Osama Hamdan, the Hamas representative in Lebanon, told Iranian television that suicide bombing attacks against Israel were justified, especially attacks in buses.

Osama Hamdan: All Israeli citizens are combatants in a war zone and thus suicide bombing attacks against Israeli civilians are justified (Hezbollah’s Al-Inbaa Website).
Photo of a suicide bombing attack on a Tel Aviv bus (from the Hamas forum on the Palestine-info Website, July 21, 2007)

1. In an interview with the Iranian Arabic TV channel Al-Kawthar, Osama Hamdan , the Hamas representative in Lebanon , expressed determined support for suicide bombing attacks carried out against Israel . He rejected the right of the State of Israel to exist and stated that Hamas’ final goal was " to wipe that entity off the face of the earth .” The interview, intended for Iranian ears and devoid of the customary politically correct platitudes served up for Western media, revealed Hamas’ true intentions. 1

2. In the interview, which was rife with factual inaccuracies, Osama Hamdan justified the indiscriminate murder of Israeli civilians . 2 His "justification” was that all Israeli citizens were combatants whether they wore uniforms or not because they had come to Palestine [sic] from around the world, "stolen” lands and remained in a war zone. Therefore, carrying out suicide bombing attacks on civilian buses was "justified” because the buses transported soldiers.

3. Osama Hamdan’s statements again illustrate that Hamas continues to adhere to its radical position regarding the conflict with Israel , that its ideological stance is completely intransigent and that it is not prepared to moderate its policies to comply with the demands set by the Quartet and the international community. Its ideology and strategy are entirely faithful to those expressed in the Hamas covenant of 1988. 3

Selections from the interview

4. The following are selections from the interview of August 6, 2007 : 4

1) Justification for suicide bombing attacks carried out against Israel and the rejection of the Jews’ historical connection with the Land of Israel :

Interviewer : …The Sharia’ [Islamic law] forbids [acts of] aggression during jihad [holy war], such as the killing of women, children, the elderly, clerics who devote themselves to studying religion, and other civilians who do not serve in the enemy’s army. Do you consider all the Jews in Palestine [sic] to be combatants and thieves of the land? We have witnessed suicide bombing [ ‘amaliyyat istishhadiyyah ] attacks on buses and in restaurants [in Israel ].

Osama Hamdan : First of all, let me raise a very important issue. What is the ruling regarding those who live in Palestine , or in what is called Israel , and [who are] aggressors who stole the land [i.e., " Palestine ”]? The way we [i.e., Hamas] see it, they all came to Palestine from abroad, whether before the declaration of the [establishment of the ] Zionist entity or after it. If you were to conduct a statistical survey within the Zionist entity, you would find that all these people [i.e., the Jews living in Israel] have their origins in other countries – they came from Europe, Eastern Europe, from America, South America and other places [around the world].

Interviewer : In other words, there were no Palestinian Jews?

Osama Hamdan : No, there were no Palestinian Jews. When the British Mandate began in 1917, there was [only] one settlement on the lands of Palestine of a few dozen Jews who were living there illegally according to the law in force at the time. I want to note that under the Ottoman empire there was a law that prohibited the Jews from staying in Palestine for over a month [otherwise] their passports and personal documents were taken away from them. [Under the Ottoman empire] they [the Jews] were given permits to enter [ Palestine ] at the crossing [border] crossings and to stay on Palestinian land for a month. The only group that can be called Jewish [in Palestine ] at the time was the one living in Nablus and they still live there. 5 The Palestinians regard them as part of Palestinian society, and they number no more than a few hundred. Those who immigrated from various countries are not Jews. Anyone who comes to a war zone and stays there is a combatant, regardless of whether he wears a uniform. That’s the first issue .

2) Justification for carrying out suicide bombing attacks on buses:

Osama Hamdan : [Regarding] the second issue, actually, neither Hamas nor the Palestinian resistance force premeditatedly killed [Israeli] civilians. You mentioned the buses. They [bus passengers] are a simpler case. A bus is protected by various security measures, [as opposed to] a school, a theater, or a stadium, those are civilian targets where the killing of women and children is deliberate. Those targets [i.e., schools, theaters and stadiums] were not targeted by the resistance. Why were buses targeted? Because they are the means of transportation used by the soldiers as well. The Zionist soldiers, who go from their homes to their bases and back, use public transportation, because it is free or almost free . I think there is a security motive behind the occupation [IDF] soldiers’ use of public transportation. They shield themselves behind the so-called "civilians.” Therefore, as far as I can see, they should stop using public transportation, or else [Israeli] society should prevent them from using it, because the soldiers are the target. I would like to emphasize that in the dozens of operations that were carried out on buses, there were no cases in which the Zionists announced that 20 children or 50 women had been killed. Quite the opposite, if you examine who was killed in suicide bombing attacks on buses, you will find that 70% were occupation soldiers, and they were even in uniform at the time of the attack. 6

Indiscriminate murder of women, children and the elderly: two of the suicide bombing attacks carried out on civilian Israeli buses by Hamas 7

A number 2 bus in Jerusalem after the explosion: 23 dead and 115 wounded, August 19, 2003. Among the dead: 11 women, two one-year old babies, a three-year old toddler and a nine-year old boy.


A number 14 bus in Jerusalem after the explosion: 17 dead and 104 wounded, June 11, 2003. Among the dead: 11 women, six of them between the ages of 62 and 70 (Photo: Gil Cohen Magen for Reuters).

3) The final objective: the destruction of the State of Israel

Osama Hamdan : We [i.e., Hamas] are preparing for a confrontation [with Israel ], not only in preparation for Israeli aggression, because the entity is founded on aggression, but because the final goal of the resistance 8 is to wipe this entity off the face of the earth . This goal necessitates the development of the resistance’s until the entity has been destroyed.

Note : Osama Hamdan’s terminology is similar to that of Iranian president Ahmadinejad and other senior Iranian figures, who repeatedly state that Israel will be wiped off the face of the earth.