A senior member Hamas has encouraged Palestinians across the globe to kill Jews, drawing outrage from both Israeli and Palestinian officials alike.
In a video from a speech to participants of weekly protests on Friday, Fathi Hamad, a member of the movement’s top political body, can be seen calling on Palestinians across the globe to carry out attacks.
“If this siege is not undone, we will explode in the face of our enemies, with God’s permission. The explosion is not only going to be in Gaza but also in the West Bank and abroad, God willing,” Hamad said.
“But our brothers outside are preparing, trying to prepare, warming up.”
He continued: “Seven million Palestinians outside, enough warming up, you have Jews with you in every place. You should attack every Jew possible in all the world and kill them.”
During the threats made on Friday, Hamad gave Israel a week to lift the siege imposed on Gaza, threatening that Hamas has “a lot of methods and means if they do not break the siege.”
“We will not die standing alone and we will not die hungry,” Hamad added.
Since March 2018 Palestinians have been taking part in Hamas-backed protests and clashes along the Gaza-Israel border in part against Israel’s crippling blockade of Gaza.
At least 295 Palestinians and seven Israelis have been killed in Gaza-related violence since.
The Israeli toll recently rose to seven after an 89-year-old woman who fell while running for a bomb shelter during a severe flare-up of violence in May died from her wounds, according to Israel’s foreign ministry.
Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, and others.
Ofir Gendelman, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said the comments showed “what Hamas is about.”
“Hamas is behind the riots on the Gaza border... Hamas wants to murder Jews worldwide,” Gendelman said on Twitter.
“Now you know why we protect the border with Gaza from Hamas.”
Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the West Bank-based Palestine Liberation Organization, which unlike Hamas has recognized Israel, condemned Hamad’s comments.
“The just values of the Palestinian cause include love for freedom, justice, and equality. The repugnant statement of Hamas leader Mr. Fathi Hamad about Jews doesn’t represent any of them,” he tweeted.
In a statement Monday afternoon, Hamas distanced itself from Hamad’s words.
“These comments do not represent the official positions of the movement and its consistent, adopted policies, which say our conflict is with the (Israeli) occupation which occupied our land and sullies our holy places and not a conflict with Jews across the world or Judaism as a religion,” Hamas said.
“We express our appreciation to all mediators, especially our Egyptian brothers, for their efforts to break the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and achieve national unity,” the statement by Hamas added.
Hamas seized control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in a 2007 near civil war. Israel and Hamas have fought three wars in Gaza since 2008.
Israel says the blockade is necessary to isolate Hamas and keep it from obtaining weapons or material to make them.
Critics say it amounts to collective punishment of Gaza’s two million residents and creates poverty that can feed extremism.