless the Temple is rebuilt, replacing Al-Aqsa Mosque."
Hamas Criticizes Palestinian Authority For Not Participating In The Unrest, And Calls For It To Carry Out Attacks, Launch A New Intifada
Hamas is also working to ensure that the unrest over Al-Aqsa spreads to the West Bank, and to inflame passions throughout the Palestinian territories in order to bring about a new intifada. Hamas spokesman Sami Al-Zuhri called on Jerusalem and West Bank residents and all Palestinians to "expand the resistance operations and the uprising against the soldiers of the occupation and the Zionist settlers in full force, and defend Al-Aqsa and the rights of our people whatever the sacrifices may be."
In an interview with the Qatari daily Al-Sharq, Khaled Mash'al criticized the PA security forces for trying to restore calm in the West Bank, saying: "No one has the right to strip the Palestinians of their right to resistance. Any attempt or effort to do so, to persecute the members of the resistance and the weapons of the resistance, or to conduct operations to calm the situation in Jerusalem in order to prevent explosion in the face of the occupation... will be considered a national mistake and will fail, since they contravene the national mood [of] rage, rebellion, and support for Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa."
Hamas political bureau member 'Izzat Rishq wrote in an article: "The Palestinian Authority must stop the security coordination with the occupation after the barbaric attack on Al-Aqsa, and must guide the enraged public towards clashing with the occupation face to face, fanning the Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa intifada, and stop taking pride in preventing a new intifada. Such a position is not cause for pride, but cause for shame... The continued Zionist provocations of our people's sentiments and the sentiments of all the Muslims in the world will cause an explosion of rage and hatred towards the occupation and its settlers. The support for the option of steadfastness is the only path for defending Al-Aqsa in the face of the sudden danger. The activation of the resistance in Jerusalem and in the West Bank and in all the occupied territories is the appropriate response to the Zionist attack. Only an uprising will deter the occupation and the settlers. We will defend Al-Aqsa against the occupation unceasingly with martyrdom, blood, and jihad." 
Hamas spokesman Husam Badran called on West Bank residents to "be creative in all things connected with the resistance to the occupation, in organized operations or in individually initiated operations.
Hamas columnist Fayez Abu Shamala wondered why the West Bank Palestinians were not participating in the clashes, and mocked the PA leadership's "manliness": "Jerusalem is the ummah of all the Arabs and of all the Muslims. Jerusalem is all of Palestine. Anyone who is not angry on Jerusalem's behalf, or anyone whose sense of honor is not aroused on behalf of Al-Aqsa – his sense of manliness would not be aroused even if he saw his wife naked in the arms of a Jew. [Only a man like that] can say, Let's not get dragged into an intifada."
 Al-Sharq (Qatar), November 9, 2014.
 Paltoday.ps, October 23, 2014.
 Paltoday.ps, October 31, 2014.
 Paltoday.ps, November 2, 2014.
 Maannews.net, October 31, 2014.
 Palinfo.com, November 5, 2014.
 Palinfo.com, November 5, 2014.
 Aalresalah.ps, November 5, 2014.
 Plinfo.com, November 10, 2014.
 Palinfo.com, November 16, 2014
 Facebook.com/paldf, November 18, 2014.
 Felesteen.ps, November 18, 2014.
 Palinfo.com, November 10, 2014.
 Felesteen.ps, November 9, 2014.
 Alresalah.ps, November 6, 2014.
 See also MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 5885, Article On Hamas Website: Our War Against The Occupation Is A Religious War Against The Descendants Of Apes And Pigss, November 18, 2014.
 Felesteen.ps, November 6, 2014.
 Felesteen.ps, November 6, 2014
 Palinfo.com, November 5, 2014.
 Al-Sharq (Qatar), November 9, 2014.
 Palinfo.com, November 5, 2014.
 Alresalah.ps, October 23, 2014.
 Felesteen.ps, November 6, 2014.