Photo Credit: Screenshot
Al Jazeera headline

Since the beginning of the current war in the Gaza Strip, a growing number of Palestinians and Arabs have been speaking out against the Iran-backed Hamas terrorist group, whose members committed the October 7 massacre against Israelis. On that day, more than 1,200 Israelis were murdered, raped, mutilated, tortured and burned alive, while another 240 were kidnapped and taken to the Gaza Strip, where more than half are still held hostage by Hamas terrorists.

The voices of the Palestinians and Arabs who are critical of Hamas, however, have been almost completely ignored by mainstream media in the West, most of which remains obsessed with Israel. At present, there are no foreign journalists inside the Gaza Strip, but this should not serve as an excuse for ignoring the views and sentiments of Palestinians who disagree with Hamas’s genocidal attack on Israel or who hold it fully responsible for the nakba (catastrophe) that has befallen the two million Palestinians of the Gaza Strip as a result of the war. This war, needless to say, was triggered by Hamas’s October 7 atrocities. The foreign media can always find Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and elsewhere who are willing to express their views through social media.


The Arab media that is covering the war in the Gaza Strip has made it a habit of ignoring any Palestinian who dares to criticize Hamas or say a bad word about its leaders. There have even been a number of incidents in which Al-Jazeera, the Qatari TV station that has long been serving as Hamas’s official mouthpiece, removed from live interviews Palestinians who complained about Hamas’s oppressive measures and who hold Hamas responsible for the massive destruction of houses and buildings and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians since the beginning of the war.

In one instance, during an interview with Al-Jazeera, a Palestinian patient from the Gaza Strip, who complained about Hamas terrorists hiding inside hospitals, was cut off. Al-Jazeera was asking the elderly wounded Palestinian to give his eyewitness testimony about the fighting between Israeli troops and Hamas terrorists. The man said: “What’s happening is criminal! Why is the resistance [Hamas] hiding among us? Why don’t they go to hell and hide there?”

This is just one example of how Al-Jazeera and most of the Arab media organizations operating inside the Gaza Strip have been working hard to silence critics of Hamas or anyone who dares to accuse the terrorist group of bring death and destruction to the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip.

One can understand why Al-Jazeera and Arab media journalists are so anti-Israel that they do not want to provide a platform to any Palestinian to criticize Hamas. Yet, one cannot understand why the Western media is turning a blind eye to the critical voices coming out from the Gaza Strip and Palestinians and Arabs living outside the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave.

The bad news is that many Palestinians continue to support Hamas even after the October 7 carnage. The good news is that there are increasingly some Palestinians who deplore what the Hamas terrorists did and who are willing to speak out. The anti-Hamas Palestinians, however, are being ignored by foreign media and are failing to attract the attention of Western journalists. Why? These journalists are busy searching for stories that reflect badly only on Israel.

One of the popular voices against Hamas on social media is Ahmed Fouad Al-Khatib, who left the Gaza Strip for the US a few years ago. Many of Al-Khatib’s family members remain in the Gaza Strip, and some of them were killed in the fighting between the Israeli army and Hamas.

Here are some of the comments he posted on X (formerly Twitter) in response to the international media’s indifference:

“For decades, Hamas has cynically equated itself with the word ‘resistance,’ (muqawama) as if the group’s violent ideology was the only real way to push back against Israeli injustices…. In the past, however, many have embraced non-violent resistance.

“Hamas, by contrast, has always promoted armed struggle as the sole path for Palestinian rights and statehood. The group’s suicide bombings undermined the fragile but promising Oslo Peace Accords in the 1990s, and it has consistently incited Palestinians against peace, coexistence and nonviolent resistance.

“The group has used mosques, charity groups, youth camps and slick media campaigns to propagate its message and has used public shaming and violence to smother dissent. Anyone who questioned Hamas’s motives or objectives has been painted as a cowardly collaborator. To demand better living conditions or more political liberties was akin to treason. Many people have fallen under this pressure. And many Muslims in the diaspora have taken on this messaging.

“Others are reluctant to speak out against Hamas for fear of seeming disloyal or pro-Israel. If people outside of Gaza find it difficult to question the forced conformity, imagine how much more challenging it is for many inside the coastal enclave.”

In another post, Al-Khatib wrote:

“When Hamas, an Islamist movement that had already carried out hundreds of terror attacks against Israeli civilians, took over Gaza and then continuously declared its intention to target Israel through militant actions/activities & to do everything possible to smuggle munitions and turn the Strip into a resistance citadel, of course there were going to be consequences including wars and a siege/blockade. That would have been true whether it was Israel or any other nation – it is entirely predictable.

“Hamas found ways to insulate itself from the impact of the blockade on Gaza while Palestinians suffered. Millions of Gazans, including my family and friends, experienced endless hardships due to the blockade while Hamas goons turned the disaster into money-making opportunities. For example, Hamas imposed hefty taxes on electricity generator operators who were providing supplemental power to residential homes for a monthly fee — these were local entrepreneurial initiatives to use big diesel generators to provide thousands of homes with electricity, which was only available for a few hours a day. The group literally hindered & taxed efforts to address the consequences of the blockade that its own actions and choices brought upon Gazans.

“The group could have engaged in political and diplomatic overtures and initiatives, including the renunciation of violence or simply committing to a long-term truce with Israel that could have seriously helped in lessening the blockade’s impact and allowed for more goods and services to enter Gaza and improve lives for people. Lifting the blockade while adopting armed resistance is mutually exclusive. You’re either going to govern and develop the place, or you’re going to be a resistance group, but you can’t do both at the same time.

“Hamas could have made different choices that would have opened new political pathways for Palestinian unity and the development of Gaza. Instead, they chose to hold their people hostage and divert materials and resources into a futile armed resistance project that has set Palestinians back by decades. I know personally & intimately of multiple occasions, public and private, during which Israel would have been open to letting Gaza fully develop unhindered & unrestricted if Hamas had renounced violence – and that could have been done in phases, meaning it wouldn’t have entailed Hamas immediately giving up all of their weapons, but simply making verifiable and overt/clear commitments that the group is not going to smuggle weapons and munitions and will instead focus on governing and engaging in a political process to achieve the two-state solution.”

Al-Khatib and other Hamas critics point out that because of their views against the terrorist group, they have become targets of smear campaigns in which they are accused of being “pro-Israel” and “Zionists.”

“I can maybe understand why some Palestinians are reluctant/hesitant to acknowledge Hamas’ crimes against Israeli civilians on Oct 7. After all, most Gazans & Palestinians (due to propaganda) don’t believe that Israeli civilians were targeted/killed on that day,” Al-Khatib wrote.

“But the torrential rain of attacks/threats/harassment by ‘allies’ of the pro-Palestine movement against me, particularly in Western/European countries (mainly white/non-Palestinian activists/Twitter warriors) is inexcusable and shameful & confirms what I’ve been saying about the inevitable failure of the movement if it doesn’t change course quickly and abandon Hamas & the group’s Islamist terror.

“Make no mistake: pro-Hamas sentiments have become mainstream since October 7, ironically, at a time when most Gazans are actually turning against the Islamist group. Those who don’t have to live with the consequences of Hamas’s ‘resistance’ are understandably the group’s most fervent supporters and excusers (weirdly especially in London). Leave it to lousy beneficiaries of Western privilege to defend a terror group that oppresses its own people and uses them as cannon fodder in its suicidal adventures.

“Twitter Mujahideen & resistance porn promoters are the enemy of Palestinians and their just/urgent cause, particularly those experiencing the worst of the war in Gaza. Never forget that over 30,000 Gazans would still be alive today if Hamas kept its fighters at home on October 7. The pro-Palestine movement deserves better ‘allies’ and ‘supporters’ than overt & covert Hamas enthusiasts. Denying the atrocities of October 7 is truly shameful.”

Hamza, another Hamas critic from the Gaza Strip, also pointed out how he is being accused of being a “Zionist” simply for criticizing Hamas and being sympathetic to Israel. Hamza wrote on X:

“Anti-Hamas = Zionist. Call for coexistence = Zionist. Condemn Hamas = Zionist. Both sides’ lives matter = Zionist. Sympathize with Israeli hostages = Zionist. How many definitions are there for Zionist? I forgot the most important one: Peace supporter = Zionist.”

In another post, which is also ignored by Western media outlets, Hamza reveals how Hamas is using the tragedy in the Gaza Strip, especially the shortage of food, to raise prices. As an example, he posted photos of Bounty and Galaxy candies and chocolates whose prices have jumped from two Israeli shekels to 18 shekels ($5). Hamas terrorists have also been accused of stealing much of the humanitarian aid entering the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinians are not the only ones who are coming out against Hamas and whose voices are being ignored by many Westerners. There is also a significant number of Arabs who have taken to social media to lash out at Hamas.

Gulf Arab Khulood Salman wrote:

“Since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, the Palestinians have been living in miserable conditions, corruption, theft of money and aid. From time to time, [Hamas] brings them into a fierce war with Israel, according to what the interests and agenda of the regime in Iran and its allies require.

“The Gaza Strip will not stabilize, Yemen will not stabilize, Iraq will not stabilize, Lebanon will not stabilize with the presence of militias affiliated with the Iranian regime. There is no security, there is no stability except by getting rid of those extremist terrorist militias.”

In this video, Hamas Leader Khaled Mashaal says Hamas took power of the Gaza Strip, but had no interest in governing the Palestinians. He claims their only interest is the ‘resistance:’ fighting Israel and killing Jews. For him, Palestinian civilians are cannon fodder, human shields, or expendable.

In two recent articles on the Saudi website Elaph, Palestinian writer Majdi Abd Al-Wahhab directs harsh criticism at Hamas. He states that its October 7 attack against Israel brought nothing but disaster upon the Palestinians people, expresses hope that Allah will curse Hamas for the devastation it has brought upon Gaza, and wonders why it spent vast sums on digging tunnels and launching a hopeless war against Israel instead of investing them in developing the Gaza Strip and its people.

In his first article on December 26, 2023, Abd Al-Wahhab calls Hamas’ October 7 attack a “kamikaze” operation, like those of the Japanese pilots in World War II, which, he says, did nothing to help Japan’s war effort. He urged Hamas to learn from the experience of the Japanese and renounce its pointless military action. In addition, he called on the international community and the Arab world to act to eliminate all the Palestinian organizations and stop their military and civilian activity, “so that the Palestinians will be rid of them and their harm and can start blazing a new, straight path for themselves, far from destruction, killing and devastation.”

Wahhab wrote:

“Let me borrow the Japanese word ‘kamikaze’ – suicide [warriors] – and use it in the context of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, even though the two cultures use this concept in different ways. This word may be applicable to the Palestinian reality today… [to] operations that, judging by their outcomes, were suicide missions, and which were meant to liberate Palestine and establish a national or Islamic state…

“The kamikaze [pilots] did not help Japan win World War II. After the US dropped two atomic bombs on it, Japan was defeated. It surrendered and declared it would abandon all military action.

“Palestine’s kamikaze [warriors], who started operating about a century ago and demanded the liberation of this land, lost about half of it in 1948, and later, in 1967, lost all the rest. Then they brought devastation and disintegration upon the Palestinians, until they finally destroyed the Gaza Strip over the heads of its people after Hamas’ kamikaze attack against Israel on October 7.

“Now that we have reached this level of devastation and lost the homeland and everything in it, the question is: Will the Palestinian factions… learn from the experience of the Japanese, follow their example, renounce armed action and distance themselves from militarism, which has not yielded anything and will not do so in the future, given the power relations [between the sides]? These factions and their operatives, of all persuasions, have not understood [that it is hopeless] and will not understand it in the future, judging by their history, during which they have lost and destroyed everything.”

In his second article, dated January 9, 2024, Abd Al-Wahhab wrote:

“Anyone who sees the destruction in Gaza, in terms of human lives, buildings, and on the economic, financial and psychological levels, cannot but pray to Allah and ask him to curse all those who caused this destruction. How can we not curse the people who caused this, given this complete devastation? How can we not curse Hamas and its leaders after they have destroyed every element of dignified existence in the Gaza Strip?!

“When Hamas carried out its attack [on October 7] and invaded the [Israeli] localities on the Gaza border, did it expect Israel to refrain from retaliating in force and from delivering blow after blow to the Gaza Strip….Wouldn’t it have been appropriate for Hamas, which has already proved its [considerable] planning abilities, to invest these abilities and energies in building up the Gaza Strip and completing the growth that had been achieved there – [growth] that was the envy of many Arabs and Muslims living in Yemen, Somalia or other countries, [whereas today] the Gazans wish to achieve the level of those [countries] and see them as a safe haven?!

“Wouldn’t it have been better for Hamas to invest the human and financial capital – which it squandered on building up its military abilities and digging tunnels – in developing Gaza, its people, its buildings and its streets? It has already been proven that [Hamas’] military abilities can cause Israel no more than very superficial harm, and certainly cannot defeat it, and the evidence for that is [now] clearly in front of us.

“The destruction caused by Hamas to Gaza will not end even if Israel’s war on Gaza does stop. The destruction will continue, as is evident from the ‘glorious’ history of our [Palestinian] organizations. This devastation does not bode well, contrary to the assumptions of those who delude themselves that [they are] winning. It will be another in a long chain of [devastating developments] that will last years and lead to geographic, topographic and demographic changes in the Gaza Strip, in the short term and the long one.

“Congratulations to the leaders of Hamas for what they have done in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Jerusalem. The path is obvious and clear: the devastation will be followed by [people] fleeing, migrating and living in misery and suffering, both in the Strip and outside it, and whoever does not become a refugee [in his homeland], will migrate. Many are now thinking of migrating, after Hamas has caused them to lose everything that was meaningful in their lives. [But this is only] providing they can find a way to migrate and leave the Strip or the West Bank, for the propagandists of fake [Palestinian] patriotism and [Arab] nationalism will prevent them [from doing so], and leave them in their current situation, just as [other] Palestinian refugees remained refugees for decades, trapped in the camps of Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.

“Thanks to Hamas for turning us into a new refugee enterprise – providing we even manage to survive after it has destroyed our souls. Does Hamas not deserve all these curses, now that it has led the Palestinians to perdition and turned them into fuel for the flames [of war]?!”

Those who ignore the grievances of the Palestinians against Hamas are hurting the very Palestinians they claim to support. Even if the number of Palestinians who are willing to speak out against Hamas remains relatively small, there is no justification for burying their voices and distorting the reality – that some Palestinians are not afraid to confront the terrorists amongst them. To ignore these voices is to be complicit with Hamas in muzzling their truly heroic efforts to speak out.


{Reposted from Gatestone Institute}


Previous articleNetanyahu Attacks Leftist Campaign of ‘Enormous Funds Pushing Incitement and Division’
Next articleThe People’s Talmud Presents: Daf Yomi Brain Teasers: Baba Kama 108
Bassam Tawil is a scholar based in the Middle East. This article originally appeared on the Gatestone Institute website (