Hamas is elated by large turnout for senior official’s funeral in Jenin

Hamas leaders have expressed deep satisfaction at the participation of thousands of Palestinians in the funeral of one of the group’s officials in the West Bank who died of COVID-19 last week.

According to Hamas leaders, the large turnout at the funeral of Wasfi Kabaha, a former Palestinian Authority Minister of Prisoner Affairs, is a vote of confidence in the Islamist movement and its “resistance” against Israel.

In 2007, Kabaha briefly served as a minister in the Palestinian national unity government headed by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

Dozens of masked gunmen belonging to the armed wings of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the Izaddin al-Qassam and Al-Quds Brigades participated in Kabaha’s funeral in Jenin, which is controlled by the Palestinian Authority, on Friday.

The mass funeral is seen by Palestinians as a show of force and a direct challenge to the Palestinian Authority by Hamas and PIJ supporters in the West Bank. Hamas and PIJ have a strong presence in and around Jenin.

Kabaha, who died at the age of 62, was an outspoken critic of the Palestinian Authority, especially the crackdown by Palestinian security forces against Hamas and PIJ members in the West Bank. He had spent nearly 14 years in an Israeli prison for security-related crimes.

Addressing mourners by phone from Qatar, Haniyeh said the participation of thousands of Palestinians in the funeral was a “renewal of loyalty to Hamas and resistance.”

The large turnout, Haniyeh said, was also a sign of widespread popular support for Hamas’s positions, in particular the refusal to recognize Israel’s right to leave and the opposition to “give up an inch of Palestinian land.”

HAMAS CHIEF Ismail Haniyeh speaks to the press upon arrival at the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip in 2017 (credit: ABED RAHIM KHATIB / FLASH90)

Saleh al-Arouri, deputy chairman of Hamas’s political bureau, said the large turnout showed the Palestinians “uniting behind the resistance.”

The West Bank is heading towards launching another intifada against Israel, he added.

Fathi Qara’wi, a former Hamas legislator from the West Bank, said the large number of Palestinians who participated in Kabaha’s funeral “restores hope to Palestine and the entire nation.”

Sheikh Hassan Yusef, a senior Hamas official in the West Bank, said the large turnout was “a message to all those who challenge Hamas and try to dissuade it from continuing on its path.”


Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *