On June 6, 2021, Hamas’s representative in Yemen, Mo’az Abu Shamala, met with Muhammad Ali al-Houthi, a member of the Houthi Supreme Political Council. At the meeting,  attended also by two other members of the Hamas office in Yemen—office head Omar al-Subakhi and political affairs director Abdallah Hadi—Abu Shamala presented al-Houthi with a ‘shield of honor’ on behalf of Hamas, in appreciation for the Houthis’ support of the Palestinian cause.

Abu Shamala also conveyed greetings from Hamas political bureau head Ismail Haniyeh to the Houthis and their leader, Abd al-Malik al-Houthi, and expressed the Hamas movement’s gratitude “for the efforts, initiatives and activities announced by the Houthis in support of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause.” Abu Shamala stressed that “by all indications, resistance is the correct path for liberating Palestine.”

The meeting, reflecting the cooperation between the two movements, which both enjoy Iran’s political, financial and military support, sparked rage in the Saudi media. Articles in the Saudi press described the meeting as an act of betrayal by Hamas, reflecting overt support for Iran’s Houthi agents, who seek to undermine the kingdom’s stability. The presenting of a shield of honor to the Houthis was described as “crossing all the red lines,” and Hamas was castigated as having become a mere pawn on the Iranian chessboard, that would consequently end up on the “trash heap of history.”

Responding to the bitter criticism in both Saudi Arabia and Yemen, Abu Shamala issued a press release in which he clarified that “Hamas’s relations with all components of the Yemeni people are fraternal and are equally close” and that “Hamas does not favor one side over the other in the internal dispute within Yemen.” Political analyst Fayez Abu Shamala, who is close to Hamas, published an article in which he rejected criticism of the meeting and claimed that Iran, Hezbollah and the Houthis have aided and armed Hamas and therefore deserve appreciation and thanks.

The following are excerpts from articles by Saudi writers critical of the meeting, as well as from Fayez Abu Shamala’s response:

“Gazan children will not know peace as long as Hamas is a puppet of Iran”—Jamil al-Dhiabi, editor-in-chief of ‘Okaz:

“The fact that Hamas paid tribute to the Iranian agent, the chair of the so-called Supreme Revolutionary Committee in Yemen [which has since been replaced by the Supreme Political Council], Muhammad Ali al-Houthi, [precisely] on the day this revolutionary militia, funded and armed by Iran, staged an attack on the town of Marib [in Yemen] in which  innocent people were killed, reveals the ugly face of Hamas and the intensity of its leaders’ hostility and treachery.

“Hamas is addicted to the schizophrenia that [tends to] afflict the ostensibly devout Islamic movements. It will embrace any idea in order to achieve its aims, even if this means renouncing [principles] and debasing itself, as is the custom of all members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas, which is part of the Muslim Brotherhood, trumpets the slogan of resistance and revolution, while it is [actually] subordinate to Iran, which occupies Arab countries, kills their peoples, sows hatred and spreads and encourages division. Hamas continues to claim it is not like [Iran], despite the rift it has caused within the Palestinian homeland, to the point of tearing this homeland apart….

“It is well known that Iran is afraid to enter the fray itself … and prefers to let its foolish agents in the region realize its filthy agenda and fight in its stead. It doesn’t care about [spilt] Arab blood or the stability of the region, for it seeks to swallow [the region] and take it over, from the Gulf to the Mashreq [the Arab countries east of the Mediterranean], and from Sudan to the Maghreb.

“In the last round of fighting between Hamas and Israel, it became clear that Iran has managed to smuggle missiles into Gaza, so that [Hamas,] the Muslim Brotherhood movement that is subordinate to the ayatollahs of Qom, can ‘make noise’ and change the rules of the political game. To whose benefit? Certainly not to the benefit of Palestine, or even of the people of Gaza. It fired rockets on Israel so that Palestinians would be burned every night by Israel’s attacks and bombs while [its own] leaders enjoy the pleasures of Arab capitals….

“As long as Iran activates Hamas whenever it pleases, as it does with Hezbollah and the Houthis, Gaza’s children will not know peace. But the day will come when Hamas faces the guillotine of the Palestinian people, for whom Hamas’s coup [in Gaza] brought nothing but destruction, death and devastation…. As Palestinian academic Ahmad Barqawi said, ‘Iran is a country of hypocrites, a trash heap. It feeds upon the corpses of disintegrating countries.’ Whoever makes an alliance with this trash [heap] is surely consigning himself to the trash heaps of history!”

Hamas deputy political chief Salah al-Arouri presents an image of Jerusalem to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran on July 22, 2019. Source: Screenshot.

“Hamas displays hostility to Saudi Arabia, as a service to Iran”—Maha al-Sharif, Al-Jazirah:

“After Hamas shook the hands of the Houthi [representative Muhammad Ali al-Houthi], does any reasonable person still doubt its hostility towards the [Saudi] kingdom and towards all the Arab states, [hostility which it displays as] a service to our bitter enemy, Iran? …In the past, Hamas asked Saudi Arabia for assistance in rebuilding Gaza, and today [its officials] appear on satellite channels and thank Iran and the Houthis—Saudi Arabia’s enemies—for supporting the Palestinian cause….

“There is a connection between this betrayal and the loss of the Palestinian cause. The terrorists have all united under the banner of [ostensibly] defending Palestine. These terrorist militias and parties, supported by Iran, have reached rock bottom and have become [Iranian] tools … Slavery crushes people’s honor and soul, [yet] the [Hamas] movement, the [Houthi] militia and the [Hezbollah] party are slaves of Iran that have betrayed their countries and their peoples.”

In this cartoon, which appeared in Saudi daily Al-Iqtisadiya on June 11, 2021, the Hamas representative presents the “shield of collaboration” to the Houthi representative, while saying “I do not represent myself [but the Hamas movement].” (MEMRI)
“Hamas is an Iranian agent that will end up on the trash heap of history”—Muhammad bin Issa al-Kana’an, Al-Jazirah:

“How can Hamas look the Palestinian children [in the face] and claim to be their protector, and at the same time shake hands with those who are killing the children of Yemen [i.e. the Houthis], whose latest crime was against the children of Marib?! This is a political stain that Hamas has worn ever since it sold its loyalty to Iran, at Palestine’s expense, and later at the expense of its Arab environment…. Hamas has stepped out of the line of fire and fallen into the muck of disgrace. It has left the [Gaza] trenches and moved into hotels that are generously financed by the Revolutionary Guards.

“[However,] Hamas’s fall does not mean that the Palestinian blood is lost and that Palestine has no free and noble people—people who are part of their Arab environment and who know and esteem the countries that support them in the restitution of their rights, chief among them Saudi Arabia. These people are the Palestinian horses to bet on, whereas those who trade in the [Palestinian] cause, Iran’s mercenaries, will end up on the trash heap of history.”

Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh (left) with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Iran in January 2018. Credit: Iran Times via Wikimedia Commons.

“Yes, we thank the Houthis, Hezbollah and Iran—is that a problem? And why we will welcome any bullet [provided by] the Saudis”—Fayez Abu Shamala, Raialyoum.com, Al-Alam.

“I received messages from many brothers in Iraq, Syria and Yemen criticizing Hamas and condemning its representative in Yemen, Mo’az Abu Shamala, for the statements and words of gratitude he addressed to the Houthis [in appreciation for] their support of the Palestinian resistance. The Arab criticism of Hamas stems from its position on Iran, Hezbollah and the Houthis. [The critics] wonder how a Sunni Muslim movement [like Hamas] can thank and praise the positions of Shi’ite organizations which, they say, have massacred Sunnis in Iraq, Yemen and Syria. [They ask:] Is it proper that Hamas, which has received funds and support from the Arab peoples, now turns its back on the warm bosom of the Arabs—who gave up part of their daily livelihood to put bread in [Hamas’s] mouth—and expresses gratitude to Iran and Hezbollah?

“First, let me inform anyone who is interested that I am not a member of the Hamas movement and I have not appointed myself as its advocate. I am a Palestinian Arab who believes in his complete right to the Palestinian lands … and, in my opinion, the condemnations directed at Hamas by certain people are nothing but a certificate of good character confirming Hamas’s morality, its place in the heart of the nation and its positive impact on the coming generations. This is [my] basic assumption [as I] answer the question of whether Hamas was wrong to thank all those who help it.

“As it fights the Zionist enemy on Palestinian soil, Hamas is not fighting an enemy with clear characteristics, [because] it is [also] fighting the agents of the Israeli enemy in the region and opposing all its allies in the West. The regimes that support the United States and Israel are the ones attacking Hamas. In other words, the Palestinian resistance needs an international Arab-Islamic alliance to take its side in the fight against the U.S.-Israel alliance and its puny supporters, [namely] its treasonous agents within the Arab and Islamic nation.

“Faced with the severe Israeli siege and sanctions, and having to oppose the U.S.-Israel alliance and its agents, the members of the Palestinian resistance in Gaza were forced to seek any possible source of weapons, assistance and funds—whether Arab, Islamic or even foreign—that would enable [them] to confront the enemy alliance. Were it not for this Arab-Islamic alliance that fought the U.S.-Israel alliance, Hamas and the resistance in Gaza would not have been able to take up arms and fire rockets on Tel Aviv….

“The Palestinian resistance in Gaza needs arms and money, and no resistance fighter or patriot in Gaza denies the importance of the help extended [to Gaza] by the Arab peoples. But in the same way, nobody denies the role played by Iran in meeting the military and material needs of the Palestinian resistance, including by securing the weapon supply lines and [extending] logistics assistance. I claim that Hezbollah in Lebanon constituted a base for supplying many of the weapons of the Gaza resistance, and so did Yemen, which opened up its ports on the Red Sea to store the weapons of the resistance and ensure their delivery to Gaza.

“I say that the Israeli and U.S. intelligence apparatuses know this, but are helpless [to stop it], and that Hamas’s representative in Yemen, Mo’az Abu Shamala, is equally aware of this as he follows the details of this military assistance extended by the Houthis to the resistance.

“We thank the Arab Houthis for the military services they have extended to the resistance in Gaza. But this gratitude does not mean that the Palestinian resistance [intends to] use its weapons against the rivals of the Arab Houthis on Yemeni soil [i.e., against Saudi Arabia]. The resistance will transcend the regional conflicts that will [eventually] end at a moment of national catharsis, when the Arab peoples in Iraq, Yemen and Syria re-embrace wisdom and understand that the internal strife between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims is wholly manufactured by Israel and serves only the enemies of the nation….

“The Palestinian people, who thank the Houthis, Hezbollah and the Iranians, would have been willing to kiss Saudi Arabia’s feet and the very soil under its feet had [the Saudis] supplied [the Palestinian] resistance with even a single bullet to repel the occupying Zionists. Our Palestinian people would have loved it if the Port of Jeddah on the Red Sea became a safe passage for arms intended for the resistance in Gaza, instead of the Port of Al-Hudaydah in Yemen.

“If this vision comes true, we will all thank Saudi Arabia and present the United Arab Emirates with the Shield of Gaza and Jerusalem in gratitude for their military assistance. But Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who fight the Houthis in the name of the Sunnis, [actually] fight the Palestinian resistance in the name of Islam and conspire against it, [as evident from the fact that] UAE spy cells have been discovered in Gaza, whose mission was to gather information for the Israeli enemy….

“Muslim moral [values] compel Hamas and the resistance factions to thank every Arab, Muslim, Christian and even Jew who helps them in their war against the U.S.-Israel camp. This does not mean that the resistance stands with any leader against his people, or that the Palestinian people is willing to let its cause be sold [to the highest bidder] in a political auction.

“The Arab peoples understand that any compass that does not point towards Jerusalem is a false compass, that any gun pointed at the Israeli enemy is a true gun that follows the correct path of Islam, and that anyone who casts doubt on the resistance shakes hands with the Zionists as allies, and normalizes [relations with them] as their friend or meek neighbor, is [actually] declaring war on Islam and the Muslims.

At the end of his article Abu Shamala added: “Just as the Palestinians thank the [Qatari] Al-Jazeera channel, they also thank the [pro-Hezbollah Lebanon-based] Al-Mayadeen channel.”


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