Hazem Qasim is a spokesman for Hamas based in the Gaza Strip.“Hamas: Israel strikes in Gaza 'failed attempt to show off its power',” Middle East Monitor, July 26, 2021, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20210726-hamas-israel-strikes-in-gaza-failed-attempt-to-show-off-its-power/. He speaks on behalf of Hamas in Gaza to the media, often taking hard positions against Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
In April 2020, Qasim blamed Israel’s blockade of Gaza for the COVID-19 outbreak in the strip.“Hamas blames Israel for coronavirus outbreak in Gaza,” Anadolu Agency, April 3, 2020, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/latest-on-coronavirus-outbreak/hamas-blames-israel-for-coronavirus-outbreak-in-gaza/1791120. He has praised violence both by Hamas and other groups against Israel. After U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled his “Deal of the Century” peace plan, Qasim labeled the plan a path toward Israeli annexation and called for a Day of Rage by Palestinians.“Hamas: All Palestinian Factions United against Annexation,” Tasnim News Agency, July 1, 2020, https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2020/07/01/2297703/hamas-all-palestinian-factions-united-against-annexation. Following an attempted vehicle ramming attack at the West Bank settlement of Einav, Qasim called the attempt a “new act of resistance by mighty Jenin, whose revolutionary youth are responding to the crimes of the occupation.”“Hamas praises West Bank attempted ramming attack,” Times of Israel, December 21, 2021, https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/hamas-praises-west-bank-attempted-ramming-attack/.
Qasim accuses the Fatah party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of failing to respond to reconciliation initiatives by Hamas.“Hamas calls on Fatah to take practical steps towards reconciliation,” Middle East Monitor, April 20, 2020, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200420-hamas-calls-on-fatah-to-take-practical-steps-towards-reconciliation/. He has called for a full investigation into corruption within the Palestinian Authority. After an October 2021 Palestinian State Audit Administrative Bureau report, Qasim accused PA leaders of stealing public funds. According to Qasim, “a small group of PA leaders are controlling the resources of our people and are using them for their personal interests.”“Hamas calls for probe into PA corruption,” Middle East Monitor, October 12, 2021, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20211012-hamas-calls-for-probe-into-pa-corruption/.
In line with this stance against PA cooperation with Israel and Hamas’s hardline position, Qasim has also lambasted Arab nations that normalized relations with Israel. He condemned a November 19, 2020, visit to Israel by Bahrain’s foreign minister as “an unacceptable act at the Arab and moral levels” that makes Bahrain “a partner in the aggression against our people’s rights to their lands.” “Statement on Bahraini FM’s visit to Israeli occupation,” Hamas, November 19, 2020, https://hamas.ps/en/post/3091/Statement-on-Bahraini-FM-s-visit-to-Israeli-occupation. That visit came days after a visit to the United Arab Emirates by a delegation of Israeli settlers seeking to expand business opportunities in Dubai. Qasim condemned UAE “collaboration” in violation of Arab League resolutions boycotting Israeli settlements.“Israeli settler delegation visits Dubai following UAE accord,” Associated Press, November 11, 2020, https://apnews.com/article/israel-jerusalem-west-bank-dubai-united-arab-emirates-c93b75d6c575a7ccf6e0d8bccce53f9c; “Statement on West Bank settlement council chief’s visit to UAE,” Hamas, November 15, 2020, https://hamas.ps/en/post/3087/Statement-on-West-Bank-settlement-council-chief-s-visit-to-UAE.
Hamas presents itself as a champion of Palestinians imprisoned in Israel. Qasim has made numerous statements calling for the release of prisoners and claiming Hamas victories when prisoners are released or win legal battles. In December 2016, Palestinian prisoners Ahmed Abu Fara and Anas Shadeed received an Israeli pledge to free them within four months after a 90-day hunger strike.“Hamas congratulates prisoners Abu Fara and Shadeed on victory,” Hamas, December 23, 2016, https://hamas.ps/en/post/489/Hamas-congratulates-prisoners-Abu-Fara-and-Shadeed-on-victory. October 17, 2022, marked the anniversary of the 2011 agreement that freed captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit from Hamas five years of Hamas captivity in exchange for more than 1,000 prisoners held in Israel. Qasim claimed Hamas is “working round the clock to liberate” Palestinians from Israeli prisons.“Hamas ‘working round the clock’ to liberate Palestinian detainees, says spokesperson,” Hamas, October 17, 2022, https://hamas.ps/en/post/4341/Hamas-working-round-the-clock-to-liberate-Palestinian-detainees-says-spokesperson.
- Extremist entity
- Type(s) of Organization:
- Political, religious, social service provider, terrorist, violent
- Ideologies and Affiliations:
- Islamist, jihadist, Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated group, pan-Islamist, Qutbist, Sunni
Hamas is a U.S.-designated terrorist organization which has killed hundreds of Israeli citizens, as well as Americans, in suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks. Hamas has governed the Gaza Strip since it violently expelled the Palestinian Authority in 2007.
Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.
On October 27, 2018, domestic terrorist Robert D. Bowers carried out an anti-Semitic attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. He fired on congregants as they gathered for worship, killing 11 people and wounding six others.