March 27, 2024 Special Dispatch No. 11233

Palestinian Columnist: The Widespread Belief That Ramadan Is The Month Of Victories Is Mistaken; Hamas Must Stop Its Threats And Strive For A Ceasefire

March 27, 2024
Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 11233

Writing in his column in the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam on March 18, 2024, several days after the start of the Islamic month of Ramadan, journalist 'Abd Al-Ghani Salameh criticized Hamas for failing to achieve a ceasefire with Israel before the start of the holy month despite the grave losses in Gaza, and for threatening to continue the war. Noting that Hamas' insistence on continuing the war stems from the widely-held Islamic belief that Ramadan is the month of victories and that the Muslims won every war that was waged during Ramadan,[1]he stated that this belief is "a distortion of the facts" because Islamic history proves otherwise. Not all of the battles waged on Ramadan ended in victory, and the majority of victories in Islam did not take place during Ramadan. Salameh added that, in contrast to those who are outside Gaza – an allusion to the Hamas leadership abroad – the people of Gaza long for a ceasefire and for an immediate end to the war. The threats to continue the war, he said, are "indecent, unacceptable and immoral," for human life should be held sacred and political interests should not supersede the interests of the people.[2] Salameh is not the only Palestinian journalist who has criticized Hamas. While some senior officials from the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Fatah justified Hamas' October 7 attack,[3] several articles published in PA dailies claimed that Hamas had brought disaster upon the residents of Gaza and urged it to be more flexible in its negotiations with Israel.[4] Apart from the historic rivalry between Hamas and the PA, this criticism may spring from the PA's apprehension about a possible increase in support for Hamas in the PA-controlled West Bank and a possible outbreak of a wave of violence there, inspired by the Hamas attack against Israel, which might lead to a widescale Israeli military response.

'Abd Al-Ghani Salameh (Image:

The following are translated excerpts from Salameh's column:[5]

"Unlike [The Hamas Leaders] Abroad, All The People Of Gaza Yearn For An Immediate End To The War"

"After all the destruction that has been wreaked in Gaza, the rivers of spilled blood, the holocaust that brought the people to the brink of starvation, the blocking of the political horizon, and the international Arab stance that responds with silence to the aggression and even supports it and participates in it, there are still those who gamble that the resistance will be victorious and will not only force Israel to withdraw from Gaza but bring about the liberation of Jerusalem. These are the same people who gambled that the occupation army wouldn't dare to enter Gaza, and that the resistance would compel it to withdraw. Then they gambled on Khan Yunis, which they described as the bastion of the resistance, and now they are gambling on Rafah. In light of the five previous rounds of Israeli aggression in Gaza, I don't know what else has to happen for us to learn our lesson.

"Of course, one must not lose hope. Belief in the certainty of victory is a necessary condition for attaining it. Weak hands cannot effect change, and defeated, despairing people cannot achieve victory. All this is undoubtedly true – but there is an essential difference between [maintaining hope] and peddling illusions and relying on empty promises…

"Wars are not waged with slogans, speeches and flowery rhetoric, but by assessing the situation based on precise considerations and on a strategic perception that takes into consideration all the political facts, the objective circumstances, the local and global power balance, etc.

"Contrary to the hopes, the month of fasting began without the start of a ceasefire. Unlike those who are abroad [i.e. the Hamas leadership], all the people of Gaza yearn for an immediate end to the war and the declaration of a ceasefire…

"Every day the hunger increases, about 200 people die and hundreds are wounded, most of whom lose limbs and become disabled. Every hour a house is destroyed and a family loses its home or its breadwinner. Every hour children are orphaned, women are widowed, dreams are shattered and hopes are dashed. The future flees and grows distant and becomes unknown and frightening.

"By the end of this month we are likely to lose several thousand [more] of our people and more   innocent lives, and further rivers of pure blood are likely to be spilled. [In fact,] the losses may be many times greater.

"The Joy [Displayed] By Some People About The Lack Of A Ceasefire, And Their Speeches And Threats To Continue The War, Are Indecent, Unacceptable And Immoral"

"We understand and welcome the decision of the resistance [fighters] to sacrifice their lives, and to stand firm and continue to fight. But the joy [displayed] by some about the lack of a ceasefire, and their speeches and threats to continue the war, are indecent, unacceptable and immoral. The inevitable meaning [of the failure to reach a ceasefire] is that thousands of women, children and young people will die, thousands of homes will be destroyed, millions will continue to be displaced and expelled, and hundreds of thousands of them will suffer hunger. All this in exchange for the joy of destroying a few tanks and killing a few soldiers! It is impossible to understand the reason for this enthusiasm.[6]

"They want to continue the war because they believe that 'Ramadan is the month of victories' and that 'the Muslims were victorious in every war that took place during Ramadan.' But reality clearly proves that the assumptions of those who decided on [Operation Al-Aqsa] Flood' [Hamas' name for the October 7 attack] were mistaken. After all these heavy losses, there are still those who place their trust in people who have nothing to do with achieving victory or standing firm [and who make] statements that do not feed the hungry, protect the children or deter the aggression.

"In the sciences of armies and warfare, is there such a thing as 'wars during Ramadan'? In 2014 did Gaza not experience harsh aggression that continued for 51 days, which coincided with Ramadan yet did not lead to victory or to any achievement? Instead, over 2,600 people were killed and heavy material damage was caused that has not yet been repaired. Have 75 Ramadans not passed since the Nakba of the Palestinian people [in 1948]? Is it not the case that the Arab Islamic nation has experienced hundreds of Ramadans, yet its situation continues to deteriorate? How many Ramadans have occurred during periods in which the Syrian, Iraqis, Yemenis, Afghans and other oppressed peoples were suffering?  

"Is it not the case that the Muslims remember jihad only during Ramadan and take an interest in the Palestinian suffering only during Ramadan? Is it not the case that the pictures of the killing, the blood, the destruction, the dismembered limbs, the hunger, the displacement and the humiliation interest them only during Ramadan? Most of them remember the poor, the wretched, and charity only during this month. I do not mean to disrespect the blessed month, the month of goodness, blessing and jihad. But the gamble that Ramadan would awaken the emotions of the Muslims and motivate them to set out for the arenas [of jihad] joins the list of gambles that led us into this dark tunnel.[7]

"The truth is that, for most people, Ramadan is the month of baked goods, [TV] series, nighttime festivities and feasts. Whoever wants to struggle doesn’t need a specific month, for our suffering has gone on, 24 hours a day and all week long, for over a century.

"During the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad, the Muslims were involved in 27 campaigns and invasions, only two of which took place during Ramadan: [the Battle of] Badr and the conquest of Mecca.[8] During the past 1,400 years, Islamic armies have waged hundreds, if not thousands, of campaigns and wars – conquests [of other countries] or internal struggles. Of these, the battles that took place during Ramadan can be counted on the fingers of a one hand.

"The Distortion Of The Facts Creates A Distorted Consciousness, And The Distortion Of The Truth Creates A Distorted Culture"

"The distortion of the facts creates a distorted consciousness, and the distortion of the truth creates a distorted culture. The distortion and falsification are not achieved by inventing lies, because lies are easy to expose, but rather by choosing facts in accordance with meticulously-formulated media guidelines, and by appealing to people's emotions so as to arouse feelings of revenge and a desire to achieve a quick and easy victory – in other words, by means of superficial and simplistic discourse and commentary.

"Since these are the features of our political, media and religious discourse, we wage wars in an erroneous manner and based on superficial considerations. We rely on prophecies, miracles and wishes, and are therefore defeated each and every time. We are convinced that victory is from Allah, but Allah instructed us to study the circumstances, prepare well and use our intelligence, to think and consider well and not to set the interest of the [political] party and the leadership above and before the interest of the people. [Allah commanded us] to behave mercifully toward our people, and [told us] that one drop of blood is more important than all the slogans, leaders and holy places, because human life is the holy of holies."


[1] For more about the Islamic belief that Ramadan is a month of jihad and martyrdom, see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 10508, Ramadan – The Month Of Jihad And Martyrdom, February 28, 2024.

[2] It should be noted that this is not the first time since October 7, 2023 that Salameh has criticized Hamas for the heavy price paid by the people of the Gaza Strip. In several columns in Al-Ayyam, he repeatedly claimed that Hamas had underestimated Israel's capacity for endurance and overestimated its own ability to defeat it, as well as the readiness of the Muslim world to mobilize and fight alongside it. He also contended that, although Hamas prepared its fighters for the war, and acquired weapons and built tunnels, it completely neglected the people of Gaza and did not prepare them for war. See Al-Ayyam (PA), January 24, 2024, March 6, 2024.

[5] Al-Ayyam (PA), March 18, 2024.

[6] In Arabic, this phrase is a play on words: "hamas" means "enthusiasm" but is also the name of the Hamas movement.

[7] The reference is to the tunnels in which the Hamas leaders are hiding in the Gaza Strip.

[8] The conquest of Mecca occurred during Ramadan in December 629 and January 630. The Battle of Badr, between supporters of the Prophet Muhammad and the Meccan tribes led by the Quraysh, took place during Ramadan on March 13, 624, and ended with a victory the Muslims.

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