Hamas Leader Calls for Israel's Destruction, Says 'Every Inch' Belongs to Palestinians

'Our gun will be held to Israel's head'

Palestinian Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar / AP
December 15, 2016

Senior Hamas leader and cofounder Mahmoud al-Zahar told supporters Sunday that the terrorist group's commitment to the destruction of Israel is nonnegotiable, promising to "hold a gun" to the Jewish state's head as "every inch" of the land belongs to Palestine.

"Every single inch of Palestine is just ours. Palestine is not just Gaza and the West Bank; it extends from the River to the Sea," al-Zahar said during a festival in the Gaza Strip to mark the 29th anniversary of Hamas' founding, according to the Arabic outlet Al-Resalah.

Al-Zahar was referring to the creation of a Palestinian state stretching from the Jordan River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, an area within which the entire state of Israel is located.

"Resistance, no matter the means, is our legitimate right and we shall never ever give it up," he added. "Our gun will be held to Israel’s head only."

Al-Zahar, a former foreign minister of the Palestinian National Authority, called on other Palestinian groups in the West Bank–including the Palestinian Authority, Fatah, and the Palestine Liberation Organization–to cancel the Oslo Accords from the 1990s that aimed to work towards a two-state solution. He also said security cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians should end to allow more resources to be put towards "armed resistance" against the Jewish state.

"No matter how forgotten and oppressed we get, our rifle will only target the Israeli occupation," the Hamas leader said.

He said Hamas is working to bring displaced Palestinians back to their homeland of Palestine and "pledged that Hamas will forever defend Occupied Jerusalem and the holy al-Aqsa Mosque against Israel's Judaization schemes," Al-Resalah reported.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians attended the Hamas festival, and people in the West Bank and Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem celebrated the event, promoting it in tweets and videos over social media.

The United States, European Union, and other countries have designated Hamas as a foreign terrorist organization. The group's founding charter, which al-Zahar helped craft as an instrumental figure in the creation of Hamas, calls for the destruction of Israel and the killing of Jews worldwide.