October 18, 2023 Special Dispatch No. 10884

Saudi Journalists Slam Hamas: It Commits Atrocities, Brings Disaster Upon Palestinians To Serve Iran And Thwart Peace

October 18, 2023
Saudi Arabia, Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 10884

Hamas' October 7, 2023 large-scale terror attack in southern Israel, in which some 1,300 people were murdered and about 200 were abducted, sparked extensive reactions in the Saudi papers, both those published in the kingdom and those published in London. Alongside many articles that came out against Israel and blamed the events on its policy towards the Palestinians and its refusal to make peace with them, there were no few articles that directed harsh criticism at Hamas. Describing the Hamas attack as "suicide" and as "reckless," the articles claimed that Hamas is a fundamentalist organization that brings the Palestinian people nothing but wars and disasters in the service of Iran. Hamas' attack not only failed to benefit the Palestinians, they argued, but will cause enormous harm by bringing about the destruction of Gaza and the death of many Gazan civilians – an outcome that benefits only Iran and its agenda of thwarting Middle East peace. One of the authors attacked Hamas for declaring its "victory," asking: "What sort of victory is achieved over people's dead bodies?"

Some of the articles likened Hamas' attack to Hizbullah's abduction of the Israeli soldiers in 2006, which led to the war in Lebanon that year, a war so devastating that Nasrallah himself said he was sorry he had started it. A senior Saudi journalist wrote that the world has apparently failed to learn the lesson of terror attacks like 9/11, namely that it must not accept the existence of terror organizations.

It should be noted that many Saudi journalists voiced similar opinions on their X (formerly Twitter) accounts, lambasting Hamas and its "immoral," "inhuman" and "unislamic" actions. On this see MEMRI reports: Arab Social Media Users Criticize Hamas Large-Scale Attack: Defacing Corpses, Raping Girls, Abducting Elderly Women Are All Against Islam; Arab Social Media Users Criticize Hamas Large-Scale Attack: Defacing Corpses, Raping Girls, Abducting Elderly Women Are All Against Islam.

The following are translated excerpts from the Saudi articles against Hamas and its recent attack.

Senior Saudi Journalist: We Haven’t Learned From September 11; The West Is Tolerant Toward Hamas, Hizbullah And Iran

In a September 15, 2023 article in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, senior Saudi journalist Tariq Al-Homayed, formerly the editor of the London-based Saudi daily and currently a columnist for it, wrote, “Have we not learned anything from the events of September 11, the day Islam and the Muslims were taken hostage? Or from our ignoring Iraq on the day the Americans invaded it and it was handed to Iran on a silver platter? Have we learned anything from the 2006 war when Hizbullah soldiers kidnapped Israeli soldiers? Have we learned anything from the destruction of Beirut, which left in its wake more than 1,000 dead Lebanese? Did we not realize the danger inherent in accepting the existence of the militias, especially on the day when [Hizbullah secretary-general Hassan] Nasrallah came out and said, ‘Whoever loves Lebanon should put an end to this war,’ and later added, ‘If I had known what the consequences would be I would not have done it [i.e. kidnapped the soldiers]’?[1]

"The list of 'have we not learned' is long and [also] includes Al-Qaeda and ISIS and what the militias did in Iraq and in Syria, and what the Houthis did in Yemen. Of course, behind it all is the destructive role of Iran. And the answer [to all these questions] is: No one has learned the lessons, despite all this blood and destruction… What is certain is that Hamas has not achieved a thing by means of its [recent] operation, and now the fear is that the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank will be destroyed and the [Palestinian] cause will return not to point zero but to a point below zero…

"It is clear that the militias in the region are now in conflict with the international community, which has long treated them with tolerance and maintained relations with them, [for example] when it viewed Hamas as an [element] that plays by the rules of democracy. This was naive of [former U.S. President George W.] Bush and later of [Barack] Obama. The West – particularly France – was similarly naïve when it turned a blind eye to Hizbullah and regarded it as a [legitimate] Lebanese element. The greatest [example of] naivety is the tolerance of the current American administration toward Iran, which sponsors the militias in the region…”[2]

Saudi Journalist And Author: What Sort Of Victory Is Achieved Over People's Dead Bodies And By Destroying Their Homes?

Saudi Journalist and author Abdo Khal wrote in his column in the Okaz daily: "The first thing Hamas must do is return to the fold of the PLO… because, according to diplomatic norms, it is impossible to support [a force] that splintered off from the PLO, which is the internationally-recognized [ruling party], while the Western countries regard Hamas as a terror organization…

"Even disregarding the fact that Hamas has deviated from the path [of the Palestinian Authority] – and this is not a religious deviation, but [a deviation] from the perception of the struggle – it has formed political alliances based on a terrorist source of authority in many countries, and its struggle, which takes place outside the Palestinian consensus, causes extensive harm to the [Palestinian] people. All the wars [Hamas] has waged on its own against Israel have had devastating outcomes for the Palestinian people, from the death of civilians to the complete destruction of the Gaza Strip…

"It is legitimate to condemn Hamas when it claims to have gained a victory, for what sort of victory is achieved over people's dead bodies and the destruction of their homes and their livelihood? What sort of victory is this, if it destroys the normal lives of the [Gaza] residents, who will have to wait a long time before their lives go back to what they were before the latest war[?] Life was wretched even before this, and now it is much worse…"[3]

Saudi Columnist: Hamas Follows False Lead Of Khamenei; Its Actions Against Israel Cause More Harm Than Good; Diplomacy And Peace Are More Effective

Saudi journalist Majid bin Nwaiser criticized Hamas in an article in the Saudi Makkah daily headlined, "Oh People of Palestine, Isn't There a Single Honest Man among You?": "A brief glance at Hamas' government in Gaza in the last 20 years shows how they keep repeating the same futile actions [against Israel] and hollow statements… These actions may be motivated by political considerations or by [a desire for] revenge, but their horrific implications usually go beyond their original intention…

"The Palestinian factions that are misled by the ambitions of [Iran's leader] Khamenei must assess the cost and benefit of these military operations and analyze their possible outcomes. Although the Palestinian factions have the right to defend their people's rights and to oppose the Israeli occupation, they should be intelligent enough to choose means that will realize their goals. It is legitimate to question the effectiveness of these military operations in achieving the hoped-for change, especially since they result in an escalation of the violence…

"Instead of relying just on military action, the Palestinian factions should act to reinforce the international front and gain international support for the [Palestinian] cause. They can use non-violent and diplomatic means to exert political and economic pressure on Israel and enhance global awareness of their cause and their rights… Non-violent resistance, diplomatic negotiations and international campaigns may be far more effective in achieving their legitimate rights and aspirations. Peaceful strategies can gain them much more support in the international community and strengthen them in seeking justice and self-rule. 

"The present [war] does not resemble the previous ones, and it looks like dark days are ahead. Israel has reacted harshly and invaded South Lebanon or the depth of Gaza for much smaller reasons. This time more than 1,000 civilians and soldiers have been killed, abducted and wounded, and even women and children were not spared.

"As usual, Isma'il Haniya issued a recorded message – as is usually done by the members of the resistance [axis like Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan] Nasrallah, the Houthi leader or the promising new face of the [Palestinian] Islamic Jihad, Ziad Al-Nakhaleh – and declared victory, liberation and that the Jews were about to be pitched into the sea. How great is the sin of this corrupt gang, that is manipulating the fate and honor of pure Muslim women.  The vengeful Israeli tanks will invade Gaza's neighborhoods, and like every time, the displaced and hungry families will be abandoned to their unknown fate…"[4]

Saudi Columnist: Yahya Sinwar's Calculations Led Him To Start A Reckless, Suicidal Adventure That Will Cause A Humanitarian Tragedy In Gaza

Abdallah Al-Judaya', a columnist for the Saudi daily Al-Watan, wrote on October 16 under the headline "Who Decided on the October 7 Attack?": "All signs indicate that Yahya Sinwar and his close circle were the ones who decided on the October 7 [attack] without even consulting the other political leaders. He wanted to amaze the world with a large-scale operation, and probably thought that this would force [the world] to look at Gaza and notice him.

"He thought that, by capturing as many Israeli hostages as possible, he would force [the Israelis] to negotiate and defend the [Hamas] movement from [Israeli] retaliation. His calculations were a dangerous adventure from the political perspective, almost  tantamount to suicide,  and they will lead to a humanitarian tragedy in Gaza whose outcomes are still shrouded in the fog of war."[5]

Saudi Journalist: This Is An Iranian Attempt To Destroy The Peace Efforts, Down To The Last Drop Of Gazan Blood

In an October 13, 2023 column in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat titled “Iran Is Squeezing the Blood of the [Palestinian] Cause,” senior Saudi journalist Mishari Al-Dhaidi wrote, “… Iran uses the [spilled] blood of the wretched Palestinians to pad its political and strategic 'savings account'… The Khomeini regime milks the [Palestinian] issue more than anyone else, including in the current Gaza war.

By placing the sacred Palestinian [cause] on the tips of the Iranian lances the leaders in Tehran gain political and propaganda profits and infiltrate the Arab and Islamic arenas… It is all [done] in the name of Jerusalem, but Jerusalem does not profit one bit from this Iranian commotion. On the contrary, it misses political opportunities, the fruits of a peaceful life and the moments [of] tranquility.

“Iran, by means of its [Islamic] Revolutionary Guard [Corps] and the gangs subordinate to it in the Arab world, is the one that destroyed and is still destroying, on a daily basis, the efforts [to promote] the political solutions [whose principles] were approved by the Arabs over and over again, whose essence is [an Israeli] withdrawal to the ’67 borders and the establishment of two states, Israel and Palestine, the increase of pressure on Israel, and the mobilizing of international support in this direction.

“Iran squeezes every last drop of Gazan blood from the sponge of the Palestinian cause. It is Iran that abandoned the Gazans and before them the people of South Lebanon to the talons and teeth of the terrible Israeli force, and did nothing but add fuel to the fire until [it burned] the last Palestinian branch. Neither Israel nor Iran loses anything that cannot be replaced… The only losers are the people of Gaza and the rest of Palestine, as well as the Arab hope for a safe and prosperous future.”[6]

Cartoon in Saudi daily (, October 15, 2023)

Izz ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, represents the essence of the fundamentalist plan of the forces that rebel against peace. After the Arabs witnessed the damage caused to Lebanon in the pointless, futile 2006 war, Hamas is repeating this experience with the wretched residents of Gaza. This is a repeat of that failed experiment… This contempt for the interests of the civilians in Palestine and in Lebanon must cease. Unfortunately, [Hamas] will not stop and will not recognize its mistake until Israel carries out a widescale ‘punitive attack,’ and only then will they understand that reality is stronger than wishes.”[7]

Saudi Journalist: If The Arabs Saw The Horrific Images Of Hamas Attack They Would Understand Israel

In his column in the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Saudi journalist Abdullah Bin Bjad Al-Otaibi strongly condemned the Hamas attack, writing:

"The Hamas unprecedented storming of the Israeli settlements [sic] near Gaza, which were hit by gunmen, UAVs and rockets, will provoke an insane Israeli [reaction], which is currently being prepared. Every action has a reaction, and Hamas, with its own two hands, gave Israel the sword with which to kill it. 

"In the course of this attack Hamas committed terrible atrocities and made a big mistake by photographing them and making videos that were then circulated by its members, the attackers, on the Internet… These events happened, were documented and were publicized, [but] most of the Arab media did not show these Hamas videos or even blurred [versions of them]. That was a mistake, because if they had shown them, they would have enabled the viewers and readers to understand [rationally] – not to condone – Israel's unprecedented response and the rapid and effective Western support that it quickly managed to mobilize.

"Hamas leaders, from their luxury hotels in the Gulf, continue to spread their discourse that incites the Arab peoples against their leaders and states, in the service of the external agendas that caused [Hamas] to carry out this foolish action… With this operation Hamas aimed to promote its regional agenda which is hostile to the Arab states – [an agenda that] seeks to undermine the program of normalization and peace and then accuse the Arab states and their leaders of treason, call for chaos [in these states] and bring the leaders of the terror into them…

In the subsequent [three] decades, between 1993 and 2023, the regional enterprises and axes that are hostile to the Arabs [gradually] recovered, and some of them occupied Arab states and took over the decision-making in them by force; international terror – Sunni and Shi’ite – was ignited in them, and organizations and militias proliferated. Hamas took the government hostage in Gaza by means of a coup and the use of force; Hizbullah hijacked Lebanon, and militias emerged, mainly in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Al-Qaeda and ISIS, and their various branches, emerged as well, and then came the disaster of the black and destructive 'Arab Spring'…

"In conclusion, the discourse Hamas leaders direct at the Arab peoples is full of incitement to chaos, terror, rejection of peace and opposition to the [Arab] states' policy and their leaders. At this sensitive juncture, it is best to stick to the path of wisdom and prudence and avoid reckless escapades."[8]





[1] The reference is to remarks made by Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah in an interview with the Lebanese Al-Jadeed TV channel on August 27, 2006.

[2] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), September 15, 2023.

[3] Okaz (Saudi Arabia), October 12, 2023.

[4] Makkah (Saudi Arabia), October 10, 2023.

[5] Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), October 16, 2023.

[6] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), October 13, 2023.

[7] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), October 12, 2023.

[8] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), October 15, 2023.

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