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Ra’am Party head: Hamas ‘part of the Palestinian people’

"What, are they a Lebanese faction? What's wrong with you?" Mansour Abbas said.

Ra'am Chairman Mansour Abbas at the party's campaign headquarters in the Arab town of Tamra, as the results of the Israeli elections are announced, Nov. 1, 2022. Credit: Flash90.
Ra'am Chairman Mansour Abbas at the party's campaign headquarters in the Arab town of Tamra, as the results of the Israeli elections are announced, Nov. 1, 2022. Credit: Flash90.

The Hamas terrorist group is a legitimate part of the Palestinian people, United Arab List (Ra’am) Party chairman Mansour Abbas said on Tuesday.

Asked by Channel 13 News commentator Hezi Simantov to comment on discussions about the “day after” the war against Hamas in Gaza, and recent comparisons made by Israel’s government between Hamas and Islamic State, Abbas said, “Of course they are part of the Palestinian people.”

“This is not a matter of my personal position,” he claimed. “First of all, Arab countries will not enter the Gaza Strip, both in terms of security and economically … unless the Palestinian government invites them; they will not answer the requests from Benjamin Netanyahu.”

However, according to the Ra’am Party leader, “This does not mean that the government that will be established or the leadership that will be in the Gaza Strip should be a government of factions or parties.”

Pressed further by Simantov on his view of the terror group that murdered 1,200 people, primarily Jewish civilians, on Oct. 7, Abbas responded, “What, are they [Hamas] a Lebanese faction? What’s wrong with you?”

In a separate interview with Kan Reshet Bet radio on Wednesday, Abbas clarified, “Arab states are seeking a solution through reconciliation between the nations. Regarding Hamas, there is no room for those who do not see reconciliation as part of the solution. Those who have committed crimes must pay the price; Hamas has committed crimes.”

Last month, an investigation by Israel’s Justice Ministry found evidence that entities controlled by Ra’am “transferred funds or cooperated with organizations outside of Israel that were declared as terrorist groups.”

Igatha 48 (“Aid 48”) and the Association for Humanitarian Actions are both fundraising arms of the Southern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, of which the Ra’am Party is the political wing. According to an investigation published earlier this year, Igatha 48 transferred large sums to and carried out joint activities with a Turkish organization called Khir Ummah, which serves as a Hamas front group.

Between 2020 and 2023, Igatha 48 transferred more than $580,000 to Khir Ummah, and the two organizations hosted pro-terrorism summer programs for children in Turkey, the HaKol HaYehudi media outlet said.

The Ra’am Party enabled the Bennett-Lapid government, which served in 2021 and 2022, to have a Knesset majority, marking the first time an independent Arab party joined an Israeli governing coalition.

Abbas told Arab media two months ago that he has been advocating for the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state in meetings with United States officials and representatives of other countries.

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