The Al-Qaeda (AQ) Media Arm, Al-Sahab, released an audio message on Aug. 19 from AQ leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri, in which he harshly criticizes the Hamas organization and labels it a traitor.

In the 33-minute recording titled “Palestine Won’t Surrender to Traitors,” Zawahiri attacks the current policy and conduct of Hamas, which he claims is rife with contradictions, while most of the message addresses the Hamas policy document published on May 1, 2017, which asserts that the establishment of a Palestinian state according to the 1967 borders is the “agreed-upon and joint formula” of Hamas and the PLO.

According to Al-Zawahiri, the current Hamas leadership has betrayed the organization’s founders Ahmed Yassin and Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rantisi, abandoned Islam and opted for secularism.

Al-Zawahiri urges the Muslim nation to unite in the face of “the Crusader-Zionist-Safavid [Iranian] attack” and quotes Osama bin Laden and Al-Rantisi saying that the United States would not be secure as long as Muslims were not living in security in their countries, and also Al-Rantisi’s call to Muslims to transform their bodies into bombs to be used against the U.S., mentioning the 9/11 attacks as an example of action taken by Muslims against the attack he claims they are facing.

It should be noted that this is not the first time that Zawahiri has leveled severe criticism at Hamas. In 2006, he criticized Hamas for participating in the Palestinian Authority elections.

With respect to the publication of the Hamas policy document in May 2017, Zawahiri casts doubt on Hamas adherence to its declared principles saying: “The Hamas leadership claimed in this document and in other publications and declarations, that it is an Islamic movement or that the source of its authority is Islam. However, regrettably this does not coincide with its positions or its conduct. Can there be an Islamic movement, or a movement that derives its authority from Islam, that refers to [sources] that are not Islam? Is there Islam without Shari’a … ? Can there be a movement that claims to be Islamic or based on Islam, which would agree that the covenant of the secular PLO will be the national framework for all the Palestinians? …

“The Hamas leadership holds that it will not settle for less than Palestine from the river to the sea, but regrettably this does not coincide with its positions or its conduct.

“Can there be a movement that will stand by all of Palestine [yet at the same time] agree that the traitors who sold most of Palestine will be its legitimate leaders, and declare that they are ‘its brothers in arms’? …

“Can there be a movement that will stand by all of Palestine [yet at the same time] the head of its political bureau publishes an announcement in support of [P.A. leader] Mahmoud Abbas, when at the U.N. he demanded the establishment of a Palestinian state that would live in peace alongside Israel and recognize Israel’s legitimacy? …

“The Hamas leadership has adopted a policy that is rife with contradictions. It announced before its people, the Arabs, the Muslims, and the entire world that it opposes the Oslo Accords, but chose to sink in the swamp of these accords. It participated in elections that took place on the basis of those accords. It participated in the legislative council, the government, the government ministries, and the government mechanisms [established on the basis of the Oslo accords] and even recognized it as the legitimate authority that represents the Palestinian people. … But despite all this active participation of the Hamas leadership in the swamp of the Oslo Surrender Accords, the West, led by the U.S., sees it as a terror organization and the most recent example of this is the announcement by [U.S. President Donald] Trump on his last visit to occupied Palestine when he said that the Hamas movement is a terrorist movement …

“It isn’t surprising that the latest document from the Hamas leadership contains clear internal contradictions. Clause 21 rejects the Oslo Accords and everything that resulted from them, but clause 31 holds that the role of the Palestinian Authority [that was created by virtue of the Oslo Accords] must serve the people of Palestine, and protect its security, its rights and it national plan.

“The Hamas leadership claims that it did not concede a thing by participating in the Oslo Authority, but in fact it conceded many things. It granted legitimacy to the crime of the Oslo Accords, made the collaborators [with Israel] into partners, and the criminals into ministers and prime ministers… transformed the selling of Palestine into a simple matter of a difference of opinion …

“It enabled defeatist thinking to permeate the Palestine people and the ranks of the jihad fighters and what was considered to be a forbidden thing during the time of the martyrs Ahmed Yassin and Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rantisi, may Allah have mercy on them, has today become conceptual development and realism that are met with praise …

“My Muslim brothers everywhere and in Palestine: Palestine is not merchandise belonging to the Hamas leadership or the Oslo Authority, but is the land of Islam that was occupied by the infidels. And every Muslim is personally obligated to liberate it, even if this contradicts one thousand referendums and even if the entire world opposes it …

“Today the Muslim nation faces an attack starting in East Turkestan and extending to the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean, from the summits of the Caucasus Mountains to Central Africa. The only way to withstand this Crusader-Zionist-Safavid [Iranian] attack is for the nation to unite and cleave to its books and the Sunnah of its Prophet Muhammad. The exalted Allah said: “O you who have believed, if you support Allah, He will support you and plant firmly your feet.” [Koran 47:7]

“Accordingly, Allah assisted your brothers the jihad fighters to perpetrate the most serious attack that America has known in its history. And the imam Osama bin Laden declared that America won’t be able to dream of security until we live in security in Palestine and throughout the world of Islam. … ”

Zawahiri also quotes from an article written by Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rantisi titled “Why Not Lay Siege to America?” in which he calls on Muslims to become living bombs.

Zawahiri added, “My Muslim brothers everywhere and in Palestine. I caution you to beware of those who exhort you to recognize the existence of the state of Palestine in accordance with the international law which protects Israel and was established on the basis of international agreement with the traitors who sold Palestine. My Muslim brothers everywhere and in Palestine, we must renounce the salesmen and the traitors and not recognize their legitimacy. Mahmoud Abbas is a traitor who serves the Israeli intelligence, even if the Hamas leadership calls him brother and president.”